I move a new section. After Section 3 to insert a new section as follows:
" 4.—Sections 2 and 3 of this Act shall not apply to any board or body which exercises any function of government or discharges any public duties in relation to public administration as merely ancillary to the main objects for which such board or body was constituted either by Statute or Charter or partly by Statute and partly by Charter."
It is very difficult in a Bill like this which works so much on reference to know how a certain clause will really work out. Sub-section (2) of Section 2 deals with boards constituted for the purposes of Section 7 of the Adaptation of Enactments Act.
Under sub-section 2, " discharging any public duties " do not come in, but when you come to refer to the Adaptation of Enactments Act, sub-section (4) of Section 7 says:
" This Section applies to any statutory Board of Commissioners, or other statutory body or bodies exercising any function of government or discharging any public duties in relation to the public administration."
The whole point of this amendment is of definition. What is a definition of " exercising any function of government or discharges any public duties in relation to the public administration "? That is not defined either in the Bill or in the Adaptation of Enactments Act, and a contention might be raised under this. Take the Government business distributed amongst various banks—Government accounts, the collection of revenue by a bank, all kinds of different duties which are performed by banks for the Government, the keeping of Government accounts and the keeping of registers of Government securities. I am not imputing anything in this. I am pointing out what would apparently be a perfectly legal action if n amendment such as I propose were not added to the Bill. Look again at Section 7 of the Adaptation of Enactments Act and the powers that are given under it. Suppose it were held that some body whose main business had nothing to do with the Government but who were performing some governmental duty were thereby rendered liable to what can be done under Section 7 of the Adaptation of Enactments Act, which gives such powers as this:
" Wherever any statutory Board of Commissioners or other statutory body to which this Section applies was in existence on the 6th day of December, 1921, . . . the Executive Council may, by Order, establish a Board of Commissioners to exercise the functions which were on the 6th day of December, 1921, exercisable by such statutory commissioners or statutory body as aforesaid."
Therefore, if no protection is put in, there will always remain a doubt as to whether any of these bodies that may be told off to do Governmental duty might, by so doing, render themselves liable to have commissioners appointed to do the whole of their duties.