MUST HASNEAR KHATUN Vs. REVENUE OFFICER MIDNAPORE
HIGH COURT OF CALCUTTA
REVENUE OFFICER, MIDNAPORE
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P.K.Banerjee, J. -
(1.) In this Rule the petitioner challenges the orders passed under Section 44(2a) of the West Bengal Estates Acquisition Act, 1953 and the notice issued under Section 57 read with Section 44 (2a) of the W. B. Estates Acquisition Act, 1953. The petitioner's case is that the petitioner is the owner of 18.58 acres of agricultural lands in several mouzas within the Police Station Keshpur, District Midnapore. It is stated in the petition that apart from the said 18.58 acres of lands, she has no other lands. It is stated that total lands of the petitioner were within the ceiling limits and were retainable under Section 6(1) of the W. B. Estates Acquisition Act She did not file any B Form for retention of the said land and it is stated that she is not required to file any return in Form 'B' in view of Rule 4 (A) of the W. B. Estates Acquisition Rule. The properties described in Schedule A and other properties were bequeathed by the husband of the petitioner by Hibabul-Awaz which was executed and registered on 11th August, 1956. It is stated that the petitioner's name was recorded in the record of rights prepared under the West Bengal Estates Acquisition Act and the said record was finally published in May. 1956. It is further stated that the petitioner is in possession of the said lands and is paving rents to the State Government who were accepting the same and granted receipts. The petitioner, however, alleged that cases against the petitioner were initiated under Section 44(2a) and notices were issued for correction of the record-of-rights. The notice as issued is annexure D to the petition. As soon as the petitioner got the notice, she moved this Court and obtained a Rule on 1st July, 1969.
(2.) Mr. Basanta Kumar Panda appearing for the petitioner contended that Section 44(2a) of the W. B. Estates Acquisition Act is ultra vires. Article 14 of the Constitution and suo motu proceedings are without jurisdiction. Secondly, it is argued by Mr. Panda that the proceeding is barred by limitation. Thirdly, Mr. Panda further argued that the amendment by which the period of limitation is enlarged is ultra vires of the Constitution of India. Lastly, Mr. Panda contended that Section 44 (2a) is bad because of excessive delegation of powers.
(3.) Regarding the first point that Section 44(2a) is ultra vires of Article 14 of the Constitution of India, it must be said at the outset that it has not been stated anywhere in the petition how the peti-tioner was discriminated against the persons of the same class and, as such, it is not open to the petitioner to urge the same in absence of any particulars showing how the petitioner was discriminated against. Therefore, there was nothing in the point that Section 44(2a) is ultra vires of Article 14 of the Constitution of India. Next, Mr. Panda argued that the proceeding under Section 44(2a) is barred by limitation. Mr, Panda argued that Section 44(2a) was first incorporated into the Act by the West Bengal Estate Acquisition (Second Amendment) Ordinance of 1957 with effect frorn 4th November, 1957. But, by the said Ordinance, the power was given to the authorities to "revise" the finally published records of rights only at the instance of application by an aggrieved person. It has not given to the officer concerned power to revise entry suo motu. By amendment however the said provision of the Ordinance was enacted. But, in the Act itself, Section 44(2a) gives the power to the officer specially empowered oh application or on his own motion to revise an entry within the particular period of time mentioned in the Act. Affain, by further amendment the time to reopen entry was enlarged and the suo motu proceeding could be initiated within six years from the date of coming into force of the 1957 Ordinance. This period was still enlarged by amendment in 1966 and 1969 and at the present moment there can be "suo motu" revision of record of rights initiated within 15 years from the date of finally published record of rights or the date of coming into force of the West Bengal Estates Acquisition (Second Amendment) Ordinance of 1957, whichever is later,;
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