Decided on March 10,1983



- (1.) The petitioner along with his brother, respondent No.5, initially inherited jointly from his father lands in C.S. Plot Nos. 327 and 348 (hereinafter referred to as the said lands) amongst others which are commonly known as Choto Bagir Bheri in Mouza Madurduha within Police Station Tollygunge, now Jadavpur, in the District of 24-Parganas. The Bheri as mentioned hereinbefore would hereinafter be referred to as the said Bheri. It has been stated that since about 1950, by a mutual family agreement with his brother, respondent No.5 the petitioner has been in exclusive use and possession of the said Bheri, by rearing and producing fish for business, on the basis of valid license duly issued by the authorities of the State of West Bengal under the provisions of West Bengal Fish Dealers' Licensing Order, 1963 (hereinafter referred to as the said Order). On or about 13th November, 1966, the petitioner was served with a notification under section 4(1) of the West Bengal Fisheries (Requisition and Acquisition) Act, 1965 (hereinafter referred to as the said Act) and thereby amongst other lands, he was directed to handover and deliver the possession of the said Fishery to the K.G.O., Shri M. Ghosal. The date and time fixed for such delivery of possession was on 13th November, 1966 at 8 A.M. The requisition order under the said Act has been disclosed as Annexure "A" to the petition and the same was issued by the Collector, 24-Parganas (Land Acquisition) in Case No.L.A. XX/45 of 1966-67. On a reference to the said notification, it would appear that the Collector concerned, was stated to have formed his opinion that the Fishery in question, with or without the adjoining lands, measuring more or less 369.78 acres, was needed or would likely to be needed "for a public purpose viz. the improvement or development of the Fishery / supplying ??.. object declared to be ancillary". It has further been stated that by Notification No.3852 L.R. dated 2nd March, 1966, the Governor was pleased to authorize the said Collector to exercise powers under section 4(1) of the said Act. The said notification further disclosed that in exercise of powers conferred under section 4(1) of the said Act read with the authority as mentioned hereinbefore, the Collector concerned requisition the Fishery with or without the adjoining land as mentioned in the Schedule and directed delivery of possession in the manner as indicated hereinbefore.
(2.) Such notification has been claimed by the petitioner to be not only illegal, void and ultra vires the Constitution, but it has also been stated that the concerned order was impossible to be complied with on the face of the same, as no land could physically be carried to any office nor the abbreviation of the K.G.O. concerned could be deciphered. Such point was taken as in the notification it was mentioned that the petitioner should deliver possession of the Fishery with or without the adjoining lands to the office of the K.G.O., Shri M. Ghosal. It was the case of the petitioner that on the appointed date, the Additional District Magistrate concerned, respondent No.3 accompanied by other police personnel and authorities, who were also appropriately armed, came on the said Bheri and announced that possession of the same would be taken on the basis of the notice as mentioned hereinbefore. The petitioner has stated that he could do nothing, but only protested and he handed over a written application as in Annexure "B" to the petition to the said Respondent No.3. The said application contained his protest against the high handed action or acts on the part of the authorities concerned and also contained a request to consider the objection as preferred. It was also requested, that pending hearing and disposal of such objection, the taking over of possession of the said Bheri should be stayed. That apart, the petitioner has stated that on the date as mentioned above, he had fish worth about Rs.40,000/- apart from other properties in the said Bheri. He has stated that in spite of such objection, the said respondent No.3 pretended to take symbolic possession of the said Bheri without making any inventory of the goods or of the accounts and the fish which were available in the said Bheri. It has further been stated that thereafter on or about 16th November, 1966, a further party belonging to the respondents and who were many in number, purportedly acting under order of the Fishing Corporation of West Bengal, Respondent No.4, arrived at the said Bheri for the purpose of catching and lifting fish, but in view of the protest as lodged, they left the place without any lifting or catching fish. The respondent No.4 as mentioned hereinbefore, is a Company incorporated under the Indian Companies Act, having its registered office at 43, Shakespeare Sarani, Calcutta-16, with the object inter alia to promote development and scientifically exploit the Fisheries and other aquatic products in West Bengal and other places and to acquire by purchase, lease, acquisition or by application of fresh enactments, rights and privileges over the banks, rivers, lakes and reservoirs etc. and to carry on the business of development of Fishery and sale of fish and other by-products.
(3.) Although, the respondent No.4 had entered appearance in this proceeding, yet at the time of hearing they did not appear. But, their case appeared from an application, which appeared from the pleadings as filed by them and was that, the entire South Salt Lake area was a derelict basin of the defunct river Bidyadhari and the same was a swamp covered about 9.500 acres and infested with dense grove of vegetation like Hogla, water reeds etc. with stray water patches here and there. They have also stated that there was no developed Fishery due to utter negligence of the owners and possessors. The areas, in question, were lying practically follow in spite of their potentialities for development as highly producted sewage fed Fisheries. It has been stated by them that by such development, the acute fish scarcities of Calcutta and its surrounding areas could be avoided. It was their case that having such aims, and views, the Government had decided, to develop the derelict South Salt Lake area through a master plan, with the help of an autonomous organization viz. the said respondent No.4 which was commissioned in March, 1966. The respondent No.4 has also stated that the possession of the said lands of the concerned Bheri were taken by Shri N. Mondal, land acquisition kanungo on 13th November, 1966 and thereafter, the same was delivered to them. They have also stated that on such happening, they have spent huge sums of money.;

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