STATE OF WEST BENGAL Vs. BHAGIRATHI SILPASRAM LTD.
HIGH COURT OF CALCUTTA
STATE OF WEST BENGAL
Bhagirathi Silpasram Ltd.
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S.K. Chakraborty, J. -
(1.)This Rule was issued at the instance of the State of West Bengal. It appears that the opposite party, a registered institution in the district of Nadia, was in possession of lands both in the districts of Nadia and Burdwan and submitted statements in the B Form, as required by Sub -section (5) of Sec. 6 of the West Bengal Estates Acquisition Act, 1953. Its contention was that it was entitled to retain the lands in both the districts under Clause (i) of Sub -section (1) of Sec. 6 of the Act. A Revenue Officer, however, issued notice on the opposite party for the purpose of Sec. 6(1)(i) and (2) read with Sec. 42, proviso to Sec. 17(1) and (3) of the Act and on detailed enquiries, he came to the conclusion that, so far as the lands in the district of Nadia are concerned, the provisions of Sec. 6(1)(i) and (2) will apply, but so far as the Burdwan lands are concerned, Sec. 6(1)(i) and (2) will not apply. Against that order the opposite party preferred an appeal to the Tribunal and the learned Tribunal held that, so far as the Burdwan properties are concerned, the Revenue Officer at Nadia had no jurisdiction and as such, his findings with regard to the Burdwan properties cannot stand. He directed the order passed by the Revenue Officer, insofar as it relates to the lands of the opposite party in the district of Burdwan be set aside. Against this order the State of West Bengal has filed this application under Article 227 of the Constitution.
(2.)The first point that has been pressed by Mr. Sengupta is to the effect that the appeal to the Tribunal was not competent inasmuch as the decision of the Revenue Officer was not under Sec. 44(2)(a). It appears that the Revenue Officer has actually directed the correction of the entries in the khatians and it must, therefore, have been done by him under Sub -section (2)(a) of Sec. 44 because there is no other provision for doing that. It is no doubt a fact that in the petition he did not mention that he was doing it under Sec. 44(2)(a), but the fact remains as stated above. Therefore, this contention goes.
(3.)Mr. Sengupta has next contended that the learned Tribunal erred in holding that the Revenue Officer of Nadia had no jurisdiction to direct his enquiry regarding the lands in Burdwan district. Under Sub -section (5) of Sec. 6 the intermediary is bound to exercise his choice for retention of his land under Sub -section (1) and that would include the land held by an intermediary under Clause (i) of Sub -section (1) of Sec. 6. The matter is all the more clarified by Rule 4A of the West Bengal Estates Acquisition Rules, 1954. Under it, every intermediary entitled to retain possession of lands under Sub -section (1) of Sec. 6 shall, if he chooses to retain any such land, make his choice by furnishing to the Settlement Officer or to the Revenue Officer authorised by the Settlement Officer in this behalf before expiry of April 30, 1958, a statement in writing in Form B appended to Schedule B. Form B of Schedule B would show quite clearly that this statement is to be prepared in two parts. In the first part, detailed description of lands in the whole of West Bengal which will be retained by the intermediary are to be shown in one consolidated statement and in the second part, the lands retained in each mouza are to be shown in separate statement for each mouza also in this form. It is quite clear, therefore, that both under the Act as also the Rules, a composite statement covering all the lands chosen to be retained is to be filed. In this particular case, the registered office of the opposite party is in Nadia district arid, therefore, if the Revenue Officer of Nadia district wanted to question the statement, he could also do with regard to the lands in Burdwan as well. It is not conceivable that the statement will remain in one district and the enquiry will be split up into two districts with the statement remaining only at one particular place. There will also be the risk of contradictory orders if the matter is dealt with by two separate officers in two separate districts. In my view, therefore, it is quite legal for the Revenue Officer of the district where the statement has been furnished, it seems to be in the district of Nadia in this case, to enquire into the statement even if it extends to another district. Therefore, the learned Tribunal's decision in this respect is not correct and must be set aside.
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