Calcutta HC: If Objection Raises Concerns About Proceeding’s Viability as ‘Pure Question of Law’ or Indicates ‘Inherent Lack of Jurisdiction’, Calls into Question Proceeding’s Foundation

Sarthak Umang

Published on: November 11, 2022 at 19:56 IST

The Calcutta High Court in hearing a writ petition said that maintainability of a writ petition cannot be raised at the eleventh hour and that such an objection cannot go into the cause of the judicial proceeding unless such an objection is made on a point of a pure question of law or inherent lack of jurisdiction.

A lease agreement entered into between the lessee “International Engineering and Construction Company” signed on behalf of the instant petitioner & (Respondent no. 1) the Kolkata Port Trust.

Respondent no. 1 issued a quit notice under the Public Premises Act, 1971, causing the subject matter of the instant proceeding to arise

A writ petition was not maintainable because the petitioner filed it in his personal capacity and since the lessee was a private company, the law considered it an independent and separate juristic entity. It was held that a request for a new lease deed, as expressed in the writ petition, would constitute a specific performance relief that a writ court could not grant.

A major breach of the old lease deed had been committed when the petitioner erected structures and inducted subtenants without permission. 

The Single Judge Bench of Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharya, dismissed the objections raised by the respondents placed reliance upon the judgments of the Supreme Court in Kanak (Smt) & Anr. v. U.P. Avas Evam Vikas Parishad & Ors., (2003) and the Allahabad High Court in Suresh Chandra Tewari v. District Supply Officer reported in 1992.

The Court held:

“However, inasmuch as the objection with regard to the maintainability of the Writ Petition is concerned, the same cannot be upheld, although the petitioner stated in Paragraphs Nos.2 and 3 of the Writ Petition that the International Engineering and Construction Company is a private company and that the petitioner is one of the Directors thereof.”

“There are several reasons for turning down such objections……since the KoPT never took the objection as regards non-maintainability of the writ petition at any earlier point of time, either at the inception or in its affidavit-in-opposition or even when the interim order was extended from time to time, the KoPT is precluded from raising such objection at the eleventh hour when the writ petition is being heard finally.”

The court dismissed the petition there is no valid ground for the writ petitioner to challenge the quit notice on any ground of any kind as the same was issued well within the authority of the Kolkata Port Trust. It found that there was no deemed renewal of the lease agreement; therefore, the petitioners had no basis to challenge the quit notice.

Case: Vinay Kumar Singh v. Kolkata Port Trust & Ors.

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