SITABATI DEVI Vs. STATE OF WEST BENGAL
HIGH COURT OF CALCUTTA
STATE OF WEST BENGAL
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(1.) THIS application under Article 226 of the Constitution is made toy one Sitabati Devi who is the owner and by one Hazari Prosad Singh who is the tenant in respect of certain cadastral survey plots in Mouza Makhla in Police Station Uttarpara in the district of Hooghly. The petitioner no. 2 who is the tenant under the petitioner No. 1 has a brick manufacturing business and one kiln for the firing of moulded bricks on some of these plots. On the 2nd of July 1951, an order of requisition issued under sub-section (1) of Section 3 of the West Bengal Land (Requisition and Acquisition) Act, 1948, was served on the petitioner No. 2 and it was stated in the said order that possession of certain lands mentioned in the schedule to that order including the plots in the occupation of the petitioner No. 2 would be taken on the 22nd of August, 1957. The petitioners challenge the validity of this requisition order on various grounds. It may be noted at the very outset that the life of this West Bengal Land (Requisition and, Acquisition) Act, 1948, has been extended from time to time by various amending Acts and the last of such extension was made by West Bengal Act XII of 1957.
(2.) THE learned Advocate for the petitioners has placed in the forefront the submission that the West Bengal Land (Requisition and Acquisition) Act, 1948, is ultra vires inasmuch as it violates the fundamental rights of the petitioners under Article 19 (1) (f) of the Constitution, namely, the right to acquire, hold and dispose of property and that the provisions of the West Bengal Act constitute an unreasonable restriction on such fundamental right inasmuch as (1) no opportunity is afforded by any provision in the Act to the person whose property is sought to be requisitioned or acquired, to make representations against the orders made under the Act, (2) the power of requisition conferred by the Act is an arbitrary power on the exercise of which there is no check or limitation imposed, (3) the power of delegation conferred on the State Government by Section 3 of the Act is unfettered and such delegation can be made in favour of 'any person', (4) there is no provision for appeal against the orders made under the Act and (5) the right to have recourse to a court of law against any order or decision made in exercise of any power conferred by or under the Act is expressly barred (Sections 11 and 12 of the Act) but at the same time there is prevision for drastic punishment for contravention of any order made under the Act. (Section 10 of the Act ). The learned Advocate for the petitioners has also urged grounds Nos. 5" 6, 7, 9, 10 and 11 as set out in the petition for challenging the validity of the Act and the requisition order.
(3.) IT may be pointed out at the very outset that these other grounds challenging the validity of the requisition order as put forward by the learned Advocate for the petitioners do not need to be considered if the first submission of the learned Advocate is sound. Logically therefore the first submission may be considered first.;
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