Current AffairsIndia

Calcutta High Court cautions District Magistrate against arbitrariness, unfairness at political executive’s behest


The Calcutta High Court ‘reminded’ a District Magistrate that his official duty lay in the service of the citizens exhorting him to steer clear of politically motivated arbitrariness and unreasonableness (Biswanath Chowdhury v. The Chairman, National Council for Teachers Education & Ors.).

Noting that the District Magistrate concerned tendered an unqualified apology in Court, the Division Bench wished him well and dropped the contempt of court proceedings initiated against him.

The Court had instituted contempt proceedings against the official for his failure to conduct a fact-finding visit and submit a report in terms of a previous court order.

“Since Mr. Kadyan has a long career, the court wishes him well but reminds him that his obligation every step of the way in his official capacity is to the citizen and to steer clear of the road of unfairness, unreasonableness, and arbitrariness, particularly, at the behest of the political executive,” the order said.

The Division Bench of Justices Sanjib Banerjee and Hiranmay Bhattarcharyya was hearing a petition moved by one Biswanath Chowdhury who alleged that a law college was established in another educational institute in contravention with Bar Council of India norms.

He challenged the affiliation granted to the college by the Cooch-Behar University and the no-objection certificate granted by the State to the acquisition of land for the project.

While the petitioner alleged that an educational institute conferring B.Ed. degrees was functioning in the same premises where the law college was supposed to function, some intervention applicants submitted during the previous hearing that their children attended a school in the building.

They stated that “to their surprise” the board of a law college was set up outside the school.

To ascertain how the premises were actually being utilised, the Court ordered the District Magistrate to visit the premises and conduct an investigation. The petitioner would have to be given prior notice before one such visit so that he could be present during the investigation, the Court had ordered.

After the District Magistrate failed to investigate and file a report in terms of the Court’s order, the Court instituted suo motu contempt proceedings against the District Magistrate.

During the hearing on Monday, the District Magistrate tendered an unconditional apology as well as a report prepared in terms of the Court’s order.

The official also tabled some photographs before the Bench.

Recording its satisfaction with the report, the Court directed the petitioner to obtain copies of the report and the photographs from the government advocate.

The Court then proceeded to post the matter for hearing on December 21.

Advocates Debasish Kundu, Srijib Chakraborty, Amitayu Kundu and Suryaneel Das represent the petitioner. The State was represented by Government Advocate Tapan Kumar Mukherjee during the hearing yesterday.

Via Bar & Bench
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