JUDGEMENT

Sankar Prasad Mitra, C.J. - (1.)This Rule has been referred to a larger Bench by an order of Debi Prasad Pal, J., made on the 22nd August, 1973. The petitioner has challenged the vires of certain provisions of the West Bengal Land Reforms (Amendment) Act, 1972 (West Bengal Act XII of 1972). The petitioner's contention is that the Act has introduced provisions curtailing the ceiling of land which raiyats were allowed to retain under the West Bengal Estates Acquisition Act, 1953 and the West Bengal Land Reforms Act, 1955. The relevant provisions Of the Act are void and ultra vires Articles 31 (2), 14, 19 (1) (f) and 31-A of the Constitution. The validity of the Constitution (Twentyfourth Amendment) Act, 1971 and the Constitution (Twentyfifth Amendment) Act 1971 have also been challenged in the petition. These Acts, however, were considered by the Supreme Court in Keshavananda v. State of Kerala. The relevant provisions of both the Acts have been held to be valid. Various other constitutional points have also been raised.
(2.)The Learned Judge's attention was drawn to the fact that hundreds of rules were pending in this Court on identical points. And a decision on this application by a larger Bench would help the disposal of all these other rules. Pal, J. came to the conclusion that the questions raised were substantial questions of law as to the interpretation of the Constitution and should be decided by a Division Bench of such number of Judges as the Chief Justice might think fit. He has referred this matter under Rule 1 of Chapter 2 of the Rules of the Appellate Side. This Division Bench has been constituted pursuant to the said reference.
(3.)Along with this Rule we have heard several other Appeals being F. M. A. T. Nos 2550-60 of 1974 as well as C. R. 11725 (W) of 1975 which raise identical questions of law. Our decision on this application would, therefore, govern the said appeals and rule also.
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