New Delhi: The Supreme Court today wanted to
know whether the policy of allotment of plots under the Chief
Minister`s discretionary quota since 1977 in West Bengal was
examined by the Calcutta High Court on its merits or not.
"We want to know whether the policy of allotment of land
under Chief Minister`s discretionary quota has been examined
on its merits or not by the High Court," a Bench comprising
Chief Justice S H Kapadia and Swatanter Kumar said.
The apex court wanted an answer in this regard during the
hearing of a PIL alleging that plots in Salt Lake City had
been allotted by flouting rules since 1977 by Left Front
government in West Bengal.
The question to this effect was put as West Bengal
government and its leaders, who have been named as party in
the PIL, contended that identical writ petitions were
dismissed by the High Court in the past.
The Bench said no appeals have been filed before the apex
court against the dismissal of such petitions by the High
The Bench was hearing the PIL filed in 2006 by a Kolkata
resident and advocate Joydeep Mukherjee, who has named Chief
Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and his cabinet colleague
Urban Development Minister Asok Bhattacharya and Finance
Minister Asim Dasgupta as respondents.
Former Chief Minister of West Bengal Jyoti Basu was also
named along with his son Chandan Basu as respondents in the
The court deleted the name of Jyoti Basu as respondent
since he is dead.
During the hearing, senior advocates K K Venugopal and
Rajeev Dhavan, opposing the PIL, said the petitioner was
seeking to revive the petitions dismissed by the High Court.
However, Mukherjee`s counsel, said the High Court has not
gone into the merits of the policy on land allotment and
sought setting up of committee to examine it.
He claimed one of the judges of the High Court, since
retired, was also the beneficiary of the policy.
At one stage, the apex court Bench wanted to know from
the petitioner as to how it could entertain a PIL directly in
the apex court when the identitical relief has been declined
by the High Court.
"You should have come with the Special Leave Petition
(SLP)," the Bench said when the state government and others
pointed out that three writ petitions on the issue have been
dismissed by the High Court.
They also claimed that in one of them, even the apex
court has decided the matter on merits.
The Bench adjourned the hearing for two weeks asking the
counsel for the petitioner to come out with the specific
answer whether the policy was examined on merits or not.