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Report of the Village Administration Committee 1941

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Title:
Report of the Village Administration Committee 1941
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[Rangoon] [Office of the Supdt., Govt. Printing]
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[s.n.]
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34 p. 25 cm. : ;

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Burma -- Politics and government ( lcsh )
Colonies -- Administration -- Burma ( lcsh )
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non-fiction ( marcgt )
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Asia -- Myanmar

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Parallel title and imprint in Burmese.
Statement of Responsibility:
Village Administration Committee.

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SOAS, University of London
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OCN220304288 ( oclc )
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Full Text
REPORT
OF THE
VILLAGE ADMINISTRATION COMiMITTEE
1941
RANGOON
SUPDT GOVT. PRINTING AND STATIONERY, BURMA
1941


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GOVERNMENT OF BURMA.
HOME DEPARTMENT.
[Extract from the proceedings of the Government of Burma in the Home Department
—No. 257B41, dated the 3rd April 1941.]
Read :—Home Department Resolution No. 834B40,
dated the 17th January 1941, appointing a Committee to
enquire into the system of village administration'in Burma
and to formulate such proposals as may be deemed necessary
for reforming this administration and in particular to make
recommendations on—
(a) the measures necessary to ensure that the head-
man will primarily be the elected representative
of his village-tract while at the same time
preventing an undue lowering of efficiency in
the administration of the village-tract ;
(&) the measures necessary for the closer association
and co-operation between the headman and the
villagers, in the administration of the village-
tract ;
(c) the measures necessary for the transfer to the head-
man both individually and jointly with the
villagers, of as large a share of the administration
of the village-tract as is compatible with a safe
standard of efficiency and control ;
(d) such other measures as may be necessary for and
consequential to the reform of village administra-
tion.
Read also :—Letter No. 8VAC41, dated the 26th March
1941, from the Secretary, Village Administration Committee,
forwarding the Report of the Committee.
Ordered :—That the Report be laid on the table of both
Houses of the Legislature, and that it be published for
general information.
Ordered also :—That this Resolution be published in
the Burma Gazette.
By order,
H. C. BAKER,
Deputy Secretary to the Government of Burma,
Home Department.


REPORT
OK THE
Village Administration Committee, 1941.
The first Village Administration Committee was consti-
tuted in Government of Burma, Miscellaneous Department
Resolution No. 574B37 (1185), dated the 26th October 1937
(reproduced as Appendix I). This Committee sent out a
Questionnaire consisting of 86 questions to various officials
and non-officials ; the replies received were voluminous,
and an abstract of them was made for the use of members.
2. The Committee met fourteen times between the 10th
January 1939 and the 28th June 1940, and after discussion
came to an agreement on many of the questions before it.
After this, for various reasons, no more meetings were held,
and the Committee, then without a Secretary, practically
ceased to function.
3. In October 1940 a whole-time Secretary from the
Burma Civil Service (Class II) cadre was appointed, and it
was considered best, at this stage, to dissolve the old
Committee and to appoint a new and more representative
Committee, to avoid further reference to another wider
Committee at a later stage. With this end in view, the
present Committee was constituted in Government of
Burma, Home Department Resolution No. 834B40, dated
the 17th January 1941 (reproduced as Appendix II).
4. The new Committee met first on the 1st February
1941, and frequently thereafter throughout the month, and
it has thus been possible not only to deal with matters left
over by the old Committee but also to review the resolutions
passed by that Committee on the questions they had
discussed. The new Committee met twelve times up to the
date of completion of this Report.
5. The first four paragraphs and the executive Orders in
Part III of the Manual * give a sketch of the organization
* In this Report, unless the contrary is mentioned, the " Act " means the Burma
Village Act, 1907, as amended up-to-date, and the " Manual" means the Burma
Village Manual.


( 2 )
of village-tracts after the Act was amended in 1924 : the
only note which needs to be added to this sketch to-day is
that, at the end of 1939, there still remained two taikthugyis,
and 83 myothugyis receiving the whole or part of the com-
mission on revenue collected in the village-tracts subordinate
to them ; and that the total number of headmen was
11,762, a figure which is annually, though slowly, decreasing
by amalgamation of neighbouring tracts.
6. The village system thus described is the basis of
administration in rural areas, and there is no public demand
for any radical re-construction of it. The main reforms
called for are to ensure that the headman shall really
represent and co-operate with the villagers, and shall be
sufficiently remunerated ; that he shall cease tobe headman
when he outgrows his strength, or grossly abuses his
powers ; that the village committee, of which he is a
member and the Chairman, shall have powers adequate to
the settlement within the village of minor disputes, so as to
save recourse to the Courts and the Police ; and that some-
thing shall be done to improve the status of the subordinate
village officials.
Appointment of Headmen.
7. Although we have seen the introduction of elective
principle in appointing headmen, section 5 (2) of the Act
still empowers the Deputy Commissioner to reject the
application of any of the candidates by reason of his stand-
ing or character or residence or of any physical or mental
disqualification, and he may, with the previous sanction
of the Commissioner, over-rule the result of an election
by the villagers—
(a) if the candidate so elected owed his election to
the exercise of undue influence or to intimida-
tion ;
(b) if the candidate so elected cannot furnish such
security as is or may be prescribed in this be-
half ;
(c) if, in Upper Burma, the candidate so elected is
not an hereditary claimant and an hereditary
claimant was among the candidates and is a man
of approved character and otherwise qualified
for appointment as village headman.


I 3 )
8. The old Committee in its Questionnaire laid great
emphasis on the question of election, appointment, dismissal,
etc., of headmen. A large number of replies has been
received on all these questions, and we have spent much
time in determining our recommendations on the very
important phase of Village Administration. We shall now
â– deal with our recommendations one after another, in the
succeeding paragraphs.
9. Strong reasons have been given in favour of retaining
the hereditary system ; namely, that a hereditary headman
commands more respect, has more influence, is more honest
'because he has to maintain family prestige, is better trained
and more conversant with village affairs, and generally main-
tains better discipline than the elected headman, who has
to consider party feelings and who often regards himself or
is regarded as the enemy of the unsuccessful candidates
and their friends. A woman in charge of a village in
Mönywa District is said to be popular and respected because
of her long family traditions, she being " the 49th
descendant in the line of headmen since Alaungpaya's
time." One Commissioner writes that the traditions of
public service and the influence which are inherited by
certain headmen's families are a valuable asset to Govern-
ment.
10. It must be observed moreover that, under the
present Act, no legal claim to the succession resides with the
old family ; the Deputy Commissioner merely has discretion
to favour a hereditary candidate if he is likely to make
a good headman, and even that discretion is frequently not
•exercised, and can only be exercised with the Commis-
sioner's sanction. Several members of the present
â– Committee are convinced by these arguments, and would
retain the existing partial recognition of the hereditary
principle. A majority, however, while recognizing the value
of tradition and inherited influence, consider that they will
-of themselves tend to secure the election of a hereditary
claimant if he is a worthy candidate, and that the discretion
to depart from the principle of free election should no
longer subsist.
11. We will next consider the question what class
of persons should be debarred from becoming headmen.
Women have successfully held the post, and there should


I 4 )
be no sex-bar. For obvious reasons, we recommend that
the following persons should be declared ineligible :—
(1) A person who has been dismissed from the-
service of Government or of a local body ;
(2) A person who having been a legal practitioner
has been debarred from practising or is under
suspension from practising as such, by order of
any competent Court ;
(3) A person who has been disqualified for being
chosen and for being a member of either
Chamber of the Legislature, a District Council-
or a Municipality ;
(4) Any one below 21 years of age ;
(5) Any one above 60 years of age ;
(6) Undischarged bankrupts ;
7) A person of unsound mind ;
(8) A person not domiciled in Burma ;
(9) A person who is a cripple, infirm or otherwise
physically unfit ;
(10) An illiterate person ;
(11) A Government servant ;
(12) A person who has previously been sentenced to
imprisonment for a period of more than six.
months, or against whom an order has been
passed to furnish security to be of good
behaviour under the provisions of sections 109
and 110 of the Criminal Procedure Code or
section 17 of the Burma Gambling Act or
section 3 of the Opium Law Amendment Act,
1909, or section 64A of the Burma Excise Act,.
1917, unless five years have elapsed since his
release or the expiry of the period of security ;
(13) A person who has been removed or dismissed
from village headmanship ; and
(14) Potigyis, Pothudaws and Nuns.
12. We recommend that the proviso which enables the
Deputy Commissioner " to reject the application of any of
the candidates by reason of his standing or character or
residence or any physical or mental disqualifications " be
repealed. Physical and mental disqualifications have been
sufficiently provided for above ; standing and character are
vague expressions and are unfairly strained when an appli-
cation is rejected merely because a police officer reports that.


( 5 )
"the candidate is, for example, addicted to gambling. The
neighbouring headmen will not readily sign a joint bond
with a man of seriously bad character.
13. The power of the Deputy Commissioner to over-rule
the result of an election if the elected candidate cannot
furnish approved security for the collection and crediting of
revenue which he collects must of course subsist, but some
members of the Committee consider that the requirement
.that security should ordinarily be accepted only in the form
of a mutual guarantee is unduly rigid, and we therefore
recommend that the Revenue Department of Government
should examine the rules on this subject. The power to
over-rule the result of an election if the candidate owes his
election to the exercise of under influence or to intimida-
tion should be amplified so as to include corrupt practices
such as treating, bribery and interference with the free
exercise of the vote.
14. It is well known that objections on these grounds are
incessantly raised after elections, and that they are often
frivolous or malicious. To prevent abuse of the right to
petition for redress in such cases, we are of opinion that
certain rules should be framed for dealing with objections
after elections. If the objection is under one of the
following heads, viz., exercising undue influence, treating,
bribery and interference with the free exercise of the vote,
we recommend that, on the complaint in writing of a
candidate for headmanship during the poll or immediately
.after the poll and before counting of the votes, an inquiry
should be made forthwith by the Presiding Officer and the
votes counted only on completion of such enquiry, the
ballot boxes having previously been sealed in the presence
of all the candidates. If the Presiding Officer is not the
Deputy Commissioner himself, he should submit a report
based on his enquiry to his immediate superior along with
the result of the election. Any objection filed after the
tokens have been counted and within 15 days from the
close of the polls should be accompanied by a cash deposit
â– of a quarter of the average annual commission of the head-
manship of the particular village-tract ; if on enquiry
by an officer not below the rank of a Subdivisional
'Officer the allegations are ultimately found to be either
malicious or frivolous in «nature, the deposit should be
forfeited to Government. Objections received after the


( 6 )
period mentioned should be ignored. We would add thatr
if bribery at headmen's elections is not punishable under the
Indian Penal Code, the Code should in our opinion be
amended.
15. Objections alleging that the elected candidate was at
the time of election ineligible must of course be heard even
if made at a later date.
16. No Rules prescribe the qualifications of voters at
elections of headmen, but we understand that, in practice,
those are allowed to vote whose names are entered in the
capitation-tax or thathameda assessment rolls. As capita-
tion-tax and thathameda will be abolished with effect from
the 1st January 1942, it is necessary that Government decide
what is to be the franchise. We are of opinion that there
should be universal adult suffrage, adult meaning a person
who has completed 18 years of age on the date of the prepa-
ration of the electoral roll. Women would thus also be
entitled to vote. These rolls should be prepared every
three years but, in the case of a vacancy occuring a year or
more after the preparation of the rolls, the Deputy Com-
missioner should cause the electoral roll to be brought-up-to
date for the purpose of that election. We are also of
opinion that such rolls should be published in the village
for one month and objections, if any, made before the
Township Officer within this period of publication.
Persons belonging to categories (7), (8), (12) and (14)
mentioned in paragraph 11 of this Report should not be
entered in these rolls. Only persons who have been
residents of the village-tract for the past three years should
have their names entered in the electoral rolls.
17. We have nothing to say with regard to the secret
ballot system used in the elections of headmen, but we are
definitely of opinion that the Subdivisional Officer should
normally preside at headmen's elections unless the Deputy
Commissioner does so. We desire, however, to add that the
Deputy Commissioner may be given powers to direct, in
exceptional circumstances to be recorded in writing, or in
tracts where there is no Subdivisional Officer, that an
election shall be held by the Township Officer.
18. We were asked by the Home Department to give
our opinion on the subject of legalising the appointments of


I 7 )
temporary headmen who are placed in charge of village-
tracts by the Deputy Commissioner on the death, dismissal,
removal, leave or suspension of the permanent incumbents.
It has been proposed that a provision for such temporary
appointments be added to section 5 of the Act ; they are at
present made without any legal authority. We have
advised the Home Department that we favour the proposed
amendment of section 5. To guard against undue
prolongation of such non-elective appointments, we consider
that every case in which the new elected headman has not
assumed office within a year of the vacancy should be
reported to Government.
19. When a village-tract with insufficient commission
becomes vacant, it is the policy of Government to amalgamate
it with a neighbouring tract if possible (distances are
sometimes too great) ; this is a necessary step in the process
of gradually providing adequate remuneration for all
headmen, and we recommend that, if it is held to contravene
the provisions of section 5, the Act should be amended so
as to legalize it.
20. Headmen are usually appointed on one or two years'
probation, after which they are confirmed, and their term of
office, unless they resign or are removed, ends only with
their life. We have considered various proposals for fixing
a term of years. On the one hand it must be remembered
that the headman performs a number of duties for which
in other countries special officers exist—the recording of
vital statistics, preservation of public order, measures against
disease (human and animal), the trial of cases, the
preservation of survey-marks, and the collection of various
Government dues ; years of training are necessary before
the average headman can become reasonably competent at
his work ; and it is therefore impossible to contemplate a
frequent change of headmen. On the other hand, it is
certain that many headmen continue in office far too long,
until they are past their work through old age, or have lost
the confidence of their villagers. To obviate this, we
recommend that headmen should ordinarily be required to
retire at the age of 60, and that thereafter if the headman is
still fit and active annual extensions may be granted at the
discretion of the Deputy Commissioner up to, but not
beyond, the age of 70 (one member would fix the limit at
65) ; and that, when allegations of misconduct are made,


( 8 )
three-fourths of the electorate may petition to the Deputy
Commissioner to hold an enquiry into the allegations and
the Deputy Commissioner shall be bound to order the
holding of an open inquiry against the headman, the officer
holding the inquiry not to be below the rank of a Sub-
divisional Officer.
21. As regards the removal, dismissal, suspension and
leave of headmen, no hard and fast rule can or need be
prescribed, and this matter can be safely entrusted to the
appointing authority, i.e., the Deputy Commissioner.
Remuneration of Headmen.
22. All headmen, except some of those subordinate to
the surviving taiklhugyis and myothugyis, are paid by a
commission on the revenue they collect, and their remunera-
tion therefore varies from year to year ; in the year 1933,
when large reductions of revenue were granted, the average
amount received by independent headmen fell as low as
Rs. "133 ; in 1937 it rose to Rs. 237. It will fall much below
this in future, with the abolition of thathamcda and
capitation-tax, and the fall is likely to be permanent, since
heavy increases of Land Revenue are unlikely. It is
accordingly of great importance that something should be
done to improve the headmen's position, if the post is to
continue to be an object of ambition. We can hardly
contemplate the payment of salaries. The rate would have
to be varied in accordance with the importance of the
charge, and in most cases would put the headmen, who
should be the leader of his people, on a level with the
humblest servants of Government. We suggest, first, that
Government should be prepared to vary the rates of
commissions where this is necessary to secure adequate
remuneration. We understand that the present rates vary
from 3 to 10 per cent, that they were fixed long ago and
have no relevance to present conditions, and that Govern-
ment has for many years done nothing to bring them nearer
uniformity. When, on the proposal of the Commissioner,
Government has approved a change of rate in a particular
case, the new rate should ordinarily subsist for at least five
years. The extra cost should be partly met by fixing a
maximum annual sum for a headman's total receipts from
this source ; the maximum might be as low as Rs. 180 in


( 9 )
.quiet village-tracts and as high as Rs. 400 in non-municipal
towns, e.g., on the railway.
23. We recommend, secondly, that the opportunity
should never be missed (we believe that it often is missed)
of allotting thugyisa land, and we suggest that, before any
block of waste land is handed over to the State Colonies
Department, a specific statement of the Deputy Commis-
sioner should be required that no part of it is required
for the provision of thugyisa for headmen of the Township
within which it lies. Moreover, the Commissioner should
be given the power to direct, in suitable cases, that the
thugyisa lease shall carry exemption from Land Revenue ;
such exemption is unnecessary when the commission is
adequate.
24. The scale of expenses to be paid to headmen when
they appear to give evidence in a Court of Law is clearly
laid down. They are also entitled to receive such payments
when they appear at places away from their village-tracts to
give evidence in revenue and " general " cases, which are,
as a rule, disposed of by revenue and executive officers.
We regret to note, however, that there are many officers
who repeatedly summon headmen to headquarters in such
cases, and fail to pay their expenses when they appear.
We recommend that stress should be laid on this point by
Deputy Commissioners ; they should see that their subor-
dinates no not unnecessarily summon headmen to head-
quarters in connection with revenue and " general " cases,
and that, when they do so, the headmen are paid expenses
on the scale admissible to them in criminal cases.
25. There are some journeys which headmen have to
take (for example, for receiving tax-tickets, and for paying in
revenue) for which it is not practicable to pay travelling-
expenses. The cost of these journeys sometimes absorbs a
large part of the commission of the headman of a poor
village-tract. The Deputy Commissioner has a small
budget-allotment from which compensatory grants are made
in such cases : we recommend that it be increased.
26. We have several minor suggestions for making the
post of headman less unattractive. Wc think that headmen
who require a gun for village protection should be furnished
with Government guns, or, if they purchase their own


( 10 )
weapons, should be granted the license free of fee. Zayats
should be provided in or near Court-house compounds for
the accommodation of headmen. Enforced hospitality and
services to subordinates of Government should be confined
to the minimum necessary' to provide such officers with
shelter when camping in the headman's village ; it is wrong
that the expense of their food, which is allowed for in the
travelling allowance they draw, should fall on their host.
Substantial rewards should be given in deserving cases,
rather than a large number of small payments. We may
add that the conferment of titles on outstanding headmen is
too rare : if necessary, a new order might be created for the
benefit of village officials.
Members of Village Committees.
27. Although there are a good many committees which
function well, we are given to understand that the villagers
do not generally take a keen interest in the election of
village committee members, and in some cases there are no
candidates. We are, however, unanimous, in holding that
village committees should exist in all village-tracts, and that
when any village-tract fails to elect the required number of
candidates the Deputy Commissioner should be empowered
to nominate. A headman who is the elected representative
of the villagers will generally find persons from among his
supporters who will be ready to co-operate with him in the
administration of the village-tract. Our proposal will
necessitate the deletion of the proviso to section 5a (1),
which runs :—
" provided that the Governor may by notification exclude any
village-tract from the operation of this section, in which case
all the provisions of this Act relating to village committees
shall, where the context of this Act so permits be deemed
to apply to the headman."
28. As regards the present method of terminating the
services of village committee members, we agree that it is
satisfactory,-except that the declaration should not be limited
to setting out that the continuance in office of the member
in question is contrary to the interests of the residents of the
village-tract, but should be enlarged so as to include
members whose continuance in office is contrary to the
public interest.


( 11 )
29. The present term of office of a member of a
village committee is three years ; we are of opinion that it
should be altered to a term of five years so that frequent
elections may be avoided.
30. We have no suggestion to make regarding the
number of members of a village committee as provided in
section 5a (3) of the Act and Statutory Rule 15 on page 27
of the Manual. We are of opinion that no change is
necessary in this direction at present.
31. As regards the queslion of election of village
committee members, we consider that the only practicable
arrangement is that which at present obtains, that is, that
the election should be held under the presidency of the
headman of a neighbouring tract. But we recommend a
slight modification to Statutory Rule 11 on page 26 of the
Manual so that it will run :—
" At the close of the voting, the votes shall be counted by the
presiding officer and the persons assisting him, in the presence
of the candidates or their accredited agents, and the presiding
officer, etc."
We suggest this modification to guard against possible
misinterpretation or high-handed action by the presiding
officer.
32. Regarding the qualification of voters for the election
of village committee members, we recommend that rolls
prepared in accordance with our recommendation for the
election of headman should be used for the purpose of these
elections also. We would not impose any property or
tax-paying qualification, since the village committee has no
power to raise taxes and administer funds.
33. We are of opinion that the qualifications of a
member of a village committee should be the same as those
of an elector. We do not consider that the imposition of an
age qualification would necessarily ensure the election of a
better type of person than at present ; and we are not in
favour of imposing a tax-paying qualification in view of the
fact that, on the abolition of capitation-tax and thathameda,
the only direct tax which the majority of persons resident
in a village-tract will pay is land revenue, and there are
many villages which contain few payers of land revenue,
and some which contain none at all.


( 12 )
34. We note Statutory Rule 14 on page 27 of the Manual
which provides for an appeal to the Township Officer
regarding irregularities in the election of members of village
â– committees should be amended by substituting " revision "
for appeal [section 23 (1) of the Act says that no appeal
shall lie from any order made under the Act] and by
omitting the provision by which the Township Officer's
order in revision is made final [section 23 (2) of the Act
gives the Deputy Commissioner power to revise any order
passed by the Township Officer].
Civil Jurisdiction.
35. At the end of 1939, civil judicial powers, subject to
revision by the Township Judge, were exercised, or at least
possessed, by the committees of 5,185 village-tracts, that is
to say, by about 44 per cent of the total number. We
understand that the conferment and refusal of these powers
is sometimes capricious : we have heard of few instances of
their abuse : and we therefore recommend that the Act
should be amended so as to confer them on all village
committees, the power being reserved to the Commissioner
to withdraw them for a specified period if they are abused.
36. The Act as it stands limits the committee's jurisdic-
tion to suits where both plaintiff and defendant reside
â– within the village-tract. This limitation is one reason why
so little use is made of the village courts. We recommend
that the Act be amended so that a suit may be instituted
before the committee of the village where the defendant
lives, irrespective of the plaintiff's residence. Trials by a
joint committee of two village-tracts (which might be far
apart) would be impracticable.
37. Another reason why these courts are little resorted
to is that their jurisdiction is not exclusive ; it is open to a
plaintiff to sue in the Township Court even where a suit in
the village court would lie. In order to enhance the
prestige of village committees and to relieve villages of the
burden of journeying to the Township Court over petty
cases, we recommend that the Code of Civil Procedure be
amended so that suits of a value not exceeding Rs. 50
where the defendant resides in a village-tract shall be
exclusively triable by the village committee. It may also


( 13 )
be considered whether power should be given to the
Commissioner to raise the maximum to Rs. 100 in the case
of selected village committees.
38. The prescribed scale of fees we consider adequate.
When the Code of Civil Procedure has been amended in!
the manner proposed, the fees are likely to amount to-
substantial sums, and the question of their distribution»
among members of the committee may be reviewed : at
present the sums are insignificant and their disposal may be
left in the headman's discretion.
Criminal Jurisdiction.
39. Section 9 of the Act shows the offences which may
be tried by any village committee, and the maximum
penalties that can be imposed. Four thousand seven
hundred and forty-one committees have been specially
empowered under sub-section 4 of section 9 to deal with
cases of theft and mischief up to Rs. 50 and to impose,
in these cases only, a heavier penalty. (It would perhaps
be better if an exception were made of mischief by fire.)
We are of opinion that all village committees should
have these additional powers, and that, as we have proposed
in the case of civil powers, the Commissioner should be
authorized to withdraw them if they are abused.
40. Offences punishable under sections 294, 323, 504
and 510 have been notified by Governor as triable by any
village committee, and may as well be embodied in the Act.
We would add sections 289, 336 (except motor-vehicles
cases) and 509. Village committees in rural areas which
have been notified under section 26, Cattle Trespass Act,
should be empowered to try offences under that section,
the maximum penalty for which is a fine of Rs. 50. The
power to notify additional offences as triable by village
committees should be retained.
41. Village committees have not exclusive jurisdiction in
respect of offences committed in the village-tract and triable
by them, and we think that the villager should for the
present retain his option to seek a remedy in the Court of a
Magistrate. When further experience has shown that
village committees can efficiently exercise their additional
powers, the matter may be reconsidered.


( 14 )
42. We are satisfied that it is not practicable to create
Benches of Magistrates, with more extensive criminal
powers than those possessed by a village committee, to
exercise jurisdiction in a group of village-tracts.
43. Under the existing law (section 28a of the Act)
-the District Magistrate cannot withdraw a criminal case
.from the village committee unless it is a case which has
been transferred for trial to the committee by a Magistrate
-who has taken cognizance of it. We are of opinion that the
District Magistrate, as head of the criminal administration
-of a district, should have the power of withdrawing any case
from the court of a village committee. We recommend
that the law should be amended accordingly.
44. The law, as at present existing, does not require
.criminal proceedings to be reduced into writing. After
great deliberation on this point, we have come to the
.conclusion that a village committee should record the
substance of the evidence, setting forth the names of the
parties, the offence proved, and the reasons for the finding
and its judgment, in all criminal cases. The Act should
provide that this record should be made also in cases under
section 16 (2) and section 21a (4).
45. We are of opinion that there should be no provision
for appeal from any order of village committees in criminal
cases, considering the petty nature of the offences and the
rough and ready form of decisions available. At present,
the Subdivisional Officer is empowered to revise such
orders : we would add the Township Officer. The revisional
orders of the Deputy Commissioner, if the case comes before
him, should be final, and this should be provided in the
Act.
46. In sub-section 5 of section 9, which reads :—
" Proceedings under this section shall be held in the
presence of the complainant and the accused ",
.we would insert the word " ordinarily ". This will provide
ior special cases, such as prosecutions for breach of
regulation instituted by Government.
47. As for the question whether pleaders should be
. allowed to attend village courts, we would leave this question


( 15 )
for decision when the Code of Civil Procedure has been
amended, as proposed by us, so as to confer exclusive
jurisdiction in certain suits.
48. We think the Act should give the committee juris-
diction to try, and to punish with a fine not exceeding
Rs. 10, persons who refuse to attend a village court, to take
the oath or to give evidence, or who interfere with the
proceedings or insult the members of the committee.
49. Persons sentenced to confinement should, in our
opinion, always be sent to the police station, and not
confined in the villages. This will tend to eliminate short
sentences, which are generally undesirable.
50. The fees prescribed for complaints are suitable : they
amount to so little that their distribution may be left to the
discretion of the headman.
Ywagaungs and Ten-house-gaungs.
51. We recommend that these very useful officers
should all in future be called " Ywagaungs ", the term
" ten-house-gaung " being eliminated, and a uniform
system established throughout Burma. Every separate
hamlet of 20 or more houses should have a yzvagaung : a
large village should have several, but not more than three
for every hundred houses. Ywagaungs should be appointed
in the manner now prescribed for rural policemen ; the
power of appointment carries with it the power of removal
and dismissal. It does not appear necessary to prescribe
an age-limit.
52. We would urge that, the finances of the country
permitting, the question of establishing a paid Rural
Constabulary should be taken up by Government at an early
date. This will go a long way towards the detection—if not
the prevention—of a large number of crimes in the villages
which are now closed being classified as " Undetected ".
Until such a Rural Constabulary is established, ywagaungs
will have to continue to perform the duties now laid on
them by Rule under section 8 of the Act.^ The fact that


( 16 )
he performs certain police duties does not make the head-
man a police officer ; nor should the ywagaung, because he
performs similar duties, be called a " rural policeman " :
The Village Act should give him specific duties and powers
as ywagatuig, and the Rule which says that he shall perform
all the duties imposed on a police officer by the Police Act and
the Code of Criminal Procedure should be cancelled. The
fact that the District Superintendent of Police has no legal
authority over headmen, even when they are dealing with
crime, seldom causes difficulty, and there is no real
necessity for him to have the legal authority, which is at
present given him by Rule, over the officers who will in
future be called ywagaimgs.
53. The appointment is little sought-after, and one of its
few attractions, the exemption from the thathameda and
capitation-tax, is now disappearing with the elimination of
those taxes. It is very necessary that it should be made as
attractive as possible. It carries with it by custom,
exemption from ordinary village duties, and we further
recommend the following measures :—
(a) Ywagaimgs should be allowed to wear dalwes
exempt from payment of license-fees and from
taking out such licenses, and
(b) Substantial rewards should be granted to suitable
ywagaungs annually for good service and work.
We recommend that Government should make
a special annual allotment of funds for this pur-
pose to Deputy Commissioners, distinct from the
allotment for rewards to headmen. They should
also be given travelling expenses when they
have to perform journeys on Government duty
and are not otherwise paid.
Duties of Headmen.
54. Among the duties laid on headmen by Section 7 of
the Act is the communication to a Magistrate or to the
police-station of the commission of or attempt or intention
to commit the offences contained in a list which may be
added to by the Deputy Commissioner, with the sanction of
the Commissioner. The Riot Inquiry Committee on page
312 of its Final Report recommended departmental inquiries


( 17 )
to be conducted into the very general charge of the too
frequent failure of Thugyis to range themselves openly and
whole-heartedly upon the side of the authorities. We think
that offences such as riots, affrays and the like should be
included in the list of offences mentioned in section 7 (l)(c)
of the Act. The headmen may also be enjoined under this
section to report the existence of any facts likely to lead to
such riot, affray, etc. A majority of the Committee would
replace the existing list of offences by the words " any non-
bailable offence". Some members however feel that it
would be unduly burdening a headman to require him not
only to be acquainted [and, for the purposes of section 11 (dl,
to make his villagers acquainted] with a list of about 150
offences, but also to distinguish among them those in which
he has power to arrest without warrant. We would in any
case, retain in the hands of the Commissioner the power of
sanctioning additions to the list, with the proviso that such
addition be reported to Government, which is entitled to
know what differences exist, in this matter, between one
District and another.
55. The headman is further required by section 7 (l)(d)
to report " the occurrence in his village-tract of any sudden
or unnatural death or of any death under suspicious
circumstances." We think this clause should be re-drafted
so as to read :—" the occurrence in his village-tract of any
unnatural death, or death under suspicious circumstances
of a human being, or disappearance of a human being or
discovery of any corpse." The addition of the words " of a
human being " will guard against a possible misinterpreta-
tion. We have deliberately omitted the word " sudden
We understand that the present wording is so interpreted
that deaths occurring from even the most unambiguous
cause—drowning, snake-bite, falling from a tree, etc.—are
reported to the police and investigated and, although there
is no law forbidding burial in such cases, the family does
in fact, for fear of being suspected by the police, keep the
corpse unburied until they come, which in distant parts
may be after a number of days.
56. The headman is required by section 8 (1) (b) to
search for and arrest persons concerned in offences included
in the list in Section 7 of offences about which he is
required to communicate information. Offences which are
2


( 18 )
non-cognizable, may be included in this list and we would
herefore add :—
" Provided that this clause shall not empower a headman Lo search for
ancl arrest any person in connection with an offence for which,
under any other provision of law, a person may not be arrested
without warrant."
57. An executive order should require the Deputy
Commissioner, in communicating to him any addition to
the list of offences he is required to report, specifically to
inform him whether it is his duty to search for and arrest
the offender.
58. A statutory Rule empowers headmen to arrest any
of the persons who are liable to be arrested by a police officer
without warrant. The reference is to section 54 of the
Code^ of Criminal Procedure, and we note that that section
should be amended so that one of the classes of persons
thus liable to arrest may be described as " a deserter from
His Majesty's armed forces."
59. The duties of the headman with regard to
surveillance criminals and suspicious strangers, which are
now laid on him by Executive Order, are in our opinion so
important that they ought to be embodied in section 8 of
the Act.
60. We note that a minor amendment is necessary in
section 8(1) (m), which as it stands would require the
headman to disarm at a pwe even the officers who are on
duty for the preservation of order. Similar amendment is
necessary in section 21 A.
61. Section 8(1) (n) requires the headman " generally to
assist all officers of the Government in the execution of their
public duties". We think that this should be extended to
officers of local authorities. Headmen do in fact assist, e.g.,
the vaccinators, who could not perform their work without
such aid. Since the discipline of headmen lies with the
Deputy Commissioner, there seems no danger of such a
provision being abused.
62. Specific powers to search for stolen or dacoited
property should be conferred on headmen by the Act;


( 19 )
and powers which, under our proposals, are conferred on
ywagaungs should of course be conferred also on headmen.
Duties of Villagers.
63. Our proposals for amendment in sections 7 and 8 of
the Act, which prescribe the duties of headmen, will
incidentally affect the duties of the villager, since he is
required by section 11 of the Act to communicate to the
headmen information respecting offences specified in those
sections, and also generally to assist him in the execution of
the duties laid on him by the same sections.
64. We are informed that it is not unusual for a headman
to order villagers to keep kin (watch) at his house to safe-
guard revenue-collections. A 'kin to protect the village
against anticipated attack might no doubt be justified under
section 11 id) read with section 8 {1) (/) and (o). But to
enforce kin duty for the safeguarding of revenue-collections
is in our opinion illegal, and the practice where it exists
should be stopped. If it is necessary that this money should
be guarded while in the headmen's house, Government will
have to provide for it in some other manner.
65. Section 12, giving powers for the punishment of
villagers refusing or neglecting to perform their public
duties, does not in our opinion need amendment, except
that the maximum should be raised from 48 hours to 7 days
(we do not approve of short sentences) and sentences of
confinement inflicted under this section, as under section 9,
should be served in the police-station and not in the village.
66. The power to revise orders passed under this section
by headmen and village committees is at present exercised
only by the Deputy Commissioner. We consider that it
should be extended to the Subdivisional Officer.
67. After careful consideration of section 13 of the Act,
which provides for the imposition of fines on villages, we
have come to the conclusion that this power is still
neccssary for the maintenance of peace and order in the
villages. It must be borne in mind that it is not possible
to specify in an Act of the legislature the exact duties of


I 20 )
villagers in respect of defence, and there only remains this
method of enforcing communal responsibility in this matter.
It is however not fair that villagers should be fined if, being
totally unarmed, they fail to resist an attack by fully-armed
dacoits ; and we would therefore amend section 13(a) by
inserting the words " without good and sufficient cause "
after the word " failed ".
68. Every important village should in our opinion be
armed with at least two guns, either privately-owned or
Government weapons.
69. The " track-law " provision, which was eliminated
from this section by Act IV of 1924, placed on villagers to
whose boundaries stolen cattle were traced the burden of
proof that the'y were innocent. We do not recommend its
re-insertion. A village can still be fined under section 13(&)
in a case where the evidence of the tracks was so strong as
to satisfy the Deputy Commissioner that the villagers have
combined to suppress evidence.
70. The provision of section 15 of the Act, requiring the
arrival and departure of guests to be reported to the
headman, are in our opinion, not strictly observed ;
according to some of us, the provisions of this section are
used sometimes for purposes which are exactly opposite to
that for which it was originally intended, i.e., to prove alibis
in dacoity or other serious cases. To guard against this
practice and to make the provisions of this section helpful
to the Police as originally intended, we recommend that an
Executive Order be issued urging the observance of its
provisions. We have no remarks to make as regards the
trial of offences under section 16 of the Act for contravening
the provisions of section 15, except to recommend the
deletion of the last sentence : we have already made sugges-
tions regarding the method of recording criminal
proceedings in villages.
Miscellaneous Recommendations.
71. The provisions of section 17 of the Act, which
require the consent of the village committee to a non-
resident building a house or taking up his residence in the


( 21 )
village-tract, are, in our opinion, both desirable and suitable.
No modification appears to be necessary in this respect.
72. As regards establishing a new village or group of
houses, we have considered this problem from various
angles, especially with reference to crime, and we recom-
mend the retention of section 18 of the Act. We think
that Executive Orders should urge the use of the provisions
of this section so as to discourage the springing-up of
unduly small groups of houses.
73. When all available land is occupied for cultivation,
and population is growing, villages become congested, and
extension is only possible by action of Government under
the Land Acquisition Act. Under the present Rules,
villagers who ask Government to provide house-sites in such
places must either deposit beforehand the amount required
for the acquisition, or pay the cost of their plots after
acquisition, or submit to pay perpetual annual rents based
on the price : when the price of land is high, they cannot
afford either the first or the second course, and they
naturally dislike the third. The congestion therefore
continues and increases and besides threatening the public
health drives the surplus population to a comfortless and
precarious life in huts put up in other people's gardens or
paddy-fields, or on land reserved by Government, whence
they are continually harassed by evictions. Government
has accepted responsibility for the provision of village-sites,
and we think that this should be interpreted as meaning
that villagers ought to be given house-plots at prices they
can afford to pay ; in other words, when the cost of acqui-
sition is too heavy, Government should bear part of it.
74. The provisions of section 20 of the Act (power to
require residents to remove) are rarely employed in practice,
although they were found to be of use during the last
Burma Rebellion. We have considered the retention or
otherwise of this section, and we are of opinion that it is
necessary, especially to meet a situation when peace is
threatened. We would, however, recommend that section 20
(1) be modified in such a way as to allow the person to show
cause against such an order, which should be passed only
if he fails to make any representation or is unable to show
adequate cause : we believe this is usually done, in practice,
but consider that it should be a statutory requirement.


( 22 )
75. Pawnshops are licensed by the Deputy Commis-
sioner under the Village-act, and in some districts the license-
fees amount to considerable sums, which are handed over to
the local authorities. Weare not in favour of the multipli-
cation of these shops as a means of increasing revenue.
Under the present Rule, the Deputy Commissioner has dis-
cretion as to the manner of disposing of the license. We
recommend that the Rules should require every license to
be auctioned in the first instance : only where auction fails
to produce an adequate -bid should tenders be called for.
We would not however interfere with the discretion of the
presiding officer as to acceptance or refusal of any bid or
tenders.
76. The interest charged on the sum lent varies according
to the amount, which is divided into three categories, viz, :
(1) Sums which do not exceed Rupees five ; (2) Sums
exceeding Rupees five but not exceeding Rs. 20 and (3)
Sums exceeding Rs. 20. In view of the very high rates of
interest charged at present, and at the same time keeping
in sight the fact that a drastic reduction in the rates might
result in a big drop in Pawnshop revenue, we recommend
that the present rates of one anna, nine pies and six pies
per rupee per month for the three different categories
be reduced to 9, 6 and 3 pies respectively. We are of
opinion that this reduction, while affording some relief to
borrowers, will not greatly reduce the income of the pawn-
brokers or the revenue they will be prepared to pay, because
the reduction to 3 pies in the last category will attract to
the pawn-brokers some of the clients of petty money-lenders
who charge a high rate of interest and at the same time
evade payment of income-tax. We would add that Pawn-
brokers should be prohibited from taking any fee for writing
pawn-tickets ; we understand that it is the policy of
Government that these fees should be abolished.
77. We have discussed from various angles the question
of licensing pwes. We have come to the conclusion that
Pagoda Festivals, any pwes specially notified by the Govern-
ment, and Pongyibyans should not be held without license.
We have no recommendation to make as to what other forms
of Pive should be controlled by the Government ; but we
consider that it ought not to be necessary to obtain a license
for ordinary village ahlus ; the Rules should simply require


( 23 )
that ten clays' previous notice should be given at the police-
station, which will advise the Township Officer if this is
considered necessary. .This will enable precautions to be
taken if disorder is anticipated, and will put an end to a good
deal of petty extortion. We also recommend that the order
issued in Government of Burma, Home Department letter
No. 786B40(97), dated the 6th November 1940, to the
address of all Commissioners, on the subject of " Relaxation
of the existing practice of restricting sports, such as, boat-
racing and cart-racing, etc., in rural areas", should be
embodied in the Executive Orders.
78. The practice of laying down a condition, in issuing
licenses for certain pives, that the license will be revoked
unless certain sanitary arrangements are carried out, and in
certain cases requiring the deposit of a sum of money to
enable such arrangements to be carried out by Government
agency, should, in our opinion, be limited to big Pagoda
festivals and Phongyibyans.
79. Violent crimes are of such frequent occurrence at
pives that we are not prepared to recommend the abolition
of the practice of black-listing, by which a village-tract in
which crime has occurred at a pwe is refused license for
any more pives for a specified period. But we think it
should be provided by Executive Order that this
period should ordinarily not exceed one year, and
that the penalty should only be imposed where the promoters
of the pwe or other persons held responsible for keeping
order have neglected or failed to carry out this duty.
80. To prevent the occurrence of ca'imes at pwes in rural
areas, we recommend that the orders contained in General
Department letter No. 359E32, dated the 17th November
1932, to the address of all Commissioners, on the subject of
control of pives, should be reproduced as an Executive Order.
Under this system of controlling pives in rural areas, known
as the " Henzada Scheme ", selected villagers are appointed
to help headmen and Police Officers in the control of pwes
in villages ; the system is reported to have met with success
in Henzada District.
81. With regard to the provisions of section 21A in
respect of arms at pwes, we consider that the power of


( 24 )
declaring any instrument to be an offensive weapon for the
purposes of this section may be left with the Deputy
Commissioner. We have proposed a minor amendment
in this section under the heading'" Duties of Headmen "
earlier in this Report.
82. We have deliberated on the provisions of sections
25 and 26 of the Act (saving clauses for village officials)
and we are unanimous in saying that these provisions are
both necessary and adequate.
83. As regards section 28, we are of opinion that the
wording is not very happy, and this has led to frequent
difficulties of interpretation. We would, therefore, recom-
mend a re-draft of section 28 on the following lines :—
" 28. No complaint of an offence against a headman, a member of a
village committee, or a ywagaung, of any act or omission which is
punishable under section 10 of this Act, shall be entertained by any
Court unless the prosecution is instituted by order of or under authority
from the Deputy Commissioner."
84. The addition of members of a village committee in
the re-draft of section 28 necessitates insertion of the words,
"or a member of a village committee" after the word
" headman " in the first line of section 10 of the Act.
85. As regards the rules prescribed in the Manual for
general village sanitation, construction of houses, and care
and prevention of infectious and contagious diseases among
human beings and domestic animals, we propose no change,
but we recommend that these rules should be enforced,
and to this end villagers should be given education in
principles of public health ; extensive propaganda work
should be carried out by the Public Health Department to
achieve this object, and both District Officials and Headmen
should co-operate with the officers of the Department.
86. The rules relating to the duties of headmen and
residents of a village-tract in respect of the prevention of
the spread of leprosy appear to be adequate, but they are
very difficult to enforce. We therefore recommend that
District authorities should form leper colonies (as has been
done in Monywa, Shwebo and Insein). For this purpose
District Health Officers should prepare a census of lepers
in each district.


( 25 )
87. The question of introducing a provision, similar to
that contained in section IIA of the Burma Towns Act,
regarding the establishment of billiard saloons in villages
has been raised from time to time: in 1928 by the Commis-
sioner, Sagaing Division, in 1934 by the Commissioner,
Magwe Division, in 1937 by the Commissioner, Sagaing
Division again, and in 1939 by the Commissioner, Irrawaddy,
Division. The point is that, whereas it is necessary to take
out a license to establish a billiard saloon in Towns, there
is no similar provision in the Burma Village Act, and any
person, can therefore establish a billiard saloon in a village,
without obtaining or applying, for a license. In a case which
actually happened, a person, on being refused a license to
establish a billiard saloon in a Town, went and established
one just outside the limits of the Town, in an adjacent
village-tract. There is general agreement that, to prevent
undesirable billiard saloons from being established in villages,
the Village Act ought to be assimilated to the Towns Act,
and we propose that the necessary amendment should be
made.
88. The Inspector-General of Police, Burma, has
suggested that registration of sales of cattle should be made
compulsory. The Committee, by a majority, considers that
such registration would not effectively check cattle theft; a
large proportion of cattle stolen are either slaughtered for
meat or returned to their owners on payment of blackmail ;
the scheme could be worked only by the very strictest
regimentation of the people of the country, and would lead
to much oppression and consequent discontent.
89. Village life tends to be monotonous, and the promo-
tion of healthy pastimes, such as football, chinlon, etc., is an
undoubted good, as improving physical fitness and keeping
young people out of mischief. We think that both Civil
and Police Officers should be specially enjoined to
encourage these pursuits in the villages, and Deputy
Commissioners to set aside an annual sum from their
discretionary grants for prizes.
90. In conclusion, we wish to thank our Secretary,
U Than E, and his clerks, who have carried out the


( 26 )
laborious task of digesting the masses of material with
which we had to deal.
Chairman.
Maung Aye,—25-3-41.
M embers.
Kyaw Din,
Mg. Lun,
Mg. Ba,
BA Gyan,
B. W. Swithinbank,—24-3-41.
Maung Gale,
On Gyaw.
Rangoon, the 26tli March 1941.


( 27 )
APPENDIX I.
GOVERNMENT OF BURMA.
Miscellaneous Department.
Resolution No. 574B37 U185).
Dated Rangoon, the 26th Octobcr 1937.
The present system of village administration in Upper Burma was
devised soon after the annexation of Upper Burma and has undergone
little change in essentials since Sir Charles Crosthwaite wrote his
minute of 1890. In the meantime, as one of the results of a series of
political and constitutional developments in the country, there is a wide-
spread desire for reform of the village system and administration.
With the new constitutional changes the demand for corresponding
â– changes in the direction of the villages has become strong and urgent.
Government has therefore decided to examine the whole question of
village administration in Burma with a view to undertaking necessary
reform.
2. The Governor is accordingly pleased to appoint a Village
Administration Committee consisting of the following :—
(1) The Hon'ble U Paw Tun, A.T.M., Barrister-at-Law, Minister
of Home Affairs (Chairman).
(2) Mr. F. S. V. Donnison, I.C.S., Secretary to the Financial
Commissioner.
(3) U Kyaw Min, Bamstcr-at-Law, I.C.S , Premier's Secretary.
(4) U Kyaw, K.S.M., Education Secretary.
(5) U Maung Gale, K.S.M., Retired Deputy Commissioner.
U Kyaw Min, Bcirrisler-al-Law, I.C.S., will be Secretary to the
Committee.
3. The terms of reference of the Committee are—
to survey the entire field ot village administration in Burma
and to formulate such proposals as may be deemed necessary
for reforming this administration, and in particular to make
recommendations on—
id) the measures necessary to ensure that the headman will prima-
rily be the elected representative of his village-tract while
at the same Lime preventing an undue lowering of efficiency
in the administration of the village-tract ;
(b) the measures necessary for closer association and co-operation
between the headman and the villagers in the administration
of the village-tract ;
(c) the measures necessary for the transfer to the headman, both
individually and jointly with the villagers, of as large a
share of the administration of the village-tract as is com-
patible with a safe standard of efficiency and control;
(d) such other measures as may be necessary for and consequential
to the reform of village administration.


( 28 )
4. The Committee will have power to co-opt members, to form
Sub-Committees, to take evidence and to tour, if necessary, and its
report should be submitted to Government in the Home Department.
5. On receipt of the Committee's report, Government may consider
laying it before another body constituted on a wider and more repre-
sentative basis.
Order.—Ordered that a copy of this Resolution be forwarded to
the Chairman, Secretary and all Members of the Committee.
Ordered also.—That this Resolution be published in the
Burma Gazette for general information.
By order of the Governor of Burma,
W. H. Payton,
Secretary to the Government of Burma
Home Department.
APPENDIX II.
GOVERNMENT OF BURMA.
Home Department.
Resolution No. 834B40.
Dated Rangoon, the I7tli January 1941.
1. A Committee to enquire into the system of village administration
in Burma and to formulate proposals for reform was appointed in this
Department Resolution No. 547B37 (1185), dated the 26th October
1937. This Ccmmittee issued a questionnaire of 86 questions and about
three thousand replies were received. Tabulation of these answers
had been completed and the Committee had accomplished about half
of the task of examining them and formulating recommendations on
them when its labours were interrupted and their resumption prevented
by the Legislature Session. So many changes have since taken place
that it is doubtful if the Committee could now be reassembled with
any real prospect of a successful outcome.
The Governor has therefore decided to relieve the old Committee
of a task which circumstances have prevented them from completing
and to constitute a new Committee. The original Resolution
foreshadowed the constitution of another body on a wider and
more representative basis to consider the Committee's Report. In view
of the large amount of work accomplished by the old Committee,
the new Committee, which will consist of both officials and non-officials,
will fulfil the functions intended to be fulfilled by this projected wider
Committee, as well as completing the labours of the old Com-
mittee, and thereby expedite the implementing of the promise made
by the Premier in his statement of policy to the Legislature on the
26th September 1940.


( 29 )
In announcing this decision the Governor desires to acknowledge
the services of Sir Paw Tun the Chairman, and the Members of the old
Committee and its various secretaries, since without their efforts it
would not have been possible to constitute the present Committee with
such good prospects of an early Report.
2. The Governor accordingly dissolves the Committee appointed in
Home Department Resolution No. 574B37(1185), dated the 26th
October 1937, and appoints a new Committee consisting of the
following :—
(1) The Hon'ble U Aye, Barrister-at-Law, Minister of Home
Affairs—{Chairman).
(2) U Kyaw Din, Barrister-at-Law, Senator.
(3) U Ba, District Superintendent of Police (Retired;, Insein.
(4) U Lun, M.H.R., Insein.
(5) U Ba Gyan, Bassein.
(6) U On Gyaw, O.B.E., T.D.M., Deputy Inspector-General of
Police, Western Range.
(7) Mr. B. W. Swithinbank, C.B.E., I.C.S.
(8) U Maung Gale, K.S.M., Deputy Commissioner (Retired),
Gyogon.
U Than E, Extra Assistant Commissioner, will be Secretary to the
Committee.
3. The terms of reference of the Committee are to survey the entire
field of village administration in Burma and to formulate such proposals
as may be deemed necessary for reforming this administration and in
particular to make recommendations on—
(a) the measures necessary to ensure that the headman will be
the elected representative of his village-tract while at the
same time preventing an undue lowering of efficiency in the
administration of the village-tract ;
(b) the measures necessary for the closer association and
co-operation between the headman and the villagers in the
administration of the village-tract ;
(c) the measures necessary for the transfer to the headman both
individually and jointly with the villagers, of as large a share
of the administration of the village-tract as is compatible
with a safe standard of efficiency and control ;
(d) such other measures as may be necessary for and conse-
quential to the reform of village administration.
4. The Committee will have power to co-opt members, to form
Sub-Committees, to take evidence and to tour, if necessary, and its
report should be submitted to the Governor in the Hotne Department.
Order.—Ordered that a copy of this Resolution be forwarded to
the Chairman, Secretary and all members of the Committee.
Ordered also.—That this Resolution be published in the Burma
Gazette for general information.
By order of the Governor of Burma,
R. M. MacDougall,
Secretary to the Government of Burma,
Home Department.


( 30 )
APPENDIX III.
Summary of Recommendations-
That the power to over-rule the result of election of headman in
favour of a hereditary claimant in Upper Burma, should no longer
subsist (Paragi'aph 10).
That certain classes of persons should be declared to be ineligible
for headmanship, there being no sex-bar (Par graph 11).
That the proviso which enables the Deputy Commissioner" to
reject the application of any of the candidates by reison of his standing
or character or residence or any physical or mental disqualifications "
be repealed (Paragraph 12;.
That the rules relating to the requirement that security should
ordinarily be accepted only in the form of a mutual guarantee should be
examined by the Revenue Department of Government (Paragraph 13).
That the power to over-rule the result of an election if the candi-
date owes his election to the exercise of undue influence or to
intimidation should be amplified so as to include corrupt practices such
as treating, bribery and interference with the free exercise of the vote
(Paragraph 13).
That certain rules should be framed for dealing with objections after
elections (Paragraph 14).
That bribery at headmen's elections should be made punishable
under the Penal Code, if it is not already (Paragraph 14J.
That certain rules should be made with regard to the franchise and
preparation of the electoral roll for the election of a headman or a
member of a village committee (Paragraphs 16 and 32).
That Subdivisional Officers should normally preside at headmen's
elections (Paragraph 17).
That section 5 of the Act be amended to legalise the appointment of
temporary headmen in certain contingencies (Paragraph 18).
That the Act be amended if necessary to legalise the amalgamation
of village-tracts (Paragraph 19).
That headmen should ordinarily be required to retire at the age of
60 but that annual extensions up to the age of 70 may be given to
headmen at the discretion of the Deputy Commissioner (Paragraph 20).
That on the petition of three-fourths of the electorate the Deputy
Commissioner shall be bound to order an open enquiry into allegations
of misconduct by a headman (Paragraph 20).
That Government should be prepared to vary the rates of commis-
sion where necessary to secure adequate remuneration of headmen
(Paragraph 22).
That opportunity should never be missed of allotting Ihugyisa land to
headmen, and in suitable cases the Ihugyisa lease shall carry exemption
from Land Revenue (Paragraph 23).
That the Deputy Commissioners should see that their subordinates
do not unnecessarily summon headmen to headquarters in connection
with revenue and " general " cases and that when they do so, the head-
men are paid expenses on the scale admissible to them in criminal cases
(Paragraph 24).
That the budget allotment from which compensatory grants
are made to headmen for special conditions of service be increased
(Paragraph 25).


( 31 )
That headmen who require a gun for village-protection should be
furnished with government guns or, if they purchase their own weapons,
should be granted the license free of fee (Paragraph 26).
That zayals should be provided in or near court-house compounds
for headmen's accommodation (Paragraph 26).
That enforced hospitality and services to subordinates of Government
should be confined to the minimum necessary to provide officers with
shelter when camping in the headman's village (Paragraph 26).
That substantial rewards be given to headmen in deserving cases
(Paragraph 26).
That a new title be created for the benefit of village officials
(Paragraph 26).
That the proviso to section 5a (1) of the Act be deleted, and the
Deputy Commissioner empowered to nominate members of village
committees where the required number of candidates do not come
forward (Paragraph 27).
That the declaration terminating the services of village committee
members should be enlarged to include members whose continuance in
officc is contrary to the public interest (Paragraph 28).
That the term of office of a village committee be increased to five
years (Paragraph 29).
That Statutory Rule 11 be modified to guard against possible
misinterpretation or high-handed action by the presiding officer
(Paragraph 31).
That the qualifications of a member of a village committee should be
the same as those of an elector (Paragraph 33).
That Statutory Rule 14 should be amended by substituting
" revision" for " appeal" and by omitting the provision by which the
Township Officer's order is made final (Paragraph 34).
That civil powers should be conferred on all village committees but
be withdrawable if abused (Paragraph 35J.
That the Act be amended so that a suit may be instituted before
the committee of the village where the defendant resides (Paragraph
36).
That the Civil Procedure Code be amended so that suits of a value
not exceeding Rs. 50 (perhaps Rs. 100 in the case of selected committees)
shall be exclusively triable by the village committee (Paragraph 37).
That the disposal of fees may for the present be left in the head-
man's discretion ; but when the Civil Procedure Code has been
amended, the distribution of fees among the members of the village
committee may be reviewed (Paragraphs 38 and 50).
Tint all village committees should have the additional powers
described in section 9 (4) of the Act but that these powers should be
withdrawable if abused (Paragraph 39).
That offences under sections 294, 323 and 504 of the Penal Code,,
notified as triable by any village committee, should be embodied in the
Act (Paragraph 40).
That offences under sections 289, 336 (except motor-vehicles cases)
and 509 of the Penal Code also be added (Paragraph 40).
That when experience has shown that village committees can
efficiently exercise their additional powers, the question of giving them
exclusive jurisdiction may be considered (Paragraph 41).


( 32 )
That section 28a of the Act be amended so as to empower the
District Magistrate to withdraw any case from the court of a village
committee (Paragraph 43).
That a village committee should record the substance of the evidence,
the offence proved, and the reasons for the finding and its judgment in
all criminal cases (Paragraph 44).
That Township Officers be empowered to revise the orders passed
in criminal cases by village commit tees (Paragraph 45).
That the Act should prescribe that the revisional orders of the
Deputy Commissioner in criminal cases should be final (Paragraph 45).
That to provide for special cases, the word " ordinarily " should be
inserted after the word " shall " in section 9 (5) of the Act (Paragraph
46).
That the question whether pleaders should be allowed to attend
village courts should be left for decision till the proposed amendment
of the Civil Procedure Code (Paragraph 47).
That the Act should give the village committee jurisdiction to try
and punish with a fine offences arising out of contempt of the authority
of the committee (Paragraph 48).
That short sentences are undesirable, and that persons sentenced to
confinement should always be sent to the Police Station (Paragraph 49).
That the term ten-house-gaung should be eliminated, all such
officers being called ywagaungs (Paragraph 51).
That every separate hamlet of 20 or more houses should have a
ywagaung provided that the number should not exceed three for every
hundred houses (Paragraph 51).
That the question of establishing a paid Rural Constabulary be
taken up if and when it is financially possible (Paragraph 52).
That the Act should give the yivagaung specific duties and powers
as such (Paragraph 52).
That to popularise the appointment of ywagaung, substantial
rewards should be granted to suitable ywagaungs (Paragraph 53).
That ywagaungs should be allowed to wear dalwes exempt from
payment of licence fees and from taking out licences (Paragraph 53).
That ywagaungs should be given travelling expenses for journeys
performed on Government duty (Paragraph 53).
That offences such as riots, affrays, and the like should be included
in the list of offences mentioned in section 7 (J) (c) of the Act (Para-
graph 54).
That the existing list of offences be replaced by the words " any
non-bailable offence " (Paragraph 54).
That the power of adding offences be left to the Commissioner, who
should report such additions to the Government (Paragraph 54).
That section 7 (1) id) of the Act be redrafted to guard against
possible misinterpretation (Paragraph 55).
That to prevent a person from being arrested without a warrant in
respect of certain non-cognizable offence included in the list under
section 7 of the Act, a proviso be added to section 8 il) (b) of the Act
(Paragraph 56).
That the Deputy Commissioner, in communicating to the headman
any addition to the list of offences, should inform him whether it is
his duty to search for and arrest the offender (Paragraph 57).


( 33 )
That section 54 of the Criminal Procedure Code should be amended
to include " a deserter from His Majesty's armed forces" in the classes
of persons liable to be arrested (Paragraph 58).
Thai llie duties of headmen with regard to surveillance criminals
and suspicions strangers should be embodied in section 8 of the Act
(Paragraph 59).
That amendment is necessary in sections 8 (1) (»«) and 21a of the
Act to prevent the disarming at a f>we of officers who are on duty (Para-
graph 60).
That headmen should assist the officers of local authorities also in
the execution of their public duties (Paragraph 61).
That specific powers to search for stolen property should be
conferred on headmen, who should exercise also the powers conferred
on ywagaungs (Paragraph 62).
That the enforcement of Ain-duty for the safeguarding of revenue
collections at headmen's house be stopped 'Paragraph 64).
That the maximum sentence under section 12 (ii) of the Act be
raised from 48 hours to 7 days (Paragraph 65).
That the power to revise orders passed by headmen and village
committees under section 12 of the Act be extended to the Sub-
divisional Officer (Paragraph 66).
That secLion H (1) of the Act be amended to exempt villagers
with a good excuse for failure to resist attack (Paragraph 67).
That every important village should be armed with at least two
guns (Paragraph 68).
That an Executive Order be issued urging 'the observance of the
provisions of section 15 of the Act (Paragraph 70).
That Executive Orders should urge the use c.f the provisions of
section IS of the Act (Paragraph 72).
That when the cost of acquisition of land for house-siles is too
heavy for the villagers, Government should bear part of it
(Paragraph 73).
That section 20 (l) of the Act be modified to allow the person dealt
with under this section to show cause against an order of removal
(Paragraph 74).
That the rules should require the auctioning of every pawnshop
licence in the first instance, before calling for lenders (Paragraph 75).
That the present high rales of interest charged be reduced
(Paragraph 76).
That pawn-brokers should be prohibited from taking any fee for
writing pawn-tickets (Paragraph 76).
That Pagoda Festivals, any j>wes specially notified b} Government,
and Pongyibyans should not be held without licence, but that for
ordinary village ahlus it should be sufficient to give ten days' previous
notice at the police-station (Paragraph 77).
That the condition of carrying out certain sanitary arrangements,
etc., should be limited to big Pagoda Festivals and Pongyibyans
(Paragraph 78). 4
That an Executive Order should provide that the period for black-
listing a village should ordinarily not exceed one year (Paragraph 79).
That the penalty of black-listing should only be imposed where the
promoters of the pwe have neglected or failed to carry out their duties
(Paragraph 79).


( 34 )
That the orders cont lined in General Department letter No. 359E32,
dated the 17th November 1932, to the address of all Co nmissioners, on
the subject of control of pwes, should be reproduced as an Executive
Order (Paragraph 80).
That the power to declare any instrument to be an offensive weapon
be left with the Deputy Commissioner (Paragraph 81).
That section 28 of the Act be re-drafted to obviate difficulties of
interpretation (Paragraph 83).
That as a member of a village committee is included in the re-draft
of section 28 corresponding inclusion should be effected in section 10
of the Act (Paragraph 84).
That the rules regarding village sanitation, construction of houses
and care and prevention of infectious and contagious diseases among
human beings and animals should be enforced (Paragraph 85).
That District Officers should form leper colonies (Paragraph 86).
That the Act should be assimilated to the Towns Act in respect of
licensing of Billiard Saloons (Paragraph 87).
That Civil and Police officers should be enjoined to encourage
healthy pursuits in villages, and that the Deputy Commissioners should
set aside an annual sum from their discretionary grants for prizes
(Paragraph 89).
G.B.C.P.O.—No. 4, H.P.D., 23-4-41—1,500-1.


Full Text

PAGE 1

REPORT OF TliE VILLAGE ADMINISTRATION COMMITTEE 1941 RANGOON SUPDT.i GOVT. PRINTING AND STATIONEl~V, BURMA 1941

PAGE 2

LIST OF AG~NTS FOi{ THI!: SALE OF GOVl.;RNMENT PUBLTCATIONS. IN BURMA, AMERICAS 8.\l'TltiT Mt::;SH•N P1n:ss, Rangoon. Bittirisa BltRMA PR\.:ss BRi\xcH •. Ranl(oon. BU~MA Boo~'CLue: LTD .• -Post Box No.1068, Raililooii. CITY BOOlt CLUB. 98, Phayre Street, Ran!loon. ComIN:ENTAL TRADING Co .. 363. Lower Main Road, Moulmein. JIIESSRS, K. BIN HOOl'1 & Soxs. Nyaunglehin. MAUNG LU G,\LE, Law Book Depot, 42, Ayo-o-l(aie, l\landalay, NE\\' LIGHT OF BUR)IA Pl
PAGE 3

GOVERNMENT OF BURMA. HOME DEPARTMENT. [ Extract from the proceedings of the Government of Burma in the Home Department -No. 257B41, dated the 3rd April 1941.] READ :-Home Department Resolution No. 834B40, dated the 17th January 1941, appointing a Committee to enquire into the system of village administrationin Burma and to formulate such proposals as may be deemed necessary for reforming this administration and in particular to make recommendations on-(a) the measures necessary to ensure that the head man will primarily be the elected representative of his village-tract while at the same time preventing an undue lowering of efficiency in the administration of the village-tract ; (b) the measures necessary for the closer association and co-operation between the headman and the villagers, in the administration of the village tract ; (c) the measures necessary for the transfer to the head man both individually and jointly with the villagers, of as large a share of the administration of the village-tract as is compatible with a safe standard of efficiency and control ; (d) such other measures as may be necessary for and consequential to the reform of village administra tion. READ ALSO :-Letter No. 8VAC41, dated the 26th March 1941, from the Secretary, Village Administration Committee, forwarding the Report of the Committee. ORDERED :-That the Report be laid on the table of both Houses of the Legislature, and that it be published for general information. ORDERED ALSO :-That this Resolution be published in the Burma Gazette. By order, H. C. BAKER, Deputy Secretary to the Government of Burma, Home Department.

PAGE 4

REPORT OF THE Village Administration Committee, 1941. The first Village Administration Committee was constituted in Government of Burma, Miscellaneous Department Resolution No. 574B37 p 185), dated the 26th October 1937 (reproduced as Appendix I). This Committee sent out a Questionnaire consisting of 86 questions to various officials and non-officials ; the replies received were voluminous, and an abstract of them was made for the use of members. 2. The Committee met fourteen times between the 10th January 1939 and the 28th June 1940, and after discussion came to an agreement on many of the questions before it. After this, for various reasons, no more meetings were held, and the Committee, then without a Secretary, practically ceased to function. 3. In October 1940 a whole-time Secretary from the Burma Civil Service (Class II) cadre was appointed, and it was considered best, at this stage, to dissolve the old Committee and to appoint a new and more representative Committee, to avoid further reference to another wider Committee at a later stage. With this end in view, the present Committee was constituted in Government of Burma, Horne ~epartment Resolution No. 834B40, dated the 17th January 1941 (reproduced as Appendix II). 4. The new Committee met first on the 1st February 1941, and frequently thereafter throughout the month, and it has thus been possible not only to deal with matters left over by the old Committee but also to review the resolutions passed by that Committee on the questions they had discussed. The new Committee met twelve times up to the date of completion of this Report. 5. The first four paragraphs and the executive Orders in Part III of the Manual * give a sketch of the organization * In this Report, unless the contrary is mentioned, the " Act " means the Burma Village Act, 1907, as amended up-to-date, and the" Manual " means the Burma Village Manual.

PAGE 5

( 2 ) of village-tracts after the Act was amended in 1924 : the only note which needs to be added to this sketch to-day is that, at the end of 1939, there still remained two taikthugyis, and 83 tnyolhugyis receiving the whole or part of the com mission on revenue collected in the village-tracts subordinate to them; and that the total number of headmen was 11,762, a figure which is annually, though slowly, decreasing by amalgamation of neighbouring tracts. 6. The village system thus described is the basis of administration in rural areas, and there is no public demand for any radical re-construction of it. The main reforms called for arc to ensure that the headman shall really represent and co-operate with the villagers, and shall be sufficiently remunerated ; that he shall cease to b~ headman when he outgrows his strength, or grossly abuses his powers ; that the village committee, of which he is a member and the Chairman, shall have powers adequate to the settlement within the village of minor disputes, so as to save recourse to the Courts and the Police ; and that something shall be done to improve the status of the subordinate village officials. Appointment of Headmen. 7. Although we have seen the introduction of elective principle in appointing headmen, section 5 (2) of the Act still empowers the Deputy Commissioner to reject the application of any of the candidates by reason of his standing or character or residence or of any physical or mental disqualification, and he may, with the previous sanction of the Commissioner, over-rule the result of an eledion by the villagersla) if the candidate so elected owed his election to the exercise of undue influence or to intimida tion ; ( b) if the candidate so elected cannot furnish such security as is or may be prescribed in this be half ; (c) if, in Upper Burma, the candidate so elected is not an hereditary claimant and an hereditary claimant was among the candidates and is a man of approved character and otherwise qualified for appointment as village headman.

PAGE 6

3 8. The old Committee in its Questionnaire laid great ,emphasis on the question of election, appointment, dismissal, etc., of headmen. A large number of replies has been received on all these questions, and we have spent much time in determining our recommendations on the very important phase of Village Administration. We shall now deal with our recommendations one after another, in the succeeding paragraphs. 9. Strong reasons have been given in favour of retaining the hereditary system ; namely, that a hereditary headman commands more respect, has more influence, is more honest '.because he has to maintain family prestige, is better trained and more conversant with village affairs, and generally main tains better discipline than the elected headman, who has to consider party feelings and who often regards him~elf or is regarded as the enemy of the unsuccessful candidates and their friends. A woman in charge of a \'illage in Monywa District is said to be popular and respected because of her long family traditions, she being '' the 49th descendant in the line of headmen since Alaungpaya's time." One Commissioner writes that the traditions of public service and the influence which are inherited by .certain headmen's families are a valuable asset to Government. 10. It must be observed moreover that, under the present Act, no legal claim to the succession resides with the old family ; the Deputy Commissioner merely has discretion .to favour a hereditary candidate if he is likely to make .a good headman, and even that discretion is frequently not exercised, and can only be exercised with the Commissioner's sanction. Several members of the present Committee are convinced by these arguments, and would retain the existing partial recognition of the hereditary principle. A majority, however, while recognizing the value of tradition and inherited influence, consider that they will -0 themselves tend to secure the election of a hereditary claimant if he is a worthy candidate, and that the discretion to depart from the principle of free election should no Jonger subsist. 11. We will next consider the question what class .of persons should be debarred from becoming headmen. Women have successfully held the post, and there should

PAGE 7

4 ) be no sex-bar. For obvious reasons, we recommend that the following persons should be declared ineligible :-(1) A person who has been dismissed from the service of Government or of a local body ; (2) A person who having been a legal practitioner has been debarred from practising or is under suspension from practising as such, by order of any competent Court ; (3) A person who has been disqualified for being chosen and for being a member of either Chamber of the Legislattvre, a District Council or a Municipality ; ( 4) Any one below 21 years of age ; (5) Any one above 60 years of age ; (6) Undischarged bankrupts ; , 7) A person of unsound mind ; (8) A person not domiciled in Burma ; (9) A person who is a cripple, infirm or otherwise: physically unfit; (10) An illiterate person ; ( 11) A Government servant ; ( 12) A person who has previously been sentenced to imprisonment for a period of more than six months, or against whom an order has been passed to furnish security to be of good behaviour under the provisions of sections 109 and 110 of the Criminal Procedure Code or section 17 of the Burma Gambling Act or section 3 of the Opium Law Amendment Act, 1909, or section 64A of the Burma Excise Act,. 1917, unless five years have elapsed since his. release or the expiry of the period of security ; {13) A person who has been removed or dismissed from village headmanship ; and (14) Pongyis, Pothudaws and Nuns. 12. We recommend that the proviso which enables the Deputy Commissioner " to reject the application of any of the candidates by reason of his standing or character or residence or any physical or mental disqualifications " be repealed. Physical and mental disqualifications have been sufficiently provided for above ; standing and character are vague expressions and are unfairly strained when an appli cation is rejected merely because a police officer reports that.

PAGE 8

5 ihe candidate is, for example, addicted to gambling. The neighbouring headmen will not readily sign a joint bond with a man of seriously bad character. 13. The powerof the Deputy Commissioner to over-rule the result of an election if the elected candidate cannot furnish approved security for the collection and crediting of revenue which he collects must of course subsist, but some members of the Committee consider that the requirement that security should ordinarily be accepted only in the form of a mutual guarantee is unduly rigid, and we therefore ;recommend that the Revenue Department of Government should examine the rules on this subject. The power to over-rule the result of an election if the candidate owes his election to the exercise of under intluence or to intimida tion should be amplified so as to include corrupt practices such as treating, bribery and interference with the free exercise of the vote. 14. It is well known that objections on these grounds are incessantly raised after elections, and that they are often frivolous or malicious. To prevent abuse of the right to petition for redress in such cases, we are of opinion that certain rules should be framed for dealing with objections after elections. If the objection is under one of the following heads, 1,iz., exercising undue influence, treating, bribery and interfecence with the free exercise of the vote, we recommend that, on the complaint in writing of a candidate for headmanship during the poll or immediately .after the poll and before counting of the votes, an inquiry should be made forthwith by the Presiding Officer and the votes counted only on completion of such enquiry, the ballot boxes having previously been sealed in the presence of all the candidates. If the Presiding Officer is not the Deputy Commissioner himself, he should submit a report based on his enquiry to his immediate superior along with the result of the election. Any objection filed after the t_okens have been counted and within 15 days from the close of the polls should be accompanied by a cash deposit ,of a quarter 0f the average annual commission of the headmanship of the particular village-tract ; if on enquiry by an officer not below the rank of a Subdivisional ,officer the allegations are ultimately found to be either malicious or frivolous in !nature, the deposit should be ~orfeited to Government. Objections received after the

PAGE 9

6 ) period mentioned should be ignored. We would add thatr if bribery at headmen's elections is not punishable under the Indian Penal Code, the Code should in our opinion be amended. 15. Objections alleging that the elected candidate was at the time of election ineligible must of course be heard even if made at a later date. 16. No Rules prescribe the qualifications of voters at elections of headmen, but we understand that, in practice7 those are allowed to vote whose names are entered in the capitation-tax or t!tathameda assessment rolls. As capita tion-tax and thathameda will be abolished with effect from the 1st January 1942, it is necessary that Go,,emment decide what is to be the franchise. \Ve are of opinion that there should be universal adult suffrage, adult meaning a person who has completed 18 years of age on the date of the prepa-: ration of the electoral roll. \Vornen would thus also be entitled to vote. These rolls should be prepared eYery three years but, in the case of a vacancy occuring a year or more after the preparation of the rolls, the Deputy Com missioner should cause the electoral roll to be brought-up-to date for the purpose of that election. \Ve are also of opinion that such rolls should be published in the village for one month and objections, if any, made before the Township Officer within this period of publication. Persons belonging to categories (7), (8), 02) and (14} mentioned in paragraph 11 of this Report should not be entered in these rolls. Only persons who have been' residents of the village-tract for the past three years should have their names entered in the electoral rolls. 17. \Ve have nothing to say with regard to the secret ballot system used in the elections of headmen, but we are definitely of opinion that the Subdivisional Officer should normally preside at headmen's elections unless the Deputy Commissioner does so. We desire, however, to add that the Deputy Commissioner may be given powers to direct, in exceptional circumstances to be recorded in writing, or in tracts where there is no Subdivisional Officer, that an election shall be held by the Township Officer. 18. We were asked by the Home Department to giv~ our opinion on the subject of legalising the appointments of

PAGE 10

( 7 temporary headmen who are placed in charge of village tracts by the Deputy Commissioner on the death, dismissal, removal, leave or suspension of the permanent incumbents. It has been proposed that a provision for such temporary appointments be added to section 5 of the Act ; they are at present made without any legal authority. We have advised the Horne Department that we favour the proposed amendment of section 5. To guard against undue prolongation of such non-elective appointments, we consider that every case in which the new elected headman has not assumed office within a year of the vacancy should be reported to Government. 19. \Vhen a village-tract with insufficient commiss ion becomes vacant, it is the policy of Government to amalgamate it with a neighbouring tract if possible (distances are sometimes tco great) ; this is a necessary step in the process of gradually providing adequate renumeration for all headmen, and we recommend that, if it is held to contravene the provisions of section 5, tbe Act should be amended so as to legalize it. ' 20. Headmen are usually appointed on one or two years' probation, after ,vhich they are confirmed, and their term of office, unless they resign or are removed, ends only with their life. vVe have considered various proposals for fixing a term of years. On the one hand it must be remembered that the headman performs a number of duties for which in other countries special officers exist-the recording of vital statistics, preservation of public order, measures against disease (human and animal), the trial of cases, the preservation of survey-marks, and the collection of various Government dues ; years of training are necessary before the average headman can become reasonably competent at his work ; and it is therefore impossible to contemplate a frequent change of headmen. On the other hand, it is certain that many headmen continue in office far too long, until they are p;;i.st their work through old age, or have lost the confidence of their villagers. To obviate this, we recommend that headmen should ordinarily be required to retire at the age of 60, and that thereafter if the headman is still fit and active annual extensions may be granted at the discretion of the Deputy Commissioner up to, but not beyond, the age of 70 (one member would fix the limit at 65) ; and that, when allegations of misconduct are made,

PAGE 11

8 ) three-fourths of the electorate may petition to the Deputy Commissioner to hold an enquiry into the allegations and the Deputy Commissioner shall be bound to order the holding of an open inquiry against the headman, the officer holding the inquiry not to be below the rank of a Sub divisional Officer. 21. As regards the removal, dismissal, suspension and leave of headmen, no hard and fast rule can or need be prescribed, and this matter can be safely entrusted to the appointing authority, i.e., the Deputy Commissioner. Remuneration of Headmen. 22. All headmen, except some of those subordinate to the surviving taikthugyis and myothugyis, are paid by a commission on the revenue they collect, and their remunera tion therefore varies from year to year ; in the year 1933, when large reductions of revenue w<:re granted, the averc1ge amount received by independen_t headmen fell as low as Rs. ; in 1937 it rose to Rs. 237. It will fall much below this in future, with the abolition of thatliamcda and capitation-tax, and the fall is likely to be permanent, since heavy increases of Land Revenue are unlikely. It is accordingly of great importance that something should be done to improve the headmen's position, if the post is to continue to be an object of ambition. We can hardly contemplate the payment of salaries. The rate would have to be varied in accordance with the importance of the charge, and in most cases would put the headmen, who should be the leader of his people, on a level with the humblest servants of Government. We suggest, first, that Government should be prepared to vary the rates of commissions where this is necessary to secure adequate remuneration. We understand that the present rates vary from 3 to 10 per cent, that they were fixed long ago and have no relevance to present conditions, and that Government has for many years done nothing to bring them nearer uniformity. When, on the proposal of the Commissioner, Government has approved a change of rate in a particular case, the new rate should ordinarily subsist for at least five years. The extra cost should be partly met by fixing a maximum annual sum for a headman's total receipts from this source ; the maximum might be as low as Rs. 180 in

PAGE 12

9 .quiet village-tracts and as high as Rs. 400 m non-municipal towns, e.g., on the railway. 23. We recommend, secondly, that the opportunity should never be missed l we believe that it often is missed) of allotting thugyisa land, and we suggest that, before any block of waste land is handed over to ihe State Colonies Department, a specific statement of the Deputy Commis .sioner should be required that no part of it is required for the provision of thugyisa for headmen of the Township within which it lies. Moreover, the Commissioner should be given 1.he power to direct, in suitable cases, that the .thuiyisa lease shall carry exemption from Land Revenue ; such exemption is unnecessary when the commission is .adequate. 24. The scale of expenses to be paid to headmen when they appear to give evidence in a Court of Law is clearly laid down. They are also entitled to receive such payments when they appear at places away from their village-tracts to give evidence in revenue and " general " cases, which are, as a rule, disposed of by revenue and executive officers. We regret to note, however, that there are many officers who repeatedly summon headmen to headquarters in such cases, and fail to pay their expenses when they appear. We recommend ihat stress should be laid on this point by Deputy Commissioners ; they should see that their subor dinates no not unnecessarily summon headmen to head quarters in connection with revenue and "general " cases, and that, when they do so, the headmen are paid expenses on the scale admissible lo them in criminal cases. 25. There are some journeys which headmen bave to take (for example, for receiving tax-tickets, and for paying in revenue) for which it is not practicable to pay travelling expenses. The cost of these journeys sometimes absorbs a large part of the commission of the headman of a poor village-tract. The Deputy Commissioner has a small budget-allotment from which compensatory grants are made in such cases : we recommend that it be increased. 26. We have several minor suggestions for making the post of headman less unattractive. W c think that headmen who require a gun for village protection should be furnished with Government guns, or, if they purchase their 9wn

PAGE 13

( 10 ) weapons, should be granted the license free of fee. Zayats should be provided in or near Court-house compounds for the accommodation of headmen. Enforced hospitality and services to subordir..ates of Government should be confined to the minimum necessary to provide .such officers with shelter when camping in the headman's village ; it is wrong that the expense of their food, which is allowed for in the traveliing allo\\'ance they draw, should fall on their host. Substantial rewards should be given in desenring cases~ rather than a large number of small payments. We may add that the conferment of titles on outstanding headmen is too rare : if necessary, a new order might be created for the benefit of village officials. Members of Village Committees. 27. Althougl1 there are a good many committees which function well, we are given to understand that the villagers do not generally take a keen interest in the election of village committee members, and in some cases there are no candidates. We are, however, unanimous, in holding that village committees should exist in all village-tracts, and that when any village-tract fails to elect the required number of candidates the Deputy Commissioner should be empowered to nominate. A headman who is the elected representative of the villagers will generally find persons from among his supporters d10 will he ready to co-operate with him in the administration of the village-tract. Our proposal will necessitate the deletion of the proviso to section SA ( 1 ), which runs :'' provided that the Governor may by notification exclude any village-tract rem the operation of this section, in which case all the provisions of tbis Act relating to village committees shall, where the context of this Act so permits be deemed to apply to the headman." 28. As regards the present method of terminating the services of village committee members, we agree that it is satisfactory, -except that the declaration should not be limited to setting out that the continuance in office of the member in question is contrary to the interests of the residents of the village-tract, but should be enlarged so as to include members whose continuance in office is contrary to the public interest.

PAGE 14

11 ) 29. The present term of office of a member of a village committee is three years ; we are of opinion that it should be altered to a term of five years so that frequent elections may be avoided. 30. vVe have no suggestion to make regarding the number of members of a village committee as provided in section SA ( 3) of the Act and Statutory Rule 15 on page 27 of the Manual. We are of opinion that no change is necessary in this direction at present. 31. As regards the ques1ion of election of village committee members, we consider that the only practicable arrangement is that which at present obtains, that is, that the election should be held under the presidency of the headman of a neighbouring tract. But we recommend a slight modification to Statutory Rule 11 on page 26 of the Manual so that it will run :"At the close of the voting, the votes shall be counted by the presiding officer and the per3ons assisting him, in the presence of the crndiclates or their accredited agents, and the presiding officer, etc." We suggest this modification to guard against possible misinterpretation or high-handed action by the presidmg officer. 32. Regarding the qualification of voters for the election of village committee members, we recommend that rolls prepared in accordance with our recommendation for the election of headman should be used for the purpose of these elections also. \,,Ye would not impose any property or tax-paying qualification, since the village committee has no power to raise taxes and administer funds. 33. \Ve are of opinion that the qualifications of a member of a village committee should be the same as those of an elector. \,,Ye do not consider that the imposition of an age qualification would neces!-arily ensure the election of a better type of person than at present ; and we are not in favour of imposing a tax-paying qualification in view of the fact that, on the abolition of capitation-1.ax and ihathanieda, the only direct tax which the majority of persons resident in a village-tract will pay is land revenue, and there are many villages which contain few payers of land revenue, and some which contain none at all.

PAGE 15

( 12 ) 34. We note Stah.1tory Rule 14 on page 27 of the Manual which provides for an appeal to the Township Officer regarding irregularities in the election of members of village -committees should be amended by substituting "revision" for appeal [section 23 (1) of the Act says that no appeal shall lie from any order made under the Act] and by omitting the provision by which the Township Officer's .order in revision is made final [section 23 (2) of the Act gives the Deputy Commissioner power to revise any order passed by the Township Officer]. Civil Jurisdiction. 35. At the end of 1939, civil judicial powers, subject 1.o revision by the Township Judge, were exercised, or at least possessed, by the committees of 5,185 village-tracts, that is to say, by about 44 per cent of the total number. We understand that the conferment and refusal of these powers is sometimes capricious : we have heard of f eyv instances of their abuse : and we therefore recommend that the Act should be amended so as to confer them on all village committees, the pov.,er being reserved to the Commissioner to withdraw them for a specified period if they are abused. 36. The Act as it stands limits the committee's jurisdiction to suits where both plaintiff and defendant reside within tl1e village-tract. This limitation is one reason why so little use is made of the village courts. We recommend that the Act be amended so that a suit may be instituted before the committee of the village where the clef endant lives, irrespective of the plaintiff's residence. Trials by a joint committee of two village-tracts ( which might be far apart) would be impracticable. 37. Another reason why these courts are little resorted to is that their jurisdiction is not exclusive ; it is open to a plaintiff to sue in the Township Court even where a suit in the village court would lie. In order to enhance the prestige of village committees and to relieve villages of the burden of journeying to the Township Court over petty cases, we recommend that the Code of Civil Procedure be amended so that suits of a value not exceeding Rs. 50 where the defendant resides in a village-tract shall be exclusively triable by the village committee. It may also

PAGE 16

13 be considered whether power should be given to the Commissioner to raise the maximum to Rs. 100 in the case of selected village committees. 38. The prescribed scale of fees we consider adequate. ""'hen the Code of Civil Procedure has been amended in' the manner proposed, the fees are likely to amount to substantial sums, and the question of their distribution, among members of the committee may be reviewed : at present the sums are insignificant and their disposal may be left in the headman's discretion. Criminal Jurisdiction. 39. Section 9 of the Act shows the offences which may be tried by any village committee, and the maximum penalties that can be imposed. Four thousand seven hundred and forty-one committees have been specially empowered under sub-section 4 of section 9 to deal with cases of theft and mischief up to Rs. 50 and to impose, . in these cases only, a heavier penalty. (It would perhaps be better if an exception were made of mischief by fire.) We are of opinion that all village committees ~hould have these additional powers, and that, as we have proposed in the case of civil powers, the Commissioner should be authorized to withdraw them if they are abused. 40. Offences punishable under sections 294, 323, 504 and 510 have been notified by Governor as triable by any village committee, and may as well be embodied in the Act We would add sections 289, 336 (except motor-vehicles cases) and 509. Village committees in rural areas which have been notified under section 26, Cattle Trespass Act, should be empowered to try offences under that section, the maximum penalty for which is a fine of Rs. 50. The po\.ver to notify additional offences as triable by village committees should be retained. 41. Village committees have not exclusive jurisdiction in respect of offences committed in the village-tract and triable by them, and we think that the villager should for the present" retain his option to seek a remedy in the Court of a Magistrate. When further experience has shown that village committees can efficiently exercise their additional powers, the matter may be reconsidered. -

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( 14 42. We are satisfied that it 1s not practicable to create Benches of Magistrates, with more extensive criminal powers than those possessed by a village committee, to exercise jurisdiction in a group of village-tracts. 43. Under the existing law lsection 28A of the Act) the District Magistrate cannot withdraw a criminal case from the village committee unless it is a case which bas been 1ransf erred for trial to the committee by a Magistrate ,who has taken cognizance of it. We are of opinion ihat the District Magistrate, as head of the criminal administration .of a district. should have the power of withdrawing any case from the court of a village committee. We recommend that the law should be amended accordingly. 44. The law, as at present existing, does not require .criminal proceedings to be reduced into \:<.Titing. After great deliberation on this point, we have come to the ,_conclusion that a village committee should record the substance of the evidence, setting forth the names of the parties, the offence proved, and the reasons for the finding :and its judgment, in all criminal cases. The Act should provide that this record shouid be made also in cases under section 16 (2) and section 21A (4). 45. We are of opinion that there should be no provision for appeal from any order of village committees in criminal .cases, considering the petty nature of the offences and the rough and ready form of decisions available. At present, the Subdivisional Officer is empowered to revise such .orders: we would add the Township Officer. The revisional -orders of the Deputy Commissioner, if the case comes before him, should be final, and this should be provided in the Act. 46. In sub-section 5 of section 9, which reads :" Proceedings under this section shall be held in the presence of the complainant and the accllsecl '', we would insert the word " ordinarily "This will provide .for special cases, such as prosecutions for breach of regulation instituted by Government. 47. As for the question whether pleaders should be .-allowed to attend village courts, we would leave this question

PAGE 18

15 for decision when the Code of Civil Procedure has been amended, as proposed by us, so as to confer exclusive jurisdiction in certain suits. 48. We think the Act should give the committe e jurisdiction to try, and to punish \vith a fine not e xce eding Rs. 10, persons who ref use to attend a village court, to take the oath or to give evidence, or who interfere with the proceedings or insult the members of the committee. 49. Persons sentenced to confinement should, in our ,opinion, always be sent to the police station, and not confined in the villages. This will tend to eliminate; short sentences, which are generally undesirable. 50. The fees prescribed for complaints are suitable : they .amount to so little that their distribution may be left t o the discretion of the headman. Ywagaungs and Ten-house-gaungs. 51. We recommend that these very use ul officers should all in future be called " Y wagaungs ", the term " ten-house-gaung " being eliminated, and a uniform system established throughout Burma. Every separate hamlet of 20 or more houses should have a ywa{!,aung : a large village should have several, but not more than three for every hundred houses. Ywagaunf!.s should be appointed in the manner now prescribed for rural policemen ; the power of appointment carries with it the power of removal and dismissal. It does not appear necessary to pre. :;cribe an age-limit. 52. We would urge that, the finances of the country permitting, the question of establishing a paid Rural Constabulary should be taken up by Government at an early .date. This will go a long way towards the detection-if not the prevention-of a large number of crimes in the villages which are now closed being classified as " Undetected 11• Until such a Rural Constabulary is established, ywagaungs will have to continue to perform the duties now laid on them by Rule under section 8 of the Act. , The fact that

PAGE 19

{ 16 he performs certain police duties does not make the headman a police officer ; nor should the ywagaung, because he performs similar duties, be called a " rural policeman " : The Village Act should give him specific duties and powers . as ywagaung, and the Rnle which says that he shall perform all the duties imposed on a police officer by the Police Act and the Code of Criminal Procedure should be cancelled. The fact that the District Superintendent of Police has no legal authority over headmen, even when they are dealing with crime, seldom causes difficulty, and there is no real neces~ity for him to have the legal authority, v,, hich is at present given him by Rule, over the officers who will in future be called ywagaungs. 53. The appointment is little sought-after, and one of its, few attractions, the exemption from the thathameda and capitation-tax, is now disappearing with the elimination of those taxes. It is very necessary that it should be made as attractive as possible. It carries with it by custom, exemption from ordinary village duties, and we further recommend the following measures :-(a) Ywagaungs_ should be allowed to wear dalwes exempt from payment of license-fees and from taking out such licenses, and (b) Substantial rewards should be granted to suitable ywagaungs annually for good service and work. We recommend that Government should make a special annual allotment of funds for this purpose to Deputy Commissioners, distinct from the allotment for rewards to headmen. They should also be given travelling expenses when they have to perform journeys on Government duty and are not otherwise paid. Duties of Headmen. 54. Among the duties laid on headmen by Section 7 of the Act is the communication to a Magistrate or to the police-station of the commission of or attempt or intention to commit the offences contained in a list which may be added to by the Deputy Commissioner, with the sanction of the Commissioner. The Riot Inquiry Committee on page 312 of its Final Report recommended departmental inquiries-

PAGE 20

17 to be conducted into the very general charge of the too frequent failure of Thugyis to range themselves openly and whole-heartedly upon the side of the authorities. We think that offences such as riots, affrays and the like should be included in the list of offences mentioned in section 7 (1 )(c) of the Act. The headmen may also be enjoined under this section to report the existence of any facts likely to lead to such riot, affray, etc. A majority of the Committee would replace the existing list of offences by the words '' any non bailable offence". Some members however feel that it would be unduly burdening a headman to require him not only to be acquainted [and, for the purposes of section ll(a), to maim his villagers acquainted] with a list of about 150 offences, but also to distinguish among them those in which he has power to arrest without warrant. We would in any case, retain in the hands of the Commissioner the power of sanctioning additions to the list, with the proviso that such addition be reported to Government, which is entitled to know what differences exist, in this matter, between one District and another. 55. The headman is further required by section 7 ( 1 )(d) to report "the occurrence in his village-tract of any sudden or unnatural death or of any death under suspicious circumstances." We think this clause should be re-drafted so as to read :-'' the occurrence in his village-tract of any unnatural death, or death under suspicious circumstances of a human being, or disappearance of a human being or discovery of any corpse." The addition of the words '' of a human being" will guard against a possible misinterpreta tion. We have deliberately omitted the word " sudden ". We understand that the present wording is so interpreted that deaths occurring from even the most unambiguous cause-drowning, snake-bite, falling from a tree, etc.-are reported to the police and investigated and, although there is no law forbidding burial in such cases, the family does in fact, for fear of being suspected by the police, keep the corpse unburied until they come, which in distant parts may be after a number of days. 56. The headman is required by section 8 ( 1) ( b) to search for and arrest persons concerned in offences included in the list in Section 7 of offences about which he is required to communicate information. Offences which are 2

PAGE 21

( 18 non-cognizable, may be included in this list and we would herefore add :-" Provided that this clause shall not empower a headman Lo search for and arrest any person in conneclion with an offence for which, under any other p,ovision of law, a person may not be arrested without warrant." 57. An executive order should reqmre the Deputy Commissioner, in communicating to him any addition to the list of offences he is required to report, specifically to inform him whether it is his duty to search for and arrest the off ender. 58. A statuiory Rule empowers headmen to arrest any of the persons who are liable to be arrested by a police officer without warrant. The reference is to section 54 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, and we note that that section shouid be amended so that one of the classes of persons thus liable to arrest may be described as '' a deserter from His Majesty's armed forces." 59. The duties of the headman with regard to surveillance criminals and suspicious strangers, which are now laid on him by Executive Order, are in our opinion so important that they ought to be embodied in section 8 of the Act. 60. We note that a minor amendment is necessary in section 8tl) (m), \vhich as it stands would require the headman to disarm at a pwe even the officers who are on duty for the preservation of order. Similar amendment is necessary in section 21A. 61. Section 8(1) (n) requires the headman "generally to assist all officers of the Government in the execution of their public duties". We think that this should be extended to officers of local authorities. Headmen do in fact assist, e.g., the vaccinators, who could not perform their work without such aid. Since the discipline of headmen lies with the Deputy Commissioner, there seems no danger of such a provision being abused. 62. Specific powers to search for stolen or dacoited property should be conferred on headmen by the Act;

PAGE 22

( 19 and powers which, under our proposals, are conferred on ywagaungs should of course be conferred also on headmen. Duties of Villagers. 63. Our proposals for amendment in sections 7 and 8 of the Act, which prescribe the duties of headmen, will incidentally affect the duties of the villager, since he is required by section 11 of the Act to communicate to the headmen information respecting offences specified in those sections, and also generally to assist him in the execution of the duties laid on him by the same sections. 64. We are informed that it is not unusual for a headman to order villagers to keep kin (watch) at his house to safeguard revenue-collections. A 'kin to protect the village against anticipated attack might no doubt be justified under section 11 (d) read with section 8 (1) (f) and (a). But to enforce kin duty for the safeguarding of revenue-collections is in our opinion illegal, and the practice where it exists should be stopped. If it is necessary that this money should be guarded while in the headmen's house, Government will have to provide for it in some other manner. 65. Section 12, giving powers for the punishment of villagers refusing or neglecting to perform their public duties, does not in our opinion need amendment, except that the maximum should be raised from 48 hours to 7 days (we do not approve of short sentences) and sentences of confinement inflicted under this section, as under section 9, should be served in the police-station and not in the village. 66. The power to revise orders passed under this section by headmen and village committees is at present exercised only by the Deputy Commissioner. We consider that it should be extended to the Subdivisional Officer. 67. After careful consideration of section 13 of the Act, which provides for the imposition of fines on villages, we have come to the conclusion that this power is still necessary for the mainten:mce of peace and order in the villages. It must be borne in mind that it is not possible to specify in an Act of the legislature the exact duties of

PAGE 23

l 20 ) villagers in respect of defence, and there only remains this method of enforcing communal responsibility in this matter. It is however not fair that villagers should be fined if, being totally unarmed, they fail to resist an attack by fully-armed dacoits ; and we would therefore amend section 13ta) by inserting the words " without good and sufficient cause ,, after the word " failed ". 68. Every important village should m our op1111on be armed with at least two guns, either privately-owned or Government weapons. 69. The" track-law" prov1s10n, which was eliminated from this section by Act IV of 1924, placed on villagers to whose boundaries stolen cattle were traced the burden of p'roof that they were innocent. We do not recommend its re-insertion. A village can still be fined under section 13( b) in a case where the evidence of the tracks was so strong as to satisfy the Deputy Commissioner that the villagers have combined to suppress evidence. 70. The provision of section 15 of the Act, requiring the arrival and departure of guests to be reported to the headman, are in our opinion, not strictly observed ; according to some of us, the provisions of this section are used sometimes for purposes which are exactly opposite to that for which it was originally intended, i.e., to prove alibis in dacoity or other serious cases. To guard against this practice and to make the provisions of this section helpful to the Police as originally intended, we recommend that an Executive Order be issued urging the observance of its provisions. We have no remarks to make as regards the trial of offences under section 16 of the Act for contravening the provisions of section 15, except to recommend the deletion of the last sentence : we have already made sugges tions regarding the method of recording criminal proceedings in villages. Miscellaneous Recommendations. 71. The provisions of section 17 of the Act, which require the consent of the village committee to a nonresident building a house or taking up his residence in the

PAGE 24

21 ) village-tract, are, in our opinion, both desirable and suitable. No modification appears to be necessary in this respect. 72. As regards establishing a new village or group of houses, we have considered this problem from various angles, especially with reference to crime, and we recommend the retention of section 18 of the Act. We think that Executive Orders should urge the use of the provisions of this section so as to discourage the springing-up of unduly small groups of houses. 73. When all available land is occupied for cultivation, and population is growing, villages become congested, and extension is only possible by action of Government under the Land Acquisition Act. Under the present Rules, villagers who ask Government to provide house-sites in such places must either deposit beforehand the amount required for the acquisitioo, or pay the cost of their plots after acquisition, or submit to pay perpetual annual rents based on the price : when the price of land is high, they cannot afford either the first or the second course, and they naturally dislike the third. The congestion therefore continues and increases and besides threatening the public health drives the surplus population to a comfortless and precarious life in huts put up in other people's gardens or paddy-fields, or on land reserved by Government, whence they are continually harassed by evictions. Government has accepted responsibility for the provision of village-sites, and we think that this should be interpreted as meaning that villagers ought to be given house-plots at prices they can afford to pay ; in other vwrds, when the cost of acqui sition is too heavy, Government should bear part of it. 74. The provisions of section 20 of the Act (power to require residents to remove) are rarely employed in practice, although they were found to be of use during the last Burma Rebellion. vVe have considered the retention or otherwise of this section, and we are of opinion that it is necessary, especially to meet a situation when peace is threatened. We would, however, recommend that section 20 (1) be modified in such a way a<; to allow the person to show cause against such an order, which should be passed only if he fails to make any representation or is unable to show adequate cause : we believe this is usually done, in practice~ but consider that it should be a statutory requirement.

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22 75. Pawnshops are licensed by the Deputy Commis sioner under the Village-act, and in some districts the license fees amount t0 considerable sums, which are handed over to the local authorities. Weare not in favour of the multipli cation of these shops as a means of increasing revenue. Under the present Rule, the Deputy Commissioner has dis cretion as to the manner of disposing of the license. We recommend that the Rules should require every license to be auctioned in the first instance : only where auction fails to produce an adequate bid should tenders be called for. vVe would not however interfere with the discretion of the presiding officer as to acceptance or refusal of any bid or tenders. 76. The interest charged on the sum lent varies according to the amount, which is divided into three categories, viz, : (1) Sums which do not exceed Rupees five ; (2) Sums exceeding Rupees five but not exceeding Rs. 20 and (3) Sums exceeding Rs. 20. In view of the very high rates of interest char![ed at present, and at the same time keeping in sight the fact that a drastic reduction in the rates might result in a big drop in Pawnshop revenue, we recommend that the present rates of one anna, nine pies and six pies per rupee per month for the three different categories be reduced to 9, 6 and 3 pies respectively. We are of opinion that this reduction, while affording some relief to borrowers, will not greatly recuce the income of the pawnbrokers or the revenue they will be prepared to pay, because the reduction to 3 pies in the last category will attract to the pawn-brokers some of the clients of petty money-lenders who charge a high rate of interest and at the same time evade payment of income-tax. We would adct that Pawnbrokers should be prohibited from taking any fee for writing pawn-tickets ; we understand that it is the policy of Government that these fees should be abolisl:ied. 77. \i\Te have discussed from various angles the question of licensing pwes. We have come to the conclusion that Pagoda Festivals, any pwes specially notified by the Govern ment, and Pongyibyans should not be held without license. We have no recommendation to make as to what other forms of Pwe should be controlled by the Government ; but we consider that it ought not to be necessary to obtain a license for ordinary village ahlus ; the Rules should simply require

PAGE 26

( 23 ) that ten clays' previous notice should be given at the police station, which will advise the Township Officer if this is considered necessary. .This will enable precautions to be taken if disorder is anticipated, and will put an end to a good deal of petty extortion. We also recommend that the order issued in Government of Burma, Home Department letl.er No. 7 86B40(97), dated the 6th November 1940, to the address of all Commissioners, on the subject of II Relaxation of the existing practice of restricting sports, such as, boat racing and cart-racing, etc.1 in rural areas", should be embodied in the Executive Orders. 78. The practice of laying down a condition, in issuing licenses for certain pwes, that the license will be revoked unless certain sanitary arrangements are carried out, and in certain cases requiring the deposit of a sum of money to enable such arrangements to he carried out by Government agency, should, in our opinion, be limited to big Pagoda festivals and Phongyibyans. 79. Violent crimes are of such frequent occurrence at pwes that we are not prepared to recommend the abolition of the practice of black-listing, by which a village-tract in which crime has occurred at a pwe is refused license for any more pwes for a specified period. But we think it should be provided by Executive Order that this period should ordinarily not exceed one year, and that the penalty should only be imposed where the promoters of the pwe or other persons held responsible for keeping order have neglected or failed to carry out this duly. 80. To prevent the occurrence of crimes at P'wes in rural areas, we recommend that the orders contained in General Department letter No. 359E32, dated the 17th November 1932, to the address of all Commissioners, on the subject of control of pwes, should be reproduced as an Executive Order. Under this system of controlling pwes in rural areas, known as the "Henzada Scheme", selected villagers are appointed to help headmen and Police Officers in the control of pwes in villages ; the system is reported to have met with success in Henzada District. 81. With regard to the provisions of section 21A m respect of arms at pwes, we consider that the power of

PAGE 27

( 24 ) declaring any instrument to be an offensiv~ weapon for the purposes of this section may be left ~1th the Deputy Commissioner. We have proposed a minor amendment in this section under the heading" Duties of Headmen" earlier in this Report. 82. We have deliberated on the provisions of sections 25 and 26 of the Act (saving clauses for village officials) and we are unanimous in saying that these provisions are both necessary and adequate. 83. As regards section 28, we are of opinion that the wording is not very happy, and this has led to frequent difficulties of interpretation. We would, therefore, recommend a re-draft of section 28 on the following lines :" 28. No complaint of an offence against a headman, a member of a village commitlee. or a ywa;!a1111J!, of any act or omission which is punishable under section 10 of this Act, sh11l be entertained by any Court unless the prosecution is instituted by order of or under authority from the Deputy Commissioner." 84. The addition of members of a village committee in the re-draft of section 28 necessitates insertion of the words, " or a member of a village committee" after the word " headman " in the first line of section 10 of the Act. 85. As regards the rules prescribed in the Manual for general village sanitation, construction of houses, and care and prevention of infections and contagious diseases among human beings and domestic animals, we propose no change, but we recommend that these rules should be enforced, and to this end villagers should be given education in principles of public health ; extensive propaganda work should be carried out by the Public Health Department to achieve this object, and both District Officials and Headmen should co-operate with the officers of the Department. 86. The rules relating to the duties of headmen and residents of a village-tract in respect of the prevention of the spread of leprosy appear. to be adequate, but they are very difficult to enforce. We therefore recommend that District authorities should form leper colonies (as has been done in Monywa, Shwebo and Insein). For this purpose District Health Officers should prepare a census of lepers in each district.

PAGE 28

( 25 87. The question of introducing a prov1S1on, similar to that contained in section 11A of the Burma Towns Act, regarding the establishment of billiard saloons in villages has been raised from time to time: in 1928 by the Commis sioner, Sagaing Division, in 1934 by the Commissioner, Magwe Division, in 1937 by the Commissioner, Sagaing Division again, and in 1939 by the Commissioner, Irrawaddy, Division. The point is that, whereas it is necessary to take out a license to establish a billiard saloon in Towns, there is no similar provision in the Burma Village Act, and any person, can therefore establish a billiard saloon in a village, without obtaining or applying_ for a license. In a case which actually happened, a person, on being refused a license to establish a billiard saloon in a Town, went and established one just outside the limits of the Town, in an adjacent village-tract. There is general agreement that, to prevent undesirable billiard saloons from being established in villages, the Village Act ought to be assimilated to the Towns Act, and we propose that the necessary amendment should be made. 88. The Inspector-General of Police, Burma, has suggested that registration of sales of cattle should be made compulsory. The Committee, by a majority, considers that such registration would not effectively check cattle theft ; a large proportion of cattle stolen are either slaughtered for meat or returned to their owners on payment of blackmail; the scheme could be worked only by the very strictest regimentation of the people of the country, and would lead to much oppression and consequent discontent. 89. Village life tends to be monotonous, and the promo tion of healthy pastimes, such as football, chinlon, etc., is an undoubted good, as improving physical fitness and keeping young people out of mischief. We think that both Civil and Police Officers should be specially enjoined to encourage these pursuits in the villages, and Deputy Commissioners to set aside an annual sum from their discretionary grants for prizes. 90. In conclusion, we wish to thank our Secretary, U Than E, and his clerks, who have carried out the

PAGE 29

( 26 laborious task of digesting the masses of material with which we had to deal. Chairman. MAUNG AYE,-25-3-41. Metnbers. KYAW DIN, MG. LuN, MG. BA. BA GYAN, B. W. SWITHINBANK,-24-3-41. MAUNG GALE, ON GYAw. Ranl!,oon, the 26th March 1941.

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27 ) APPENDIX I. GOVERNMENT OF BURMA. ,\'IrscELLANEOUS DEPARTMENT. Resolution No. 574B37 (1185). Daled Ra11goon, Ilic 26th October 1937. The present system of village administration in Upp e r Burma was devised soon after the annexation of Upper Burma and h a s under gone little change in essentials since S i r Charles Crosthwaite wrote his minute of 1890. In the meantime, as one of the results o f a series of political and constitutional deve lopm e n t s in the country, there is a widesprea d desire for reform of the village system and a ~ lministration. With the new constitutional changes the demand for corrcc,ponding -changes in the direction of the villa!.!e, has become strong and urgent. Government has therefore decided to examine the whole question of village administration in Burn1a \\'ith a view to undertaking necessary reform. 2. The Governor is accordingly pleased to appoint a Village Administration Committee consi s ting of the following :-(1) The Hon'ble U Paw Tun, A . T .1VI., Bar ris!tr-at-Law, Minister of Home Affairs (Cliair111a11). (2) Mr. F. S. V. Donnis o n, I.C . S., Secretary to the Financial Commissioner. (3) U Kyaw :t>din, Barrister-at-Law, I.C.S, Premier's Secretary. (4) U Kyaw, K.S. M., Education Secretary. (5) U Maung Gale, K.S.M., Retired Deputy Con~missioner. U Kyaw Min, Barrister-at-Law. I.C.S., wiil be Secretary to the Committee. 3. The terms of l'eference of the C o mmittee are-to sm vcy the entire fie ld ot , illage administration in Burma and to formulate s uch proposals as may be deemed necessary for reforming this administration, and in particul a r to make recommendations on-(a) the measures necessary to ensure that ihe headman will prima rily be the elected r e presentative of his village tract while at d1e same Lime preventing an undue lowering of e fficiency in the aclministraiion of the village-tract ; (b) the measures necessary for closer association ancl co-operation between the headman ancl the villagers in the administration of the village-tract ; (c) the measures necessary for the transfer to the headman, both individually and jointly \\'ith the villagers, of as large a share of the administration of the village-tract as is compatible with a safe standard of efficiency and control ; (d) such other measures as may be necessary for and consequential to the reform of village administration.

PAGE 31

( 28 } 4. The Committee will have power to co-opt members, to form Sub-Committees, to take evidence and to tour, if necessary, and its report should be submitled to Governmenl in the Home Department. S. On receipt of the Committee's report, Government may consider laying it before another body constituted on a wider and more representative basis. 0RDER.-0rdered that a copy of this Resolution be forwarded to the Chairman, Secretary and all Members of the Committee. ORDERED ALSO.-That this Resolution be pnblished in the Burma Gazelle for general information. By order of the Governor of Burma, w. H. PAYTON, Secretary to the Governnze11t of 811rma Home Depa.rtment. APPENDIX II. GOVERNMENT OF BURMA. HOME DEPAR'.'MENT. Resolution No. 834B40. Dated Rangoon, the 17th January 1941. 1. A Committee to enquire into the system of village administration in Burma and to formulate proi;osals for reform was appointed in this Department Resolution No. 547B37 (1185), elated the 2oth October 1937. This Ccmmittee issued a questionnaire of 86 questions and about three thousand replies were received. Tabulation of these answers had been completed aud the Committee had accomplished about half of the task of examining them and formulating recommendations on them when ils labours were interrupted and their resumption prevented by the Legislature Session. So many changes have since taken place that it is doubtful if the Committee could no\\" be reassembled with any real prospect of a successful outcome. The Governm has therefore decided to relieve the old Committee of a task which circumstances have prevented them from completing and to conslitule a new Committee. The original Resolution foreshadowed the constitution of another body on a wider and more representative basis to consider the Committee's Report. In view of the large amount of work accomplished by the old Committee, the new Committee, which will consist of both officials and non-offi.cialst \\:ill fulfil the functions intended to be fulfilled by this projected wider Committee, as well as completing the labours of the old Com mittee, and thereby expedite the implementing of the promise made by the Premier in his statement of policy to the Legislature on the 26th September 1940.

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29 ) In announcing this decision the Governor desires to acknowledge the services of Sir Paw Tun the Chairman, and the Members of the old Committee and its various secretaries, since without their efforts it would not have been possible to constitute the prest>nt Committee with such good prospects of an early Repol"l. 2. The Governor accordingly dissolves the Committee appointed in Home Department Resolution No. 574 B37(1185\ elated the 26th October 1937, and appoints a new Commiltee consisting of the following :-( l) The Hon'ble U Aye, Barrister-at-Law, Minister of Home Affairs-(Clzairman). (2) U Kyaw Din, Barrister-at-Law, Senator. (3) U Ba, District Superintendent of Police (Retirt>dJ, Insein. (4) U Lun, M.H.R., Insein. (5) U Ba Gyan, Bassein. (6) U On Gyaw, O.B.E., T.D.M., Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Western Range. (7) Mr. B. W. Swithinbank, C.B.E., I.C.S. (8) U Maung Gale, K.S.M., Deputy Commissioner (Retired), Gyogon. U Than E, Extra Assistant Commissioner, will be Secretary to the Committee. 3. The terms of reference of the Committee are to survey the entire field of village administration in Burma and to formulate such proposals as may be deemed necessary for reforming this administration and in particular to make recommendations on-(a) the measures necessary to ensure that the headman will be the elected representative of his village-tract while at the same time preventing an undue lowering of efficiency in the administration of the village-tract ; (b) the measures necessary for the closer association and co-operation between the headman and the villagers in the administration of the village-tract ; (c) the measures necessary for the transfer 1.o the headman both individually and jointly with the villagers, of as large a share of the administration of the village-tract as is compatible with a safe stanchrcl of efficiency and control ; (d) such other measures as may be necessary for and conse quential to the reform of village administration. 4. The Committee will have power to co-opt members, to form Sub-Committees, to take evidence and to tour, if necessary, and its report should be submitted to the Governor in the Home Department. 0RDER.-0rdered that a copy of this Resolution be forwarded to the Chairman, Secretary and all members of the Committee. ORDERED ALso.-That this Resolution be published in the Burma Gazette for general information. By order of the Governor of Burma, R. M. MACDOUGALL, Secretary to the Government of Bul'mtl, Home Department.

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30 APPENDIX JII. Summary of Recommendations. Tint the power to over-mle the result of election of he1dman in favour of a herecli tary claimant in Upper Burma. should no longer subsist ( Paragraph 10). That certain classes ol persuns should be declared to be ineligible for heaclmanship, there being no sex-bar ( Par graph 11). That the prcviso which enables the Deputv Commissioner" to reject the application of any of the caudiclates by ;e1son of his standing or character or residence or any physical or mental disqualifications " be repealed (Paragraph 12J. That the rules relating to the requirement that securily should ordinarily be accepted only in the form of a mutual guarantee should be ex:1.minecl by the Revenue Department of Government (Paragraph 13). That the power to over-rule the result of an election if the candidate owes his election to the exercise of undue influence or to intimidation should be amplified so as to include corrupt practices such as treating, bribery :rnd interference with the free exercise of the vote (Paragraph 13). That certain rules should be framed for dealing with objections after electicns (Paragraph 14). That bribery at headmen's elections should be made punishable under the Peual Code, if it is not already (Paragr::tph 14). That certain rules should be made \1ith regard to the franchise and preparation of the electoral roll for the election of a headman or a member of a village committee (Paragraphs 16 and 32). That Subdivisional Officers should normally preside at headmen's elections (Paragraph 17). That section 5 of the Act be amended to legalise the appointment of temporary headmen in certain contingencies (Paragraph 18). That the Act be amended if necessary to legalise the amalgamation of village-tracts (Paragraph 19l. Th,t headmen should ordimrily be required to retire at the age of 60 but that annual extensions up to the age of 70 may be given to headmen at the discretion of the Deputy Commissioner (Paragraph 20). That on the petition of three-fourths of the electorate the Deputy Commissioner shall be bound to order an open enquiry into allegations of misconduct by a headman ( Paragraph 20J. That Government should be prepared to vary the rates of commission where necessmy to secure adequate remuneration of headmen (Paragraph 22). That opportunity should never be missed of allotting t!zugyisa land to headmen, and in suitable cases the thugyisa lease shall carry exemption from Land Revenue (Paragraph 23). That the Deputy Commissioners shuu~d see that their subordinates do not unnecessarily summon headmen to headquarters in connection with revenue and '' general " cases and that when they do so, the headmen are paid expenses on the scale admissible to them in criminal cases (Paragraph 24). That the budget allotment from which compensatory grants are made to headmen for special conditions of service be increased (Paragraph 25).

PAGE 34

31 That headmen who require a gun for village-protection should be furnished with government guns or, if they purchase their own weapons. should be granted the license free of fee (Paragraph 26). That zayats should be provided in or near court-house compounds for headmen's accommodation (Paragraph 2c). That enforced hospihlily and services to subordinates of Government sh0ulcl be confined to the minimum necessary to provide officers with shelter when camping in the headman's village (Paragraph 26). That substantial rewards be given to headmen in deserving cases ( Paragraph 26). That a new title be created for the benefit of village officials (Paragraph 26). That the proviso to section SA (J) of the Act be deleted, ancl the Deputy Cpmmissioner empowered to nominate members of village committees where the required number of candidates do not come forward (Paragraph 27). That the clt>claration terminating the services of village committee members should be enlarged to include members whose continuance in office is contrary to the public interest (Paragraph 28J. That the term of office of a village committee be increased to five years (Paragraph 29). That Statutcry Rule 11 be modified to guard against possible misinterpretation or high-handed action by the presiding officer (Paragraph 31). That the qualifications of a member of a village committee should be the same as those of an elector (Paragraph 33). That Statutory Rule 14 should be amended by substituting "revision" for ''appeal" and by omitting the provision by which the Township Officer's order is macle final (Paragraph 34). That civil powers should be conferred on all village committees but be withdrawable if abused (Paragraph 35). That the Act be amended so that a suit may be instituted before the committee of the village where the defendant resides (Paragraph 36). That the Civil Procedure Code be amended so that suits of a value not exceeding Rs. SO (perhaps Rs. 100 in the case of selected committees) shall be exclusively triable by the village commiltee (Paragraph 37). That the disposal of fees may for the present be left in the he1d man's discretion ; but when the Civil Procedure Code has been amenclecl, the distribution of fees among the members of the village committee may be reviewed (Paragraphs 38 and SO). Th~ t all village committees should have the additional powers described in section 9 (4) of the Act but that these powers should be withdrawable if abused (Paragraph 39). That offences under sections 294, 323 and 504 of the Penal Code,. notified as tdable by any village committee, should be embodied in the Act (Paragraph 40). That offences under sections 289, 336 (except motor-vehicles cases) and 509 of the Penal Code also be added (Paragraph 40). That when experience has shown that village committees can efficiently exercise their additional powers, the question of giving 1.hem exclusive jurisdiction may be considered (Paragraph 41).

PAGE 35

32 That section 28A of the Act be amended so as to empower the DisLTict Magistrate to withdraw any case from the court of a village committee (Paragraph 43). That a village committee should record the substance ot the evidence, the offence provecl, and the reasons for the finding and its judgment in all criminal cases (Paragraph 44). That Township Officers be empowered to revise the orders passed in criminal cases by village committees (Paragraph 45). That the Act should prescribe that the revisional orders of the Deputy Commissioner in criminal cases should be final (Paragraph 45J. That to provide for special cases, the word ''ordinarily" should be inserted after the word '' shall " in section 9 (5) of the A.et (Paragraph 46). That the question \\hether pleaders should be allowed to attend village courts should be left for decision till the proposed amendment of the Civil Procedure Code (Paragraph 47). That the A et should give the village committee jurisdiction to try and punish with a fine offern;:es arising out of contempt of the authority of th. e committee (Paragraph 48). That short sentences are undesirable, and that persons sentenced to confinement should always be sent to the Police ~tation (Paragraph 49). That the term fen.house-gamig should be eliminated, all such officers being called '.}"IMJ!aung~ (Paragraph 51). That every separate hamlet of 20 or more houses should have a ywagaunt. provided that the number should not exceed three for every hundred houses (Paragraph 51). That the question of establishing a paid Rural Constabulary be taken up if and when it is financially possible (Paragraph 52). That the Act should give the ywagaun.i.f specific duties ancl powers as such (Paragraph 52). That to popularise the appointment of ywa.f!amzg, substantial rewards should be granted to suitable ywaga:mgs (Paragraph 53). That ywagaungs should be allowed to wear dalwes exempt from payment of licence fees and from taking out licences (Paragraph 53). That ywagau11gs should be given travelling expenses for journeys performed on Government duty (Paragraph 53). That offences such as 1iots, affrays, and lhe like should be included in the list of offences mentioned in section 7 (1) (c) of the Act (Paragraph 54). That the existing list of offences be replaced by the words " any non-bailable offence" (Paragraph 541. That the power of adding offences be left to the Commissioner, who should report such additions to lhe Government (Paragraph 54). That section 7 (1) (d) of the Act be redrafted to guard against possible misinterpretation (Paragraph SS). That to prevent a person from being arrested without a warrant in respecl of certain non-cognizable offence included in the list under section 7 of the Act, a proviso be added to section 8 (1) (b) of the Act (Paragraph 56). That the Deputy Commissioner, in communicating to the headman any addition to the list of offences, should inform him whether it is his duty to search for and arrest the offender (Paragraph 57).

PAGE 36

( 33 ) That section 54 of the Criminal Procedure Code should be amended to include "a deserter from His ]Vlajesty's armed forces" in the classes of persons liable to be arrested (Paragraph 58). ThaL the duties of heac!men with regard to surveillance criminals and suspicious strangers should be embodied in section 8 of the Act (Paragraph 59). That amendment is necessary in sections 8 (I) (in) and 21A of the Act lo prevent the c1is1nning at a j,we of officers who are on duty (Paragraph 60). That headmen should assist the officers of local authorities also in the execution of their public c!uties (Paragraph 61). That specific powers to search for stolen property should be conferred on headmen, who should exercise also the powers conferred on ywaJfa1111~s (Paragraph 62). That the enforcement of kin-duty for the safeguarding of revenue collections at headmen's house bt, stopped (Paragraph 64). That the maximum sentence under section 12 (ii) of lhe Act be raised from 48 hours to 7 clays ( Paragraph 65). That the powe; to revise orders passed by l:eac1mrn and village committees u11 c1er section 12 of the Act be extended to the Subdivisional Officer !Paragraph 66). That section 11 (1) of the Act be amended lo exempt villagers \\ith a good excuse for failme to resist attack (Paragraph 67). That every important village should be armed "vith at least two guns (Paragraph 68). That an Executive Order be issued urging rthe observance of the p1oyisinns oi section 15 of the Act (Paragnph 70). That ExecutiYe Orders should urge the use d the proYisions of scc!io11 IS <>f the Act (Pantgraph 72). TLat \,hen the cost of acquisiL011 of land for house-sites is loo heavy fr,r the villagers, Government should bear part of it (Par;1graph 73). That section 20 U) of the Act be modified to allow the person dealt \,ith unclfT tliis sectic'n to show cause ag,1inst an order of removal (Parag:arh 74). That !he rules should require !he auctioning of every pawnshop licence in the first instance, before calling for tenders (Paragraph 75). That the present high ra:es of interest charged be reduced (Paragraplt 76). That p:nvn-brokers should be prohibited from taking any fee for \\Tiling pawn-tickets (Paragraph 76). Th,t Pi1gocla Festivals, any pwes specially notified b} Government, ancl Po11gyibyam should not be l~elcl without licence, but that for ordinary village al1l11s it should be sufficient to give ten clays' previous notice at tl1e police-station (Paragraph 77). Tint the condition of carrying out certain sanitar~ an-hngements, etc., should be limited to big Pagoda Festivals and Pong:yibyans (Paragr.:iph 78). • That an Executive Order should provide that the period for blacklisting a village should ordinarily not exceed one year (Paragraph 79). That the penalty nf black-listing should only be imposed wherethe promoters of the Pwe have neglected or failed to carry out their duties (Paragraph 79).

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( 34 That the orders cont lined in Genenl Department letter No. 359E32, elated the 17th November 1932, to the address of all Co nmissioners, on the subject of control of pwes, shonlcl be repro:lucecl as an Executive Orcfor (Paragraph 80). Tint the power to declare any instiument to be an offensive weapon be lefl with the Deputy Commissioner (Paragraph 81). That section 28 of the Act be re-drafted to obviate difficulties of interpretation (Paragraph 83). That as a member of a village committee is included in the re-draft of section 23 corresponding inclusion should be effected in section 10 of the Act (Paragraph 84). . That the rules regarding village s:rnit,tion, constrndion of houses and care and prevention of infectious and contagious diseases among human beings and animals should be enforced (Paragraph 85). Th1t District Officers should form leper colonies (P.uagraph 86). That the Act should be assimilated to the Towns Act in respect of licensing of Billiard Saloons (Paragraph 87). That Civil and Police officers should be enjoined to encounge he1lthy pursuits in vill3.ges, and that the Deputy Commissioners should set aside an annual sum from their discretionary grants for prizes (Paragraph 89). i ! f I \-~ ./ ,~/ G.B.C.P.0.-No. 4, H.P.D., 23-4-41-1,500-I.