The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday upheld a central government notification authorising the Tea Board of India to take over the management/control of seven estates of the Duncans Industries Ltd, in northern West Bengal, an advocate said.
The union commerce and industry ministry had on January 28 issued the notification under section 16E of the Tea Act, 1953 for taking over the management/control of the seven tea estates contending they were "managed in a manner highly detrimental to the tea industry and public interest".
While six of the estates, namely Birpara, Garganda, Lankapara, Tulsipara, Huntapara, and Dhumchipara, are run by Duncans Industries, the seventh - Demdima tea estate - belongs to Duncans but is operated by the Santipara Tea Co Ltd.
Challenging the notification, the both Duncans and Santipara Tea moved the high court in early February and the case before a bench of Justice Sanjib Banerjee.
“The court said that there was no merit of the petitioner challenging the notification of the central government and upheld central government's notification,” said Tarunjyoti Tewari, advocate on record for the central government.
“The court said the central government and the state should use the sovereign power to restart the tea gardens and pay dues of the workers as early as possible,” he added.
Counsel said the court dismissed the petitions and ordered the twin companies to pay Rs.5 lakh each as litigation cost to the central government.