IN THE HIGH COURT AT CALCUTTA Special Civil Jurisdiction (Contempt) Original Side CC No.130 of 2014 Connected with W.P.No.763 of 2014 Shyamlal Mondal & ORS.versus The State of West Bengal & ORS.For the petitioners:- For the Respondent No.1 and 2:- Mr.Sankashan Sarkar Ms.Saswati Chatterjee ……Advocates Mr.Ayan Kr.
Boral Mr.Avijit Ghosh ….Advocates For the KMC: Mr.Barin Banerjee Mr.Debangshu Mondal ….Advocates For the Private Respondent: Mr.D.D.Basu ….Advocate Judgement On: - 6th October, 2016 I.P.MUKERJI, J.
This is a contempt application.
It alleges violation of the order dated 2nd September, 2014 passed by this court in a writ application.
It was an interim order.
It restrained the private respondents who were the owners and developers from evicting the petitioneRs.who claimed to be occupants of 5, Avoy Ghosh Lane, Kolkata-4, from the premises.
The cause of grievance of the writ petitioners was that while building and developing the property, the private respondents would evict them.
The private respondents had submitted a plan with the Kolkata Municipal Corporation for sanction declaring that they would not evict any tenant and that in case eviction was necessary the tenants would be adequately compensated.
The plan had been sanctioned by the Corporation.
Yet the private respondents were threatening to evict the petitioneRs.The undertaking given by them to the Corporation could in no way, according to the writ petitioners deter them from evicting the writ petitioneRs.In those circumstances, the said interim order was prayed for and passed.
After exchange of affidavits the writ application was finally disposed of on 19th March, 2015.
The order expressed an expectation that the private respondents would act in terms of their undertaking and in case they evicted the writ petitioners the latter would have to seek their remedy elsewhere.
The writ petitioners preferred an appeal from this order before a division bench of this court presided over by the Chief Justice.
The appellate court observed that the interest of the writ petitioners was adequately protected by the order of the learned trial Judge.
With those observations the appeal was disposed of.
The writ petitioners on or about 24th March, 2014 filed this application for contempt alleging violation of the order dated 2nd September, 2014.
They say that after the said order was passed the alleged contemnors demolished the existing building by evicting them.
They did not even provide them an alternative accommodation as promised by them in their undertaking to the Corporation.
Dealing with this kind of a contempt application is very difficult.
FiRs.of all, at the time of passing the interim order a list of occupants was not furnished.
Neither was any prayer made for appointment of an officer of this court to ascertain whether the writ petitioners were in actual occupation.
At the very start this contempt application was opposed by the alleged contemnors by asserting that the writ petitioners were never in possession of the property and that there was no question of evicting them.
In those circumstances on 9th January, 2015 I appointed Mr.Sunil Kumar Pan as a Special Officer to make an enquiry into the allegations of contempt and file a report in this court.
He visited the property on 6th February, 2015 in the presence of the learned advocates for the parties.
Four petitioners out of twelve, the petitioner numbers 1, 2, 3 and 6 were found to be in occupation of three rooms in the property.
The Special Officer could not opine whether any portion of the building had been demolished after 2nd September, 2014 or any construction made after that date.
On 13th March, 2015 this Court directed that any party could file an exception to the report of the Special Officer by 19th March, 2015.
The interim order of 2nd September, 2014 was partially diluted by the final order dated 19th March, 2015.
It gave an option to the private respondents to rehabilitate the petitioneRs.On 26th June, 2015 this court, in the contempt proceeding directed the alleged contemnors to file an affidavit as to how they proposed to rehabilitate the persons dispossessed from the property.
The question again arose as to who were in occupation of the premises at the time of making of the application by the alleged contemnors for sanction of the building plan.
Therefore, the petitioneRs.by the order dated 8th April, 2016 were directed to file a supplementary affidavit to show that they were in occupation of the premises at that point of time.
On 12th August, 2016 I directed that in case the construction work was complete, the new building would not be allowed to be occupied without rehabilitating the writ petitioners or without taking leave of this court.
On 29th April, 2016 the petitioners filed a supplementary affidavit, claiming that six persons were in occupation of the premises and that they were in a position to substantiate the same by production of documents like Driving Licence , Voter Card, Aadhar Card, Rent Bill etc.The persons so named and the documents referred to are mentioned below:i) Shyamlal Mondal Voter Card and Driving Licence ii) Gopal Mondal Aadhar Card iii) Hira Pandit Voter I.
Card and LIC iv) Mahadeo Thakur Rent Bill v) Mahabir Komti Rent Receipt vi) Rewat Shaw Policy Learned Counsel for the alleged contemnors denied that Mahadeo Thakur was in possession and said that he had surrendered the tenancy and left long ago.
He also said that Mahabir Komti was dead.
At the time of hearing of this contempt application it was agreed between learned Counsel that the respondents, if allowed to deal with the rest of the property, they would set apart 500 sq.ft.
on the ground floor for occupation of the persons who were previously in possession of this property.
In my opinion, this is a fair proposal.
I direct the respondents to separate an area of 500 Sq.ft.
on the ground floor of the said premises, in the presence of the petitioners’ advocate.
I also appoint Mr.Sunil Kumar Pan and Ms.Hasi Saha, Advocates as Joint Special Officers at an initial remuneration 500 GMs.each to be paid by the alleged contemnors to take possession of this 500 sq.ft.
In consultation with the alleged contemnors and the six persons named above who claim to have been in occupation of the said property, the Joint Special Officers will allocate the areas for the family of each, so that each family gets a reasonable area for themselves.
He will also ensure that this 500 sq.ft.
area is so apportioned so as to give each family a space proportionate to the area of 500 sq.ft., in the same proportion that their occupied area before construction of the premises, bore to the total area occupied by the occupants.
With the approval of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation the Joint Special Officers will cause to be provided basic facilities and amenities for occupation of each of these families in the premises.
Upon allocation of the spaces, the Joint Special Officers will hand over possession of a unit to each family.
Thereafter, it will be upon the alleged contemnors to establish in a Civil Court that these persons or any of them were not entitled to any possessory right.
After granting possession of the properties to the above possession, the Joint Special Officers shall automatically stand discharged.
They will each be paid a monthly remuneration of 300 Gms by the alleged contemnors till their automatic discharge.
Any other relief not granted in this application may be obtained from a Civil Court.
This contempt application is thus disposed of.
Certified photocopy of this Judgment and order, if applied for, be supplied to the parties upon compliance with all requisite formalities.