under control to prevent drunkenness. The plan is one which might be tried as
regards ganja in cases where its use has any tendency to a similar result. In
the Punjab and in Quetta-Pishin the licenses for retail vend have a provision
binding the vendor not to sell the drugs to children or insane persons. The
sale to children has been noticed by a few witnesses in other provinces, and the
Commission recommend the adoption of a similar provision in all such licenses

Local option: Law regarding—

685. The provision made in the law or rules of the Excise Department for con-
sulting local public opinion in regard to the opening of
shops is very limited. The Bengal Act contains a
provision for assigning to any municipality with its consent the functions of the
Local Government relating to the grant of licenses, and after such assignment no
conditions or rules may be imposed by the Local Government without the consent
of the Municipality. It is not clear whether any municipality in Bengal has been
invested with these powers. But in every case of licensing shops in a municipality
the Collector is ordered by rule to notify to the Municipal Commissioners the
sites selected for shops within municipal limits; and should they object to any of
them, he is instructed carefully to consider their objections, and, if he does not
agree with them, refer the matter to the Commissioner of Excise for decision,
pending which he must not allow any shop to be opened on a site objected to.
In no other province is there any special provision of the law for ascertaining the
wishes of the people in regard to the opening of shops for the sale of hemp drugs.

Evidence of revenue authorities
regarding local option.

686. The subject of local option was put to the witnesses, who were asked
whether the wishes of the people are consulted or
considered in any way before a shop is opened in
any locality, what measures are taken for this purpose, and whether local public
opinion ought to be thus considered. The number of witnesses who have replied
in the affirmative to the latter question is considerable—228 in all, of whom 31
are superior civil officers, 79 subordinate civil officers, and 104 non-officials. But
very few of these witnesses express any opinion as to the method by which local
opinion should be consulted. The existing practice is not to consult local opinion
definitely. The opinions of local subordinate officers are received, but seldom
those of the residents of the locality, though any objections which may be made
are considered. With this procedure the highest authorities generally are satis-
fied. In Bengal, Mr. Lyall says: "No attempt at a plebiscite or anything of that
kind is made. The number of shops has been greatly reduced of late years, as
statistics will show. Further reduction would cause great discomfort to con-
sumers, and I think they have a right to be considered. I am not prepared to
say whether an appeal to public opinion would result in the closing of many more
shops." Mr. Westmacott says: "I think it is rubbish consulting local public
opinion. It generally means consulting a number of babus who are out of all sym-
pathy with other classes, and utterly ignorant and careless of their requirements.
By babus I mean those known in Bengal as the bhadralok, comprising pleaders and
schoolmasters in great part. My remarks do not apply to zamindars, who would
not come forward and give an opinion in the matter of local option, but I should
undoubtedly go to them if anxious to find out what the local public opinion was.
There would be no difficulty in getting public opinion in the villages, for it would
be ascertained from the pradhans or principal raiyats; but in towns the division