INTERNATIONAL

Swraj Paul appointed Privy Councillor

Lord Swraj Paul   | Photo Credit: — FILE PHOTO: RAMESH SHARMA

Special Correspondent

“It is the highest honour that the Queen can confer ”

LONDON: Lord Swraj Paul, Labour peer and leading U.K. industrialist, has become the first India-born Briton to be appointed a Privy Councillor, a rare honour for any British citizen.

The appointment, which is for life, was approved by the Queen on Tuesday.

An investiture ceremony will be held at the Buckingham Palace soon.

“Delighted”

Lord Paul told The Hindu that he was “delighted.”

“It is a great honour. It is the highest honour that the Queen can confer on any citizen.”

Last year, Lord Paul, 78, became the first Asian to become the Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords.

The Privy Council, which advises the Queen on state matters, consists of judges, senior political figures, including all members of the Cabinet, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, the Speaker of the House of Commons, a number of Commonwealth leaders and British ambassadors.

A privy councillor is addressed as The Right Honourable, and may use the letters PC after his or her name.

The full Privy Council meets to sign the proclamation of a new sovereign, and when a sovereign announces his or her intention to marry. It also performs judicial functions.

The Lord President of the Council is responsible for presenting the business to the Queen, who, by convention, gives her approval. Most of the business is in the form of proclamations such as proroguing, dissolving or summoning Parliament, or declaring war; or orders-in-council.

These could be legislative such as statutory instruments implementing ministerial regulations; executive like the setting up a new government department; or judicial.

Corrections and Clarifications

A report "Swraj Paul appointed Privy Councillor" (June 24, 2009) said thatLord Swraj Paul, Labour peer and leading U.K. industrialist, has become thefirst India-born Briton to be appointed a Privy Councillor, a rare honourfor any British citizen. A reader points out that the late Rt.Hon. V.S.Srinivasa Sastri (1869-1946) was also a member of the Privy Council. TheBritish Government conferred on him the honour for his services to the causeof world peace, disarmament, and democracy. The Hindu, August 15, 1921edition, quoting an Associated Press of India report of August 13, 1921,says Mr. Srinivasa Sastri, Indian delegate to the Imperial Conference, wasmade a Privy Councillor.

The Special Correspondent clarifies: The report was based on a statementissued by Lord Paul's office which said he was "the first Indian-born Asianto be appointed to the Privy Council". Lord Paul's office said what theymeant was that he is the only living Indian-born Asian Privy Councillor.