Report No. 53
8. Proceedings of the Governor-General-in-Council.-
We made an effort to find out if the proceedings at the time when the Pensions Bill was introduced in the Council of the Governor-General in India disclose any such reasons. The proceedings have been thus recorded1-
1. Legislative Department, Proceedings of the Council of the Governor-General of India, assembled for the purpose of making Laws and Regulations etc., Pensions Bill (National Archives).
1871 September 1871
"The Hon'ble Mr. Cockerell moved for leave to introduce a Bill to consolidate and amend the law relating to pensions. He said that there was on the Statute-book at the present time a considerable number of regulations and Acts relating to this subject. These enactments contained such that was now obsolete, and much in the nature of administrative rules and instructions as to the mode of disbursing pensions, which would be more conveniently and appropriately left to be put in operation by means of executive orders.
The leading principle of the main provisions of the law was, that as the bestowal of pensions and similar allowances was an act of grace or State policy on the part of the ruling power, the Government reserved to itself the determination of all questions affecting the grant or continuance of these allowances;1 and the cognizance of claims relating thereto by the Courts of Judicature was, as between the grantor and grantee, absolutely barred.
This principle governed claims against the Government by virtue of laws which applied specifically to the Regulation Provinces of the Bengal and Madras Presidencies, and which was also practically in force in the Non-Regulation Provinces. In some parts of the Bombay Presidency also, namely, the Dekhan, Khandeish and Southern Maharatta Divisions, claims against the Government in the matter of the pensionary grants and allowances were declared to be not within the cognizance of the ordinary Courts of Judicature; but in other parts of that Presidency, in the absence of any such legal restrictions, the Courts had assumed a jurisdiction expressly denied to them throughout the rest of British India.
It was thought that this state of things should not be allowed to continue, and that it was expedient to assimilate the law as regards this portion of the Bombay Presidency to that which prevailed in all other parts of the Empire. There were no exceptional circumstances which called for the exercise by the Civil Courts, in any particular province or provinces, of a jurisdiction which, under the operation of a principle of universal application, was not accorded to them elsewhere. The object of the present Bill, therefore, was to re-enact, in a consolidated form, the operative provisions of the law in regard to the grant of pensions and similar allowances, and to apply the consolidated enactments to the whole of British India.
The motion was put and agreed to."
1. Emphasis supplied.
9. The later discussion in the Council is not material for the present purpose.