Sir Maurice Gwyer's opinion on the papers submitted to him relating to the dispute between Thakore Sahib of Rajkot and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, was published in the daily press on Tuesday. Some press comments refer to it as the award of the Federal Court.It is nothing of the kind Sir Maurice Gwyer is the Chief Justice of that Court and has the prestige of that great position. But in this case, to use his own words, "doubts having arisen as to the meaning which should be attached to these documents, my advice was requested (by the Crown Representative) as to the way in which they should be interpreted." The opinion expressed in the statement, therefore, has the character of advice only. There were two points on which Sir Maurice's advice was immediately sought. The first was, did the Rajkot ruler give a blank cheque to the Sardar to recommend any seven persons (being subjects or servants of the State) and undertake to nominate all of them to the contemplated Reforms Committee, whatever his own opinion and that of his councillors may be of the merits and capacity of the persons recommended? The second was whether the Chairman of the Committee was to be nominated by the Thakore was included in the ten members mentioned in the Notification or might he be the eleventh of the Committee? On both these points Sir Maurice has advised the Crown Representative that the contentions of the Thakore are, in his opinion untenable and that those of the Sardar commended themselves to his legal judgment. Sir Maurice says that there is no single principle which regulates cases where one person recommends and another appoints. One of the analogues which he has cited, namely, appointments to Universities in India, is rather a slippery one. Owing to the restricted character of the reference, precluding his taking into consideration any but the Strictly legal connotation of terms, Sir Maurice Gwyer could not consider whether any ruler, with a due sense of his responsibility, would give a blank cheque of this character to a political leader whose friends and followers at the time of the negotiations were, many of them, in his prisons or before his courts, and from whom some, perhaps all, of the seven men to be recommended might be drawn; and whether, after giving such a blank cheque he would follow it up next morning with a letter expressing his gratitude to him who has taken the blank cheque. As for the number of Committee members, it is generally found convenient to have an odd number in order to avoid the possibility of a tie. If the Chairman was to be one of ten, he will have either to have his right to vote restricted, or be given a casting vote, in case of a tie; the notification did not do either.

Source : Indian Social Reformer - April 8, 1939