A division bench of Calcutta High Court comprising acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice Arijit Banerjee on Monday imposed a token cost of Rs 10,000 on Board of Cricket Council (BCCI) President Sourav Ganguly for irregular allotment of land. The bench also imposed fines of Rs 50,000 each on the government and the state-owned West Bengal Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation (WBHIDCO) in the matter. The plot was allotted to set up a school in the New Town area close to Kolkata.
The bench has set the deadline for the depositing of the amount with the West Bengal State Legal Services Authority for four weeks. “We need not quash the allotment of the plot as the same stands already surrendered, however, for the conduct of the State in generating litigation by the arbitrary exercise of power which runs totally contrary to the law laid down by the Supreme Court, we impose a cost of Rs 50,000 each on State and WBHIDCO (West Bengal Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation),” said court in its order.
Ganguly was allotted the plot in 2013
The land for setting up the school was allotted to Sourav Ganguly and the society via a letter dated September 27, 2013. Later, the plot of land was surrendered to WBHIDCO in August 2020. Passing the order, the court also emphasized the need to have a defined policy to guide on all issues so there is no arbitrary exercise of power and pick and choose formula. It also said that even though Ganguly has brought laurels for the country at the international stage, he needs to abide by the law.
Thus, the token cost of INR 10,000 is imposed on Sourav Ganguly and the Ganguly Education and Welfare Society as the court thinks that “they should have acted in accordance with the law especially considering the earlier judgment whereby arbitrary allotment of plot in their favour was set aside by the Supreme Court”. Notably, the court was hearing a PIL, filed in 2016, questioning the out-of-turn allotment of land to Ganguly.