HC strikes down section of WB Land Reform Act

Last Updated: Thursday, July 14, 2011 - 21:36

Kolkata: The Calcutta High Court on Thursday
struck down a section of the West Bengal Land Reforms and
Tenancy Tribunal Act to do away with an anomaly in the
constitution of members of the tribunal and suggested new
norms on its formation.
A special bench comprising justices Bhaskar
Bhattacharya, Tapan Dutta and Prasenjit Mondal declared
section four of the Act ultra vires which constituted the
selection of the executive member of the tribunal.

The tribunal consists of two members, of which one is
judicial and the other executive, which is appointed by the
state government.

According to the Act, in case of difference of
opinion, a case was referred to a larger bench which would
have another executive member apart from the two members, each
from judicial cadre and the other from executive.

This meant that the number of executive members would
be higher than that of the judiciary in the tribunal, which
cannot happen as the cases heard by it were mainly against the
government, petitioners Popat and Kotecha Properties submitted
before the court.
The bench, while striking down such constitution of
members of the tribunal, suggested new provisions of the
appointment process.

It suggested that in future, selection of an executive
member is to be done by the representative of the Chief
Justice of the Calcutta High Court and a government
representative.

In case of difference of opinion in this, the chief
justice could have casting vote power, the special bench
observed.

It also suggested that the executive member, who was
till now of joint secretary rank, would from now on be of
secretary or additional secretary rank.

These are all retired officers of the government who
are appointed as members.

Till a new legislation is made to do away with the
anomalies, the tribunal at its present form would not
function, the court directed.

The tribunal essentially dealt with West Bengal Estate
Acquisition Act, 1953, West Bengal Thika Tenancy Act and West
Bengal Land Reforms Act, etc.

It, however, did not deal with the West Bengal
Premises Tenancy Act and any provision of it would not be
affected by this order.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, July 14, 2011 - 21:36

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