Decided on January 31,1961



- (1.) THIS is an application under Art. 226 of the Constitution for an appropriate Writ for quashing or cancellation of an order of requisition made under the provisions of the West Bengal Land Requisition and Acquisition Act, 1948.
(2.) THE petitioners are the owners of several Cadastral Survey plots of Mouza Kalna in Police station Mirpur in the district of Burdwan. The proceedings under the West Bengal Act appear to have been taken in connection with a scheme to construct a new Sub-Divisional hospital at Kalna in collaboration with the Kalna Municipality. It is alleged in the petition that three of the petitioners, namely petitioners 2, 7 and 11, received a notice of requisition purported to have been issued under section 3 of the West Bengal Land Requisition and Acquisition Act, 1948 on or about the 20th September, 1958. But such notice purports to have been issued by the Land Acquisition Collector, Burdwan although the order of requisition appears to have been made by the Collector of Burdwan and further that this notice does not bear any date or any signature of the authority issuing the notice excepting a facsimile signature of the Land Acquisition Collector, Burdwan. It is alleged that the other petitioners did not receive any notice at all.
(3.) THE petitioners have challenged the validity of the order of requisition on several grounds. The main ground put forward is that section 3 of the West Bengal Land Requisition and Acquisition Act, 1948, (W. B. Act II of 1948) is ultra vires inasmuch as it violates the fundamental rights of the petitioners under Art. 19 (1) (f) of the Constitution, namely, the right to acquire, hold and dispose of property, that the provisions of the West Bengal Act constitute an unreasonable restriction on such fundamental rights inasmuch as (i) 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 order made under the Act, (ii) the power of requisition conferred by the Act is an arbitrary power on the exercise of which there its no check or limitation imposed, (iii) the power of delegation conferred on the State Government by section 3 of the West Bengal Act is unfettered and such a delegation can be made in favour of 'any person', (iv) there is no provision for appeal against the order made under the Act, (v) 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 provision for drastic punishment for contravention of any order made under the Act (section 10 of the Act ). 3. It may be noted at the very outset that the life of this West Bengal Act II of 1948 which was originally passed on the 11th March, 1948, as a temporary Act was extended from time to time by various amending Acts and the last of such extension was made by West Bengal Act XII of 1957.;

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