INSULT TO THE ASSEMBLY : The Tribune India

Lahore, Friday, January 26, 1923

INSULT TO THE ASSEMBLY



THE adverse decision of the Secretary of State regarding the request of the Legislative Assembly for an early revision of the Government of India Act has been so generally known for many months that we cannot pretend to a feeling of surprise now that it is formally published as an official despatch. The decision and more particularly the reasons given for it do amount to a grave insult to those responsible for the request. What Lord Peel tells them in effect is that they do not know their business, that they have not read the Government of India Act rightly, that they lack an elementary knowledge of the law of constitutional development, in short, that they have no idea of what they are talking about. Had this compliment been paid to a body of ordinary citizens with no pretensions to a knowledge of constitutional theory and practice, it would still have caused resentment. Addressed to a body of men whose special function is to legislate and govern, it is outrageous. It would be interesting to know how the Assembly took this slap in its face. It would be equally interesting to know how Lord Reading and his colleagues, all of them experienced men of affairs, took it. The resolution which is thus unceremoniously rejected by the Secretary of State on the strength of his superior knowledge of the theory of constitutional development is the product of the joint labours of both the Assembly and the Government. It is the Government, indeed, which was more directly responsible for it than the Assembly, for it is the Government which suggested the form in which the resolution was eventually passed. We have no hesitation in saying that the insult meted out to them is one which no self-respecting member of either the Assembly or the Government should take lying down.

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