KOLKATA (Reuters) – West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Wednesday referred a bill to the state government for reconsideration to exclude areas of the former Bally Municipality from the Howrah Municipal Corporation and observed that the authorities acted in “an arbitrary, unfair and unwise manner”.
The state cabinet had taken the decision to simultaneously form a new municipality covering the areas of the former municipality of Bally.
“I am compelled to observe that on the essentially jurisdictional aspect with regard to the consideration of objections of the state government under section 219 of the Act (Howrah Municipal Corporation Act, 1980), the authorities acted in an arbitrary, unfair and improper manner. way, ”the governor said in a four-page memo to Mamata Banerjee’s government.
No details of any consideration by the state government have emanated from the ordinance or otherwise, Dhankar said and requested several documents for consideration of the Howrah Municipal Corporation (Amendment) bill, 2021, relating to the procedures for hearing and adjudicating objections.
Believing that objections should be considered by the state government, he asked on what premise or authority the objections should be considered by the Howrah Sadar SDO or the Howrah District Magistrate.
The Governor has requested a full account of the state government’s consideration of objections and procedures and all details of the objections and their elimination in relation to the Howrah Municipal Corporation (Second Amendment) Act, 2015. .
He also called for Assembly deliberations on the bill that ultimately led to the Howrah Municipal Corporation (Second Amendment) Act 2015.
Noting that the file made available indicates that 18 objections were received against the bill, Dhankhar said the Howrah Sadar SDO, by a notice dated July 19, had indicated to opponents that they could appear before him for a hearing on July 30.
Dhankhar wrote that all of these notices carry the statement “Whereas you have submitted a proposal to the Commissioner, Howrah Municipal Corporation, for the exclusion of the area of the former municipality of Bally from the jurisdiction of Howrah Municipal Corporation. “
He wrote that this assertion is not in line with the privileged objections because the proposal of the opponents to the commissioner was not “for the exclusion of the area of the former municipality of Bally from the jurisdiction of the Howrah Municipal Corporation. », But the objections were contrary.
“Such a factually inaccurate representation in the opinion of 19.7.2021, in addition to being inappropriate, is likely to have a negative impact on the procedure,” wrote the governor.
He noted that the SDO, in its communication to the district magistrate, proposed to eliminate the objections on the grounds that the petitioners had submitted the petition beyond 30 days after publication and that there was no specific objection to a particular mouza, etc. rather against general notification as a whole for better development work under Howrah Municipal Corporation versus Bally Municipality.
“The justification and the premises indicated in the communication of 4.8. 2021 are unacceptable because there is no final decision on the objections,” said the governor.
The district magistrate rejected the suggestion / objections, Dhankhar wrote, deeming it a “appalling aspect” that whoever did not grant a hearing to opponents refused the suggestion / objections on the basis of SDO communication.
He said the premise is also in defiance of the legislative mandate of section 219 (2) of the Howrah Municipal Corporation Act 1980.
This stipulation allows “Any local authority or any inhabitant or taxpayer of such an area, affected by such an intention of the State government declared by such a notification, may, if it opposes such intention, submit its objections in writing to the state government within such period as may be specified in such notification; and the state government will take these objections into consideration. “
Dhankhar said that, according to legal provisions, “there should have been a legal, fair and objective review of objections by the state government.”
The examination of the objections leaves everything to be desired from a legal point of view.
“Such arbitrary and unfair determination of objections cannot be legally sanctified,” Dhankhar said.
He said it is of considerable importance that this determination of objections be “jurisdictional” to any way forward in taking steps to amend the Act.