CALCUTTA TRAMWAYS CO LTD Vs. CORPORATION OF CALCUTTA
HIGH COURT OF CALCUTTA
CALCUTTA TRAMWAYS CO. LTD.
CORPORATION OF CALCUTTA
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Mitter, J. -
(1.)This Rule is directed against a conviction and sentence under Section 437 (1) (b) read with Section 537 of the Calcutta Municipal Act, 1951. The main point involved is whether Section 437(1) (b) contravenes Article 19 (1) (g) of the Constitution.
(2.)The facts giving rise to the question are these. The petitioners, the Calcutta Tramways Co. Ltd. have for many years past used divers premises in the City of Calcutta for conversion of alternating current into direct current for providing electric traction to their system. It is common case that at none of these premises is any electricity generated. What is done is to receive electricity in bulk in alternating current from the Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation Ltd. and to transform it into direct current. These premises are known as sub-stations or electric converter or transformer houses and appear to be an essential part of the Company's system of working. There is no dispute that the relative machinery and the system under which it works at any of these substations have been in conformity with the provisions of the Indian Electricity Act The working of the Company's tramways is governed by the Calcutta Tramways (Electric Traction) Act (Bengal Act IV of 1900). It is also common case that the petitioners have had the usual trade license for the purpose of carrying on their business and that until 1952 no demand had been made upon them to take out any license in respect of any of these sub-stations. The opposite party's demands upon the petitioners to take out licenses and to pay fees therefor in respect of premises No. 180, Dhurrumtolla Street and 128/4A, Cornwallis Street, Calcutta, respectively for the years 1950-51, 1951-52 and 1952-53 were resisted by the petitioners. The prosecutions which followed ended in the petitioners' acquittal. Thereafter, the present prosecution was started in respect of premises N. 129/4A, Cornwallis Street for failure to take out a license and to pay a fee therefor in respect of the year 1953-54.
(3.)The case for the Corporation is that the purpose for which the premises are used is, in its opinion dangerous to life, health or property, or likely to create a nuisance and that, accordingly, the petitioners are obliged to take out a license as required under Section 437 of the Calcutta Municipal Act.
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