SUPERINTENDENT AND REMEMBRANCER OF LEGAL AFFAIRS WEST BENGAL Vs. CORPORATION OF CALCUTTA
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: CALCUTTA)
SUPERINTENDENT AND REMEMBRANCER OF LEGAL AFFAIRS,WEST BENGAL
CORPORATION OF CALCUTTA
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Subba Rao, C. J. -
(1.) This Full Bench of 9 Judges has been constituted to consider the correctness of the decision of this Court in Director of Rationing and Distribution vs. Corporation of Calcutta, (1961) 1 SCR 158.
(2.) The relevant facts are simple and are not in dispute. The State of West Bengal was carrying on the trade of a daily market at 1, Orphanganj Road, Calcutta, without obtaining a licence as required under S. 218 of the Calcutta Municipal Act, 1951 (West Bengal Act 33 of 1951) (hereinafter called the Act. The Corporation of Calcutta filed a complaint against the State of West Bengal in the Court of the Presidency and Municipal Magistrate, Calcutta under S. 541 of the Act for contravening the provisions of S. 218 thereof. Under S. 218 of the Act, every person who exercises or carries on in Calcutta any trade, shall take out a licence and shall pay for the same such fee as is mentioned in that behalf in Schedule IV to the Act. Admittedly for the year 1960-61, the Government of West Bengal did not take out a licence under the said section but carried on the said trade. The main contention of the Government was that the State was not bound by the provisions of the Act. The learned Magistrate accepting the said contention, acquitted the State. On appeal, the High Court of Calcutta held that the State was carrying on the business of running a market and therefore, it was as much bound as a private citizen to take out a licence. It distinguished the decision of this Court in (1961) 1 SCR 158 (supra) on the ground that the said decision was concerned with the sovereign activity of the State. In the result the State of West Bengal was convicted under S. 537 of the Act-S.537 appears to be it mistake for S. 541-and sentenced to pay a fine of Rs. 250, with the direction that when realised, it should be paid to the Corporation. Hence the present appeal.
(3.) Learned Advocate-General of West Bengal raised before us the following points:(1) The State is not bound by the provisions of a statute unless it is expressly named or brought in by necessary implication; (2) the said principle equally applies to sovereign and non-sovereign activities of a State, and Mr. N. S. Bindra, learned counsel appearing for the Attorney-General raised before us the third point, namely, this Court has no power under the Constitution to review its earlier judgment.;
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