WB Guv returns bill on Bally municipality

PTI | Kolkata | Updated: 24-11-2021 21:47 IST | Created: 24-11-2021 21:47 IST
WB Guv returns bill on Bally municipality
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West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Wednesday returned to the state government for reconsideration a bill for excluding areas of erstwhile Bally municipality from Howrah Municipal Corporation and observed that the authorities have acted in an ''arbitrary, unfair and non-judicious manner''.

The state cabinet had taken a decision to simultaneously constitute a new municipality covering areas of erstwhile Bally Municipality.

''I am constrained to observe that on quintessentially jurisdictional aspect in respect of consideration of the objections by the State Government under section 219 of the (Howrah Municipal Corporation Act, 1980) Act, the authorities have acted in an arbitrary, unfair and non-judicious manner,'' the governor said in a four-page note to the Mamata Banerjee government. No details of any consideration by the state government had emanated either from the order or otherwise, Dhankar said and sought several documents for consideration of The Howrah Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2021, relating to proceedings of hearing and adjudication of objections.

Holding that objections are to be considered by the state government, he asked on what premise or authority objections came to be considered by the Howrah Sadar SDO or the district magistrate of Howrah.

The governor asked for full record of consideration of the objections by the state government and proceedings and full details of objections and their disposal in relation to The Howrah Municipal Corporation (Second Amendment) Act, 2015. He also sought the Assembly proceedings with respect to the Bill that finally led to The Howrah Municipal Corporation (Second Amendment) Act, 2015.

Noting that the record made available indicates that 18 objections were received to the proposed bill, Dhankhar said that the Howrah Sadar SDO by a notice dated July 19 had indicated to the objectors that they may appear before him for a hearing on July 30.

Dhankhar wrote that all these notices carry the assertion “Whereas you have placed a proposal to the Commissioner, Howrah Municipal Corporation, for exclusion of area of erstwhile Bally Municipality from the jurisdiction of Howrah Municipal Corporation.'' He wrote that this assertion is not in sync with the objections preferred as the proposal by the objectors to the commissioner was not “for exclusion of area of erstwhile Bally Municipality from the jurisdiction of Howrah Municipal Corporation” but the objections were to the contrary. ''Such factually inaccurate representation in the notice dated 19.7.2021, apart from being inappropriate, is bound to adversely impact the proceedings,'' the governor wrote.

He noted that the SDO in his communication to the district magistrate proposed disposal of the objections on the ground that the petitioners submitted the petition beyond 30 days of publication and there is no specific objection regarding any particular mouza, etc rather against the general notification as a whole for better development work under Howrah Municipal Corporation compared to Bally Municipality. ''The rationale and premise indicated in the communication dated 4.8.2021 are unacceptable as there is no final adjudication of the objections,'' the governor said.

The district magistrate rejected the suggestion/objections, Dhankhar wrote holding that it is an ''appalling aspect'' that one who did not accord hearing to the objectors declined the suggestion/objections on the basis of the communication from the SDO. He said that the premise is also in disregard of the legislative mandate in section 219(2) of the Howrah Municipal Corporation Act 1980. This stipulation allows “Any local authority or any inhabitants or rate-payers of such area, affected by such intention of the State Government declared by such notification, may, if they object to such intention, submit their objections in writing to the State Government within such period as may be specified in such notification; and the State Government shall take such objections into consideration.” Dhankhar said that as per legal provisions ''there ought to have been lawful, fair and objective consideration of the objections by the State Government''.

The consideration of objections leaves all to be desired from the legal perspective. ''Such arbitrary and unjust determination of objections cannot be legally sanctified,'' Dhankhar said.

He said that it is of considerable significance that this determination of objections is ''jurisdictionally quintessential'' for any way forward towards taking steps to amend the Act.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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