Decided on July 08,1970



Anil Kumar Sen, J. - (1.) This Rule, issued on an application under Article 226(1) of the Constitution, raises an interesting point as to the extent of application of the provisions of the West Bengal Estates Acquisition Act, 1953 (hereinafter referred to as the said Act) to leases under tea grants made by the Government prior to the said Act.
(2.) On December 9, 1937 the Governor of Bengal granted 1268.95 acres of land in Touzi No. 410. Pargana - Chengmari, Police Station - Mal, Sub-registry - Moynaguri, District _ Jalpaiguri, commonly known as Malhati Tea Estate or tea lease under Chapter 5 of the Bengal Waste Lands Manual 1936 in favour of Malhati Tea Syndicate Limited for a period of 30 years with effect from April 1, 1932 on yearly rent of Rs.2,760.12 as. Some other jote lands were also settled with the said lessee as a part of the said tea estate. It is not in dispute that altogether an area of 1383.43 acres were being held by the lessee constituting the tea estate under the Government when the said Act came into effect. The term of 30 years having expired, the petitioner to this Court, who came to own the said tea estate by subsequent transfer, obtained a few summary leases of renewal from year to year. The last of such renewal was made in the month of March 1965 for the year 1965-66. It is not in dispute that both under the original lease as also under the summary lease of renewal the petitioner lessee is entitled to further renewals. Clause 15(1) of the last summary lease of renewal provides as hereunder: - "The lessee shall be entitled to the renewal of this lease for a further period of one year or such period as the State Government may think fit subject to the reservation that the decision of the State Government under Section 6(3) of the Estate Acquisition Act would be binding on the lessee, and to renewals for similar periods in perpetuity subject to the Rules and the terms and conditions of this lease and to such clauses as the State Government may from time to time find it necessary and on the renewal of a lease and subject further to such rent as may then be fixed provided that such additional clauses shall not be inconsistent with the law or the express conditions of the grant and shall not have retrospective effect."
(3.) Admittedly the petitioner was allowed by the State Government to retain the entire area of 1383.43 comprising the tea estate under Section 6(3) of the said Act. The order to that effect, dated October 10, 1963 is made annexure D to the petition.;

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