Legislative assembly


The summary of the debate on censorship in the Legislative Assembly now available to us, while it adds to the knowledge in several important respects, does not alter the impression made on the mind by the first report. We now know that although a substantial majority of members rejected the motions submitted to the Chamber, a considerable proportion of this majority was made up of European and official members. It cannot be said how strong the official element was but there were at least 24 Europeans among those who voted against the motion. With regard to the unofficial Indian members, therefore, Dr. Gour and Mr. Ishwar Saran had a clear majority in their favour. We do not call attention to this as a matter of constitutional importance – after all Europeans and civil servants have as much right to vote while in the Council as any Indian member – but as having a distinct moral value. The Government must see that in the Council the majority of educated and patriotic Indians are in favor of their abandonment of the present policy. This is an aspect of the matter that no wise government can ignore. What compels the Government to consider this point is the fact that none of those who have thus registered their opinion against the current policy are non-cooperators – they would not have been on the Council if they had been – while the vast majority of them have no sympathy for any of the aggressive aspects of non-cooperation, certainly none for civil disobedience. That such men should join the great majority of Liberal and Independent public men outside the Council in demanding a reversal of present policy can only show that it is the duty of the Government to reconsider the whole position.