Court declares Bengal Entry Tax Act unconstitutional

Kolkata, June 24 (IANS) In another setback to the Trinamool Congress government, the Calcutta High Court Monday struck down a law levying tax on entry of certain goods into the state, calling it unconstitutional.

"Justice Indira Banerjee in an order today (Monday) struck down the legislation and described it as ultra vires the constitution. The court has given a six week stay on the implementation of its judgment so that the parties can move against the order," said advocate Niladri Khara, who appeared on behalf of a number of companies.

The West Bengal Tax on Entry of Goods into Local Areas, Act, 2012 was passed last year by the Mamata Banerjee government claiming it was aimed at facilitating trade and industry by creating infrastructure like roads, bridges and cold storage chains.

A number of companies had filed a writ petition before the Calcutta High Court last November challenging its constitutional validity of the Act.

The legislation was passed March 2012, amidst protests by the opposition in the state assembly who had described the Bill as "regressive" and one which would further lead to increase in prices of essential commodities.

The high vourt earlier had struck down as "unconstitutional and void", the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development, Act 2011- a legislation enacted by the Banerjee regime to return a portion of land "acquired forcibly" by the erstwhile Left Front government for the Tata Motors small car factory at Singur in Hooghly district, to "unwilling farmers".

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