Decided on November 28,1951



Bose, J. - (1.)This is an application under Article 226 of the Constitution for an appropriate writ for cancellation of a Notification dated 13-3-1951 made under Section 6, West Bengal Land Development and Planning Act and another Notification under Rule 8 of the West Bengal Land Development and Planning Rupess. The petitioners are 36 in number and they are cultivators. By a notification dated 17-11-1949, published in the Calcutta Gazette of 24-11-1949 under Section 4, West Bengal Act 21 of 1948, it was declared that certain cadastral survey plots and certain municipal holdings were likely to be needed for a public purpose, viz., settlement of immigrants in the province of West Bengal. By the said Notification one Altra Sainabaya Pally Sanghathan O Grihanirman Samity was authorised to enter upon and survey the lands and do all other acts required or permitted by that Section. It is alleged in the petition that the petitioners on coming to know of the substance of the said Notification, engaged the services of a lawyer and through him made representations in December 1949, against the plots being acquired by the Government. It is further alleged in the petition that after that the petitioners were kept totally in the dark as to further development in the matter throughout the whole of 1950 and they are not aware of the preparation of any development scheme, nor were they given any opportunity to make objections or representations against any scheme as they are entitled to do under Rule 5, sub-rule 2 of the West Bengal Land Development and Planning Rules 1948. It is further alleged that they are not aware whether any local enquiry was held as contemplated by IB. 5 (2).
(2.)Thereafter another notice was given under Rule 8 of the West Bengal Land Development and Planning Rules stating that possession would be taken by the Government on 25-4-1951, of certain lands covered by the Notification No. 2980 L. Dev. dated 13-3-1951. It is stated that thereafter two of the petitioners, namely petitioners Nos. 1 and 6 made representations to the Hon'ble Minister-in-charge but nothing has been done either by the Hon'ble Minister or any other executive officer in relation to these representations. It is further stated in the petition that the procedure for acquisition as contemplated by West Bengal Act 21 of 1948 and the Rules made thereunder has not been complied with and, therefore, the entire proceedings, including the declaration made under Section 6 and the notice given under Rule 8 are bad and, therefore, the said Notification and the Notice must be cancelled by this court.
(3.)The Special Land Acquisition Collector, one Mr. S. N. Das Gupta, has affirmed the counter-affidavit in this case. In para. 5 of the counter-affidavit, it is stated that on receiving the representation of the parties referred to in para. 3 of the petition, an enquiry was made by the Land Acquisition Officer, Sri P. Gupta, on 20-1-1950, and another enquiry was made on a subsequent date by the deponent himself and it was recommended, that only 36.21 acres of waste land should be acquired and the rest of the lands covering an area of 56.195 acres should be released from such acquisition and so cancellation Notification No. 2982 L. Dev. dated 13-3-1951, was made to that effect. In para. 6 of the said affidavit with reference to the statements made in paras. 4, 5 and 6 of the petition, the deponent states that the petitions of objection were duly enquired into and certain lands were exempted from acquisition as stated in para 5 and there is a general denial of the contention of the petitioners as stated in paras. 4, 5 and 6 of the petition. It is further denied in para. 6 that the petitioners were kept in the dark or were not aware of any development of the project. At the hearing, Mr. Majumdar, appearing for the opposite parties, has placed before the court the development plan and has stated that the scheme as required by the Act and the Rules has been prepared and an enquiry was held and the petitioners made their representations at such enquiry.

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