Decided on May 21,1973

Manabendra Sarkar Appellant
State of Assam and Others Respondents


P.K. Goswami, C.J. - (1.) THIS application under Article 226 of the Constitution is directed against the notification dated 20th January, 1973, whereby the Government of Assam has appointed a Commission of Inquiry consisting of Shri Justice M. C. Pathak, Judge of the Gauhati High Court, to inquire into and report by 31st May, 1973 on certain incidents at Kharupetia in Mangaldoi subdivision and at Hojai in Nowgong district.
(2.) THE petitioner is the Secretary of the Hojai Citizens' Association, which is an unregistered association, and claims to be interested in the inquiry which has been ordered under the aforesaid notification. The petitioner has entered appearance before the Commission and filed a verified memorandum on behalf of the association. The memorandum is annexed as Annexure 'B' to the petition. The State Government as well as other parties also filed memoranda before the Commission, which has already framed certain issues and fixed 14th, 15th and 16th May, 1973 for evidence by the State. The petitioner obtained a Rule Nisi on 10th May, 1973 and the Commission was prohibited from proceeding with the work entrusted to it under the impugned notification, pending hearing of the Rule. At the outset, the learned Advocate -General raised a preliminary objection that the petitioner has no locus standi to make this application, nor any legal right of his has been affected. Since the petitioner as the Secretary of the Hojai Citizen's Association and as a representative of a substantial section of the people, has entered appearance before the Commission and his memorandum on behalf of the association has been accepted by the Commission, we are not prepared to accede to the submission to dismiss this application on the grounds urged by the learned Advocate -General. The preliminary objection of the learned Advocate -General is, therefore, overruled.
(3.) MR . Dutta, the learned counsel for the petitioner, made the following submissions: (1) that Section 3 (1) of the Commissions of Inquiry Act, briefly 'the Act', is discriminatory and should be struck down as violative of Art. 14 of the Constitution; (2) that there are no materials before the Government to form an honest opinion with regard to the necessity of appointing a Commission and as such the order of the Government is invalid in law; (3) that the items mentioned in the schedule to the notification from (a) to (g), and particularly (a), (b) and (c), are not matters of definite public importance and do not empower the Government under the law to appoint a Commission under Section 3 (1) of the Act; (4) that the notification does not indicate any purpose for which the Commission of Inquiry has been constituted and as such a purposeless Commission for a fishing inquiry is not within the scope of Section 3 (1) of the Act.;

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