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stagnant water may be drained off, will be, it is hoped, a great blessing to the country. The new Emigration Bill will, it is believed, satisfactorily settle several important questions relating to the emigration to the tea districts. It is a work which has been completed with much care and labour.
Chapters V, VI, VII, and VIII, state the most important questions which have been dealt with during the year in connection with the Police, Criminal and Civil Justice, and Jails. Allusion has already been made to the introduction of the „ . . ,, , „ , new Code of Criminal Procedure.
The new Criminal Procedure Code. m, . i i , , i ,
1 here is no doubt that among the rich natives and lawyers, who had come to think an unlimited system of appeal and an endless re-opening of any case in which a man who could pay weighty lawyers was interested a natural and necessary right, there was a considerable feeling of apprehension and alarm on account of some of the provisions of the Code. The new provisions substituted some modern common-sense rules for those relics of old legal fashion which had till lately subsisted in the Criminal Code, and rendered the mode of trial and the record in simple cases somewhat more summary and simple than under the system before prevailing, by which the trial was drawn to a length and the record involved a tedious labour unparalleled in any other civilised country. In introducing these provisions this Government, however, deemed it right to proceed with care and caution. The summary powers were only trusted to officers of proved experience and judgment. They were cautioned against being too summary, and in other respects the new provisions of the Code were carefully watched. After a full trial the new summary provisions have beon very favorably reported on; they are clearly a great improvement and success. The alarm among the natives of the higher classes has subsided. They have had no reasonable ground of complaint, and the hope of getting rid of a law equal to all classes having been lost, clamour has subsided. The innovation by which European British subjects were for the first time subjected to the tribunals of the country for ordinary criminal offences was also a great change, which a few years ago would have created endless clamour. The Legislature deemed that men selected as the Civil Servants of the Crown in India are now selected might be trusted to exercise functions approximating to those exercised by Magistrates in other countries over their own countrymen as well as over others.
The European community have accepted the change in their status (which formerly placed them above the criminal law), so long inevitable, in the very best spirit. They have found that there is no avidity on the part of the Magistrates to subject them to pains and penalties, and that in fact to the respectable European settlers the difference is rather matter of sentiment than one of much practical effect. There have been literally no complaints on the part of the Europeans.
Several of the new provisions which seemed strangest to English lawyers, such as the power of a Judge to refer to the High Court the verdict of a jury from whom he differed, and the power of the Appellate Courts to enhance punishment when they deem it right to do so in cases brought before them in appeal, have proved eminently beneficial, worked as they have been with the care and discrimination which the position of the High Court has secured.
Altogether the new Criminal Procedure Code may be confidently stated to have been a remarkable success, and the few points in respect of which experience shows that amendment may prove to be required are of the most petty character.
Opportunity has been taken of the provisions of the new Code to try the system of making over certain classes of cases to Benches of unpaid Magistrates, sitting with a paid Magistrate in serious cases and alone for petty municipal and such like cases. This system, though not without its difficulties, has very considerable advantages in many cases, both judicially and as a means of political education. In Chapter VI, page 117, will be found a somewhat important discussion regarding the appointment of Honorary Magistrates.
A difficult question regarding the duties of British Magistrates was raised in the past year with reference to the serious accidents and loss of life which have attended the moving of the unwieldy cars of Juggernath in different parts of the country. In order to prevent such accidents it has been necessary for the European Magistrates to take a very active part in the moving of the cars, and they have sometimes personally directed the operations, even to sitting on the car and directing its movements. The matter has formed the subject of a correspondence with the Government of India.
In Chapter VII particulars are given regarding the Jail
reforms, which have so much a' engaged the attention of this
Government, and the condition and health of the prisoners. Under the very able management of Mr. Heeley, the present Inspector-General, the jails have been very greatly improved. In Chapter VIII will be found a discussion regarding civil Justice suggested reform in the adminis
tration of Civil Justice, in which the Lieutenant-Governor's views are set forth.
Chapter IX shows the progress of the system of the „ _ . Registration of deeds, for the
Ilegistration. P » , . ,'
extension 01 which greatly increased facilities are now afforded.
In consequence of the veto of the new Municipal „ . . , .. . _ Bill there have been no very
Municipal Administration. , . ir • • i
great changes m the Municipal Administration, but Chapter X gives an account of the working of the various existing municipal systems under several different Acts, and of the minor improvements which have been effected during the year. The several systems of taxation in the different municipalities are explained. In the latter part of Chapter XXII (Provincial and Local Finance,) will also be found a concise statement of municipal revenues, and tables showing the incidence of municipal taxation in large and small towns, and as compared to other Indian provinces.
The principal reasons recorded by His Excellency the Viceroy for vetoing the Municipal Bill were the following:—
That the measure was calculated to increase municipal taxation in Bengal, and such increase was unnecessary and inexpedient at the present time.
That His Excellency was unable to assent to those portions of the Bill which allow the provision of elementary education to be made obligatory upon first and second class municipalities (i.e., on cities and towns as distinguished from villages).
That His Excellency also objected to a provision enabling Town Municipalities to give relief to the poor in time of exceptional scarcity and distress.
That His Excellency thought the time had not come when it was desirable to create the machinery for the government of villages proposed in the Bill.
The measure had been in the first instance introduced with the view of consolidating and improving the Municipal Law of Bengal, now scattered though a variety of discordant enactments. The Lieutenant-Governor had wished rather to give the tax-payers a free choice in regard to the form
of taxation than generally to add to their burdens. It had been his object to introduce self-government in towns and villages rather than to urge the rapid undertaking of many improvements by means of increased taxation. He had in fact been prepared to sacrifice much to real selfgovernment, and had pledged himself to give the greatest possible amount of freedom to the municipal bodies in respect of the amount and character of taxation, if the Bill had become law.
The people of Bengal, accustomed to detailed legislation, would have regarded with the greatest suspicion and dislike the apparently simple, but really very wide, municipal Acts by which in other provinces the forms of taxation and modes of municipal management are left very undefined, subject only to the Government sanction and control. The new Bengal Act was therefore necessarily very full and detailed, setting forth with some minuteness what the Government and the Municipal Committees should or should not have it in their power to do, and particularising all the various forms of taxation from among which they might choose. It was, however, the Lieutenant-Governor's hope that by reducing the compulsory expenditure to a minimum and rendering all the rest really and truly optional, an interest in real selfgovernment might have been created, and considerable improvements of a character appreciated by the people themselves might have been effected with little or no increase of taxation.
The Government of India having called for careful returns of taxation from the various Indian provinces, it was shown that in Bengal the rate and incidence of municipal taxation is at present extremely low, far below that of any other provinces. As shown in the tables taken from the figures published by the Government of India, and given in Chapter I, page 19, and Chapter XXII, pages 366, 367, the municipal taxation in Bengal is confined to a smaller proportion of the population than in any other province except Madras, and falls on that municipal population at a rate far less than in any other province including Madras, being at the rate of 5 annas and 10 pie, say 8%d. per head, against 12^ to 20d. per head in other provinces.
Seeing, however, how broad was the principal ground on which His Excellency the Viceroy had vetoed the Act of the Bengal Council, and how difficult it would be to devise any new Municipal system which might not give rise to apprehensions of increased taxation, resulting from increased activity and extension of the system, if not from increased incidence of taxation; seeing also that the Lieutenant-Governor had other reforms in hand which would give the Government of Bengal much occupation, Sir George Campbell came to the conclusion that it was not expedient that he should at the present time make another attempt to consolidate and reform the Municipal law of Bengal, and he therefore announced to his Council that he abandoned that task for the present, and would probably leave it to his successors. Considering the great labour bestowed by the Council on the rejected bill, and the valuable matter which it is admitted to contain, the infructuous Act, with the papers and proceedings relating to it, have been reprinted in a volume, which it is hoped may be of use hereafter; and so the matter rests.
One or two minor amendments suggested by the Viceroy's remarks have been made in the old Acts, the most important being a provision to enable the Government to cause the election of members of the Municipal Committees. The Lieutenant-Governor's apprehension, however, is that one great difficulty must be to make a good beginning in the first instance, by getting the people, usually apathetic on the subject, to take an interest in their affairs ; and he does not expect that they will ever take such an interest unless the elected committees have real and considerable power in respect of taxation, as well as in the application of the funds. Of the two Municipal Acts now principally in use, one makes the Committees merely consultative, and the other confines taxation to the form of a regular house tax, which is disliked by the people and is inapplicable to all but a few metropolitan or quasi-metropolitan towns. On this account Sir George Campbell is not sanguine of the success of the present elective system. He has, therefore, not attempted to urge it in any Municipality, but has made known his willingness to grant it to any Municipality which is desirous to have it. One such application has been received from Serampore, near Calcutta, and an election has just taken place there. Seeing how many almost separate people dwell together in an Indian community, the Lieutenant-Governor adopted, by way of experiment, the plan of making the votes neither collective nor cumulative, but giving one vote to each person, so that each considerable guild or section of the community may