1. The appellant is the owner of survey No. 218 situated at Sangli measuring 18 acres and 23 gun-thas. Half of the said survey number has been acquired by the Government, the respondent. In due course, the Land Acquisition Officer passed his award on 30-9-1966. It appears that for some reasons not relevant for the disposal of this appeal, the appellant was absent at the time of the pronouncement of the award. A notice of the award was served on him on 6-10-1966. The appellant then made an application for a copy of the said award. The said copy was ready on 22-10-1966. The appellant then made an application for reference under section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act on 30-11-1966. The reference was then made in due course and came up for trial before the Joint Civil Judge, Senior Division, Sangli. Necessary issues were framed by him. He upheld the claim of the appellant in which he had claimed a sum of Rs. 40,000/- as additional compensation over and above what was awarded to him by the Land Acquisition Officer. He, however, rejected the reference on the ground that an application for the same was not made, within six weeks from the date of service of notice on him as required under Section 18(2) of the Land Acquisition Act. The appellant challenges the validity of this judgment in this First Appeal.
2. Mr. Solshe, the learned advocate appearing for the appellant, contends that though the application for reference is required to be made within six weeks from the service of notice under Section 11(2) of the Land Acquisition Act, any service of notice can never be said to have been effective as to attract the limitation contemplated under Section 18(2) of the Land Acquisition Act, unless notice conveys the required particulars to enable him to make an application for reference with the grounds therefor as required under Section 18 of the Act. Mr. Solshe, therefore, contends that limitation in such cases cannot be said to have commenced unless a copy of the award was received by the appellant, as till that time he was unable to know the reasons for the award to enable him to state the grounds in the application for reference. In support of his contention he relies on the judgment of the Division Bench of this Court dated 29/30th Aug. 1977 in Special Civil Appln. No. 1769 of 1976. The judgment undoubtedly supports the contention of Mr. Solshe. Tulzapurkar, J., as he then was, speaking for the Court accepted the contention of the petitioner therein that the notice' of the award can only mean notice of thei essential contents of the award. Such! essential contents not having been communicated to the appellant in the notice dated 6-10-1966, the same can be deemed to have been communicated to him only when the copy of the award was ready on 22-10-1966 for delivery to him.
3. Mr. Bhonsale, the learned Government Pleader, tried to distinguish this case. According to him, it will not be correct to interpret Section 18(2) proviso in the manner in which the Division Bench has tried to do. He also wanted to rely on certain other judgments. The principal contention of the learned Government Pleader is that Section 11 of the Land Acquisition Act unlike Section 26 thereof, does not cast any obligation on the Collector to state any reasons in his award and the said award is held to have been merely an offer of the price to the claimant. He, therefore, contends that the reasoning of the Division Bench Judgment requires reconsideration. It is not possible for us to accept this contention of the learned Government Pleader, as we are bound by the judgment of the Division Bench. We also do not think it worthwhile to reconsider this point, as the Division Bench has relied on several judgments of the Supreme Court in support of its view.
4. The result is that the appeal succeeds.
5. We accordingly allow the appeal and set aside the judgment of the lower Court and hold that the appellant is entitled to an additional amount of Rs. 40,000 with 15% solatium and interest at 4% per annum from the date of the possession.
6. The appellant will get his costs.
7. Appeal allowed.