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The Collector of Kamrup Vs. Smt. Anandi Debi - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
Subject;Property;Constitution
CourtGuwahati High Court
Decided On
Case NumberFirst Appeal Nos. 5 and 6 of 1966
Judge
ActsAssam Land (Requisition and Acquisition) Act, 1948 - Sections 7(1), 7(1A) and 7(2); Land Acquisition Act, 1894 - Sections 23(2); Constitution of India - Article 141
AppellantThe Collector of Kamrup
RespondentSmt. Anandi Debi
Appellant AdvocateS.A. Laskar, Addl. Govt. Adv.
Respondent AdvocateK.R. Pathak and S.S. Sarma, Advs.
DispositionAppeals dismissed
Excerpt:
- - goswami (supra), their lordships scanned both the laws and arrived at the conclusion that the facts as well as the laws were similar and, therefore, applied the rule enunciated in peter (supra) in the case of p. goswami (supra) that the provision of section 7(2) of the assam act denying solatium is invalid or in other words solatium @15% on the market value of the land must be paid under the assam act as well. ' 6. when their lordships of the supreme court directed payment of solatium in goswami (air 1982 sc 1214) (supra), in these cases as well we hold that the claimants are also entitled to solatium at the rate of 15 per centum on the market value of the acquired land. 7. in the result, the appeals fail......the market value, has preferred these appeals. 3. it has been urged that in a proceeding under the land acquisition act, 1894, shortly 'the central act', the court is bound to award a sum of 15 per centum on the market value, in consideration of the compulsory nature of acquisition. it has been contended that solatium is not payable to the claimant whose lands have been acquired under the provisions of the assam act. the provisions of section 7(2) of the assam act read as under : '(2). when the compensation has been determined under sub-section (1) and sub-section (1a) the collector shall make an award in accordance with the principles set out in section 11 of the land acquisition act, 1894, and no amount referred to in sub-section (2) of section 23. of that act, shall be included in the.....
Judgment:

Lahiri, (Actg.) C.J.

1. Whether the respondent is entitled to 15 per cent solatium of the market value of the land as awarded by the civil court on reference under the Assam Land (Requisition and Acquisition) Act, 1948? This is the only contention raised by the appellant in these appeals. No other point has been urged by Mr. S.A. Laskar, learned Additional Senior Government Advocate, Assam.

2. Briefly, the necessary facts for disposal of these appeals are that two parcels of lands were acquired by the Collector under the provisions of the Assam Land (Requisition and Acquisition) Act, 1948, shortly 'the Assam Act'. The Collector awarded compensation. The respondent sought for a reference, obtained it and upon hearing the parties and on conclusion of trial the Court awarded market value, interest and 15 per cent solatium on the market value, in consideration of the compulsory nature of the acquisition. The appellant being aggrieved by the award of 15 per centum solatium on the market value, has preferred these appeals.

3. It has been urged that in a proceeding under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, shortly 'the Central Act', the Court is bound to award a sum of 15 per centum on the market value, in consideration of the compulsory nature of acquisition. It has been contended that solatium is not payable to the claimant whose lands have been acquired under the provisions of the Assam Act. The provisions of Section 7(2) of the Assam Act read as under :

'(2). When the compensation has been determined under Sub-section (1) and Sub-section (1A) the Collector shall make an award in accordance with the principles set out in Section 11 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, and no amount referred to in Sub-section (2) of Section 23. of that Act, shall be included in the award.'

Under Section 7(1) and 7(1A) market value of the land is determined on the basis of the principles set out therein. Section 7(2) provides that when the compensation has been so determined the Collector shall make an award in accordance with the principles set out in Section 11 of the Central Act. However, it is specifically stated that no amount referred to in Sub-section (2) of Section 23 of the Central Act shall be included in the award. In other words, the provisions of Sub-section (2) of Section 7 of the Assam Act expressly prohibited award of 15 per centum of solatium on the market value. Accordingly, it has been urged that the Court below has illegally granted 15 per cent solatium to the claimant in land acquisition proceedings covered by the Assam Act. However, the common case of the parties is that the lands could also be acquired under the Central Act. It is also conceded that if the lands were acquired under the Central Act the claimant would have been entitled to solatium under Section 23(2) of that Act. It has been contended that when the lands have been acquired under the Assam Act no solatium could be awarded in view of the provisions contained in Section 7(2). The Collector had the choice to acquire the land either under the Central Act or under the Assam Act. In our opinion the question has already been answered by the Supreme Court in P.C. Goswami v. Collector of Darrang in Civil Appeals Nos. 81-83 of 1972 decided on Aug. 8, 1980 but reported in AIR 1982 SC 1214. In P.C. Goswami (supra) the precise question that arose before the Supreme Court was whether the appellants were entitled to solatium notwithstanding the provisions contained in Section 7(2) of the Assam Act. Their Lordships perused the provisions of Section 7(2) of the Assam Act, particularly the portion underscored by us. Their Lordships cogitated and applied the principles of law enunciated by their Lordships in State of Kerala v. T. M. Peter, AIR 1980 SC 1438. In Peter (supra) similar provisions of the State Act had denied payment of solatium altogether although the very same land could have been acquired under the Central Act. Their Lordships struck down the provision in order to achieve the virtue of equality and to eliminate the vice of inequality contained in the State Act.

4. In P.C. Goswami (supra) their Lordships achieved the very same object, but instead of striking down the provision denying payment of solatium, their Lordships directed the State Government to pay solatium payable under Section 23(2) of the Central Act. In the process of the decision in P.C. Goswami (supra) their Lordships considered the provisions of the Assam Act, the effect of denial of payment of solatium, compared them with the Kerala Act and applied the rule laid down in Peter (AIR 1980 SC 1438) (supra) and achieved the virtue of equality and eliminated the vice of inequality. However, the distinguishing feature between Peter (supra) and P.C. Goswami (AIR 1982 SC 1214) (supra) is that instead of striking down the provision of 'the Assam Act' to achieve equality, which had been done in Peter (supra), their Lordships directed the State Government to pay solatium as provided under Section 23(2) of the Central Act. When their Lordships applied the principle of Peter in P.C. Goswami (supra), their Lordships scanned both the laws and arrived at the conclusion that the facts as well as the laws were similar and, therefore, applied the Rule enunciated in Peter (supra) in the case of P.C. Goswami (supra) and directed the State Government to pay solatium. We extract the relevant excerpt from P.C. Goswami (supra) :

'there is, however, one contention advanced by Mr. Nandy which, in our opinion, deserves to be accepted. He contends that in the matter of payment of solatium, no discrimination can be made between acquisitions under the Assam Act and those made under the Land Acquisition Act. Section 4(3) of the Assam Act itself says that if a land is acquired under that Act, the State Government shall be empowered to apply to such land any of the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894. In a judgment since reported in AIR 1980 SC 1438 State of Kerala v. T. M. Peter given by this Court very recently, to which Mr. Nandy has drawn our attention, it was held that there is no justification for discriminating between an acquisition under one Act and an acquisition under another Act in so far as payment of solatium is concerned. This should be more so in respect of an acquisition to which the State Government is empowered to extend the provisions the Land Acquisition Act. Mr. Naunit Lal has not been able to controvert this position in view of the judgment to which we have referred above. We accordingly direct that the State Government shall pay to the appellant solatium at the rate of 15 per cent on the compensation awarded to him by the High Court.'

It follows, therefore, that denial of payment of solatium in the Assam Act was considered to be rank discrimination between the Central Act and the State Act. While reading the provision, their Lordships held the provision denying payment of solatium, as contained in Section 7(2) of the Assam Act should not be considered to be in existence.

5. An adjudged case or a decision of the Supreme Court furnishing an example or authority for an identical or on similar question of law is a precedent. It means that the principles of law actually presented to the Court for consideration and determination, has after due consideration, been declared to serve as a rule for future guidance in the same or analogous cases. When their Lordships applied the law of Peter (AIR 1980 SC 1438) (supra) in Goswami (AIR 1982 SC 1214) (supra), it applied the ratio upon holding expressly or by necessary implication that the facts and the law of the case in hand were the same with those of the prior decision. As such, the facts and circumstances of Peter (supra) including the facts and law therein got merged in Goswami (supra) they were engrafted by their Lordships. Under these circumstances we have no hesitation in arriving at the conclusion, on the authority of P.C. Goswami (supra) that the provision of Section 7(2) of the Assam Act denying solatium is invalid or in other words solatium @ 15% on the market value of the land must be paid under the Assam Act as well. We hold that the word 'no' in Section 7(2) of the Assam Act stood omitted from the said Act in view of the decision in P.C. Goswami (supra). When Goswami got solatium why should the respondent, Smt. Anandi Debi, be deprived for the same. In our opinion solatium is payable under the provisions contained in the Assam Act. In view of the decision in P.C. Goswami (supra) no 'free wheeling' or adventurism is permissible by any Court on the subject. We must take the law enunciated by the Supreme Court as binding and absolute. We must follow the same faithfully and diligently. We cannot doubt the correctness of a binding decision on the grounds, inter alia, (a) that there is another view which was left out of consideration; (b) that there is another view which was never urged and considered; or (c) that perhaps the law as interpreted is not in the tune of 'the mores of the day' or change of events demand a change in outlook of law, as urged by Mr. Laskar, learned Additional Senior Govt. Advocate. Laws made by the Supreme Court are not merely matters of individual opinion, they are products of judicial functioning having binding force. In India the Judges of the Supreme Court make law on the basis of objective test and nothing is left to chances. Faith, devotion and respect to the Supreme Court resulted in installing Article 141 in the Constitution. Article 141 is the heart and soul of the Constitution. Why should pure light of truth be broken up and impregnated and coloured with any element, when the light has come from the Supreme Court. There is a line of decisions of the Supreme Court explaining the importance of Article 141 of the Constitution. InFuzlunbiv. KhadirVali, AIR 1980 SC 1730, their Lordships painfully observed thus :

'We need hardly say that these devices are

not permissible by the High Court when the

decisions of the Supreme Court are cited

before them not merely because of the

jurisprudence of precedent but because of

the imperatives of Article 141.'

Their Lordships further observed :

'.....no Judge in India, except a larger Bench of the Supreme Court without departure from judicial discipline can whittle down, wish away or be unbound by the ratio thereof.'

6. When their Lordships of the Supreme Court directed payment of solatium in Goswami (AIR 1982 SC 1214) (supra), in these cases as well we hold that the claimants are also entitled to solatium at the rate of 15 per centum on the market value of the acquired land. However, at present the rate of solatium has been raised from 15 per cent to 30 per cent. Accordingly, we hold that the respondents are entitled to solatium at the rate of 15 per centum on the market value of the land as awarded by the Subordinate Judge.

7. In the result, the appeals fail. They are dismissed with one set of costs of Rs. 500/-(Five hundred).


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