THE BENGAL LAND HOLDERS’ ATTENDANCE ACT, 1848

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The Bengal Land Holders’ Attendance Act, 1848 was enacted on September 23, 1848 for the effective enforcement of the presence of the owners and cultivator of land in front of the Collector of taxes with regard to the Lower Provinces under the Presidency town of Bengal. As per the provisions of the sundry directives issued under the Code prevailing in Bengal, the Government inflicts fine each day by the Revenue Board under the Revenue department or any other officials who are performing the authority of such Board on the cultivator or owner of the land. The person who is imposed with the fine shall be present personally or through an agent before the concerned authority when summons is issued to them or to produce the relevant documents and if such person did not appear as per the order, he is not liable to state reason for such absence. When the fine is specified by the Government, such amount shall be collected in the same manner as if the dues of revenue are collected.

Furthermore, in various situations, due to the delay which is caused, the entire responsibility with regard to the fine has increased tremendously more than the actual amount to be collected where some of the powers were granted to the official under whose authority requisition is carried out and being inflicted and impose rational penalty as per the evaluation effected by the Revenue Commissioner as well as other senior officials. The Act affirms that the owner under the control of Land is allowed to leave out or decline to be present personally or send the agent to be present when the summons has been issued as per the terms of the regulations, in the specified date noted in the notice, or fails to produce the documents, he is not under responsibility to state the reason for his non-appearance. The Collector is given discretionary power to inflict fine which is to be given on daily basis which should be paid till the observance with the terms of the notice. The collector can decide the amount to be collected during the lifetime of the person acting contrary to notice but such amount shall not be more than rupees fifty and where some amount becomes due, such amount shall be collected in the similar way as the dues of revenue are being collected.

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The Collector is entrusted with the duty to report the amount as well the fine which is inflicted and the fund which is charged to the Revenue Commissioner and thereafter the Commissioner gives report to the concerned State Government. The Act provides for the provision to prefer appeal from the orders of the Collector. Appeal shall be given before the Revenue Commissioner or any senior officials. But it shall not affect the imposition of fine during the pendency of appeal. Where the Collector has exceeded the authority granted to him and as a result imposed more than five hundred rupees as fine, the Collector shall immediately report the matter before the Revenue Commissioner. The Collector shall not impose fine thereafter for default made by such person except as per the direction of the Commissioner. The Act shall be construed to mean that the authority for the inflicting of tax shall not be repealed in the process mentioned under the regulations. The meaning of the term collector shall include any official legally discharging the functions of the collector. The provisions of the Act shall not be applicable to North Western Provinces coming under the Presidency of Bengal.

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The present Act was amended by the Amending Act of 1903, the Government of India (Adaptation of Indian Laws) Order, 1937 and Adaptation of Laws Order, 1950.