Lahore, Friday, June 10, 1921

THE GURDWARA BILL.

WE cannot help thinking that in view of the nature and extent of the differences of opinion regarding the proposed Gurudwara legislation disclosed by the discussions in the Council as well as in the Press and elsewhere, the decision at which the Punjab Government has arrived and which it has just announced in a communique published in our last issue, should cause no surprise. In the old days, when the Government was an undiluted despotism, and the legislature existed only to register the decrees of the executive, such differences of opinion would not have mattered, for the Government could always bear down any opposition with the help of its standing official majority in the Council. Not so to-day, when the legislature contains a large majority of elected members, and when the Government itself has been partially popularised. In the present case, moreover, the proposed measure belonged to the specific category of measures as to which the Government’s responsibility to the Legislative Council and, through it, to the people is not partial but complete, at least in theory. It was an Indian minister who introduced the Bill, who was in charge of it throughout, and on whom, as distinguished from his Europeans and purely official colleagues, the responsibility for the legislation would have principally rested had he decided to persevere with it. It was clearly incumbent upon this minister, when he found that those principally concerned either did not want the measure or were so divided among themselves in regard to it that anything like a compromise acceptable to all parties was least to be expected, to consider whether the best thing for him in the circumstances was not to drop the Bill. It is the result of this consideration that is embodied in the communique.

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