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The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi - Volume III
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THE COLLECTED WORKS OF MAHATMA GANDHI
2
Government had submitted our case to Arbitration, the matter would
be seen through to the end by Her Majesty's Government.1
          We have, etc.
(Signed)  
TAYOB HAJI KHAN MAHOMED
  HAJI HABEEB HAJI DADA
  MOHAMED CASSIM CAMROODIN & CO.
  M. H. YOOSUB

    Enclosure in Confindential Despatch dated 9.3.1898 from the Honourable High Commissioner to the Republic of South Africa to Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for the Colonies, London.

    Colonial Office Records: C. O. 417, Vol. 243.

2. THE SOMNATH MAHARAJ CASE

    Under the Dealers' Licenses Act, 1897, Town Councils and Town Boards in Natal were authorized to appoint "Licensing Officers" for issuing licences to traders to and to hear appeals against their decisions and also against their own con-firmation of such decisions. The report of the proceedings of the Durban Town Council in the Somnath Maharaj Case, in which Gandhiji appeared in the latter appeal, is given below. This report was incorporated by him as an appendix to the petition of December 31, 1898 to Mr. Joseph Chamberlain, Secretary of State for the Colonies. The adverse decision of the Town Council was set aside by the Supreme Court of Natal in Somnath vs. Durban Corporation, on March 30, 1898 on the grounds of improper procedure. In a further appeal, on June 6 (reported in The Natal Advertiser, 7-6-1898), the Town Council upheld the Licensing Officer's reason for refusal of a licence to Somnath Maharaj—"as the class of trade he was engaged in was sufficiently provided for in the town and borough".

THE INITIAL HEARING

 

    Mr. C. A. de R. Labistour appeared for the applicant, and said his client had ample capital to start in a decent way of business in the premises, which had been most satisfactorily reported upon by the San-itary Inspector. The applicant was a capable businessman.

    Mr. Collins: Have we had the Licensing Officer's reasons?

    The Mayor: No.

    Mr.Taylor: I don't think the Licensing Officer need give reasons, unless requested to do so by a majority of the Council. All that we have to do is to decide whether or not we will confirm the Licensing Officer's decision. I move that we confirm it.

    Mr.Henwood seconded the motion.

    Mr. Coolins moved, as an amendment, that the Licensing Officer be requested to give his reasons.
    Mr. Ellis Brown seconded, remarking that it would be more satisfactory to have the reasons.

    1 In his interview, as well as letter, of May 18, 1897 (vide Vol. II, p. 315), Gandhiji represented that the British Government should bear the costs of the Test Case, but this request was turned down.

(continued)


 
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