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Mangilal Jawanmal and ors. Vs. the Special Land Acquisition Officer (i), Thana - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtMumbai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSpecial Civil Appln. No. 1769 of 1976 and Civil Revn. Appln. Nos. 736 and 783 of 1975
Judge
Reported inAIR1978Bom325; (1978)80BOMLR46
ActsLand Acquisition Act, 1894 - Sections 4, 6, 9, 11, 12, 12(1), 12(2), 12A, 14, 17, 18, 18(1), 18(2), 18(3), 19, 20, 23, 23(1), 26, 26(2), 49 and 54; Limitation Act, 1963 - Sections 5 and 29(2); Code of Civil Procedure (CPC), 1908 - Sections 2; Bombay Court-fees Act, 1959 - Schedule - Articles I and 15; Bombay Court-fees Act, 1870
AppellantMangilal Jawanmal and ors.
RespondentThe Special Land Acquisition Officer (i), Thana
Appellant AdvocateV.B. Rege, ;G.L. Rege, ;A.A. Rizvi and ;S.V. Pal Suledesai, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateV.P. Tipnis, Adv., ; A.C. Agarwal and ; M.R. Kotwal, Asst. Govt. Pleaders
Excerpt:
land acquisition act (i of 1894), sections 12, 18(2) proviso (b), 26 and 54 - bombay court-fees act (bom. xxxvi of 1959), schedule i, article 15--what could be regarded as essential contents of an award and whether the reasons or the basis on which compensation has been fixed by the collector or special land acquisition, officer forms one of the essential contents of the award or not--whether knowledge of such essential contents is required to be brought home to the claimants seeking reference before the period of limitation of six weeks could commence for the purpose of preferring an application for reference.;during the course of acquisition proceedings the notice that was served upon the petitioners under section 12(2) merely informed them that the total area acquired was 907 square.....tulzapurkar, j.1. since common questions arise for decision in these three matters, they have been placed before us together and we shall dispose them of by a common judgment. how-ever, it will be sufficient if the facts pertaining to one of the petitions viz. in special civil application no. 1769 of 1976 are stated.2. the petitioners in special civil application no. 1769 of 1976 were the owners of a plot of open land bearing city survey no. 5 (original survey no. 28a. hissa no. 7 part) admeasuring 1093 2/3 sq. yards situate at nawapada, thana. an area admeasuring about 907 sq. yards out of the petitioners' aforesaid plot of land was acquired by the state government for the purposes of naupada police station under the provisions of the land acquisition act no. 1 of 1894 (hereinafter.....
Judgment:

Tulzapurkar, J.

1. Since common questions arise for decision in these three matters, they have been placed before us together and we shall dispose them of by a common judgment. How-ever, it will be sufficient if the facts pertaining to one of the petitions viz. in Special Civil Application No. 1769 of 1976 are stated.

2. The petitioners in Special Civil Application No. 1769 of 1976 were the Owners of a plot of open land bearing City Survey No. 5 (original Survey No. 28A. Hissa No. 7 part) admeasuring 1093 2/3 sq. yards situate at Nawapada, Thana. An area admeasuring about 907 sq. yards out of the petitioners' aforesaid plot of land was acquired by the State Government for the purposes of Naupada Police Station under the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act No. 1 of 1894 (hereinafter referred to as the Act), leaving an area of 1862/3 sq. yards (132 sq. yards on the southern side and 54 2/3 sq. yards on the northern side) with the petitioners. In respect of this area of 907 sq. yards the relevant notification under Section 4 of the Act was Issued on 20-3-1971 which was followed by Section 6 notification on 30-4-1972. It appears that in the meantime, possession of that area was taken on 4-7-1972 under the urgency clause contained in Section 17 of the Act. Pursuant to the notice that was issued under Section 9 of the Act, the petitioners preferred compensation claim to the Special Land Acquisition Officer at the rate of Rs. 200 per sq. yard. The petitioners also claimed damages at the same rate for the portion of 186 2/3 sq. yards left with them on the ground that that much area was rendered useless to them for any purpose whatsoever by reason of severance caused as denned under the provisions of the Act. The Special Land Acquisition Officer made his award on 31-12-1973 awarding compensation for 907 sq. yards at the rate of Rs. 95 per sq. yard. The total amount of compensation awarded to the petitioners was fixed at Rupees 1,03,713.09 paise. Notice of the making of the award was served on the petitioners under Section 12(2) of the Act on 4-1-1974. On that very day, the petitioners applied for a certified copy of the award which became ready for delivery to them on 1-3-1974. The copy was actually received by the petitioners on 5-3-1974 and the petitioners filed an application under Section 18(1) of the Act seeking a reference to the Civil Court on 30-3-1974. While seeking this reference by their said application, the petitioners claimed an additional amount of Rupees 1,60,954.18 principally on the ground that the compensation awarded at the rate of Rs. 95 per sq. yard was highly inadequate, that nothing was awarded for injurious severance, and interest was also claimed from 4-7-1972 to 31-12-1973 the period between the date they lost possession and the award came to be made. The Special Land Acquisition Officer was pleased to make the reference to the District Court of Thana, under Section 18 of the Act, which reference came to be numbered as Thana Land Acquisition Reference No. 22 of 1974. When the reference came up for hearing before the Joint Judge, Thana, a contention on behalf of the Special Land Acquisition Officer was raised that the reference was not maintainable inasmuch as the application for reference made to the Land Acquisition Officer was made beyond the period of limita-tion prescribed under Section 18 of the Act. It was urged that since the notice of the award under Section 12(2) of the Act had been served on the petitioners on 4-1-1974 the prescribed period which commenced from that date expired after the expiry of six weeks and the application for reference having been made on 30-3-1974, the same was barred by limitation under Proviso (b) to Section 18(2) of the Act. On behalf of the petitioners two or three contentions were raised before the learned Joint Judge. In the first place, it was contended that once the reference was made by the Special Land Acquisition Officer or by the Collector it was not open to the District Court or the Civil Court to go back upon the reference and to question the maintainability of the reference on the ground of limitation as was sought to be done. Secondly, it was contended that the time that was taken by the petitioners to obtain the certified copy of the award should be excluded while computing the prescribed period of limitation and that if the period between 4-1-1974 and 1-3-1974 was so excluded, the application for reference was within time It was thirdly contended that in any case Section 5 of the Limitation Act, 1963 was applicable to the proceedings and the Special Land Acquisition Officer or the Collector must be taken to have condoned the delay if any in making the application, for the delay was not at all due to any negligence or inaction on the part of the petitioners and as such the application for reference should be regarded as having been filed within time and the reference was maintainable. The learned Joint Judge who heard the matter by his order dated 1-10-1975 negatived all the contentions that were urged on behalf of the petitioners and accepted the objection to the maintainability of the reference urged on behalf of the Special Land Acquisition Officer and came to the conclusion that as the application for reference was barred by time, the reference could not be entertained and he therefore ultimately rejected the reference. It is this order passed by the Joint Judge, Thana, that has been challenged by the petitioners before us in this special civil application.

3. So far as Civil Revision Application No. 736 of 1975 is concerned, the Special Land Acquisition Officer himself refused to make the reference and rejected the application for reference onthe ground that the application seeking reference had been filed on 26-11-1974 i.e. after the expiry of time limit as provided under Section 18(2) of the Act inasmuch as the contents of the award were known to the Chairman of the petitioner-Society when he received the notice under Section 12(2) of the Act on 5-10-1974. From this order passed by the Special Land Acquisition Officer the Chairman of the petitioner-Society has filed this revision application to this Court.

4. In Civil Revision Application No. 783 of 1975, the order passed by the learned Joint Judge, Thana, on 12-8-1975 whereby he dismissed the reference on the ground that the pre-requisite condition for making the reference was not complied with as the application for reference was barred by time is challenged by the petitioner. It may be stated that whereas Special Civil Application No. 1769 of 1976 has come up before us for final hearing in the normal course, the other two civil revision applications have been referred to a Division Bench by Justice S.K. Desai as common questions arose for determination on one of which there were divergent views expressed by two learned Judges of this Court sitting singly in two separate matters (Civil Revn. Appln. No. 583 of 1973 decided by Apte J. on 29-4-1974 and Civil Revn. Appln. No. 645 of 1970 decided by Lentin J. on 10-2-1975).

5. Mr. Rege appearing for the petitioners in Special Civil Application No. 1769 of 1976 raised principally three contentions before us. In the first place he contended that having regard to Section 18(3) a provision added by the Maharashtra Act XXXVIII of 1964 -- the Joint Judge had no jurisdiction to go behind the order of the Special Land Acquisition Officer and decide the question of limitation as the order passed by the Officer has been made revisable by the High Court. Secondly, he urged that the learned Joint Judge was in error in coming to the conclusion that the application for reference that was made by the petitioners on 30-3-1974 was barred by limitation under proviso (b) to Section 18(2) of the Act, inasmuch as according to him, the prescribed period of limitation of six weeks mentioned in proviso (b) to Section 18(2) of the Act would commence to run from the receipt of effective notice of the award from the Collectorunder Section 12(2) of the Act. He urged that if the provisions of Section 12(2) and Section 18(2) as well as the proviso to Section 18(2) of the Act were read together it will appear clear that the petitioners who were aggrieved by the award were required to state the grounds on which objection to the award was taken in their application for reference and to enable the petitioners to do so effectively mere service of the notice of the award without furnishing to the petitioners the basis or the reasons for the quantification or determination of the quantum done by the Collector or the Special Land Acquisition Officer would be useless and the receipt of the notice contemplated by proviso (b) to Section 18(2) of the Act must be receipt of an effective notice of the award i.e. the notice of essential contents of the award and it is only when such essential contents of the award were brought home to the petitioners that the petitioners would be enabled to state their grounds of objection to the award in their application for reference under Section 18(2) of the Act. According to him, the notice under Section 12(2) of the Act that was served upon the petitioners merely informed the petitioners the total area acquired, the total quantum of compensation awarded and apportionment thereof between the three claimants. But neither the basis nor the reasons for fixing or determining the market value of the land in question was furnished to the petitioners nor were any particulars furnished as to whether the total amount of compensation mentioned in the notice included within it any amount for injurious severance or not. He therefore, urged that service of such notice which merely gave the measurement of the land, the total quantum and the apportionment between the claimants could not be regarded as notice of the essential contents of the award all of which could be said to have been brought home to the petitioners only when the petitioners obtained a certified copy of the award when it became ready on 1-3-1974 and was actually received by them on 5-3-1974. He therefore urged that if the period of six weeks prescribed in proviso (b) to Section 18(2) of the Act was to commence from 1-3-1974 the application for reference will have to be regarded as having been filed within time and the learned Joint Judge was in error in rejecting the reference on the ground that the ap-plication itself was barred by law. In support of his contention he relied upon two decisions of the Supreme Court viz. : [1962]1SCR676 Raja Harish Chandra Raj Singh v. the Deputy Land Acquisition Officer and : [1964]1SCR971 State of Punjab v. Qaisar Jehan Begum, one decision of the Mysore High Court reported in AIR 1973 Mys 22 (Special Land Acquisition Officer, H.D.P. Ghataprabha v. Aparai Krishna Gadakari), and judgment of Apte, J. in Civil Revision Application No. 583 of 1973 decided on 29-4-1974. Thirdly, he contended that since Section 5 of the Limitation Act, 1963 was clearly applicable and since all the facts requisite for condonation of the delay if any that had occurred in preferring the application were present before the Special Land Acquisition Officer, he must be taken to have condoned the delay and then made the reference to the Civil Court which order could not be gone back upon by the Civil Court at the instance of the Special Land Acquisition Officer. In support of this latter contention, strong reliance was placed by him upon the decision of this Court in : AIR1975Bom297 Ramesh Shankar Wankhede v. State of Maharashtra.

6. On the other hand, Mr. Kotwal appearing for the Special Land Acquisition Officer has contended that under Section 18(1) of the Act, certain conditions precedent were required to be fulfilled or satisfied by the petitioners and it was upon the satisfaction of the conditions precedent that the Collector or the Special Land Acquisition Officer was entitled to make a reference to the Civil Court and one of the conditions precedent required to be satisfied was that the application for reference must have been made within the time prescribed under the proviso to Section 18(2) of the Act. He urged that since this important condition precedent could not be said to have been satisfied by the petitioners, it was open to the Joint Judge to go behind the order passed by the Special Land Acquisition Officer and consider the contention that was urged on behalf of the Special Land Acquisition Officer before him. He, therefore, urged that the learned Joint Judge was right in coming to the conclusion that one of the conditions precedent viz. that the application should have been made within time had not been satisfied and as such the reference was liable to be rejected as being not maintainable.

Tuesday: 30-8-1977.

7. As regards Section 18(3) his contention was that that provision gave additional forum to an aggrieved party to have the Collector's order tested by the High Court and that the provision could not have the effect of taking away the jurisdiction of the Joint Judge to decide the question whether any of the conditions precedent had been satisfied or not. Mr. Kotwal also contended that since in the instant case the notice of the award under Section 12(2) of the Act had been admittedly served on the petitioners on 4-1-1974 the petitioners must be taken to have knowledge of the award and under proviso (b) to Section 18(2) of the Act, the prescribed period of limitation would expire within six weeks from the receipt of such notice by the petitioners and therefore the application seeking reference was clearly time-barred. He disputed the validity of the contentions urged on behalf of the petitioners that the prescribed period would or should commence when the so-called effective notice of the award was received by the petitioners and there was no scope for introducing such element when the language of proviso (b) to Section 18(2) of the Act was clear that six weeks would commence from the receipt of the notice from the Collector under Section 12(2). He also contended that Section 5 of the Limitation Act, 1963, was not applicable to the facts of the case and the Special Land Acquisition Officer or the Collector would have, no discretion to make the reference to a Civil Court if the application seeking reference was not made within the prescribed period on the ground that the petitioners were prevented for sufficient cause from preferring an application within the prescribed period. According to him, the provisions of Section 18 of the Act could not be regarded as a provision prescribing period of limitation; but it lays down conditions precedent on the satisfaction of which alone the Collector was entitled or had jurisdiction to make the reference to the Civil Court and since no period of limitation as such could be said to have been prescribed by the proviso to Section 18(2) of the Act, there would be no question of invoking the provisions of Section 5 of the Limitation Act, 1963, even read with Section 29(2). In support of his first plea, he relied upon the two Supreme Court decisions : [1962]1SCR676 and : [1964]1SCR971 (supra) as also upon the decision of the Privy Council reported in Pramatha Nath Mullick Bahadur v. Secretary of State where the Privy Council had clarified the position as to what type of grounds of objections could be raised by the party feeling aggrieved by the award made by the Collector viz. the grounds of objections either being to the measurement of the land, the amount of compensation, the persons to whom it is payable or the apportionment of the compensation amongst such persons, and it was not necessary that the reasons or the basis on which compensation had been arrived at by the Collector or the Special Land Acquisition Officer should be made known to the petitioners seeking reference. He also relied upon the judgment of Lentin J. in Civil Revision Application No. 645 of 1970 decided on 10-2-1975. Apart from raising these contentions by way of reply to Mr. Rege's submissions, Mr. Kotwal also raised a preliminary objection to the maintainability of the special civil application as well as the two revision applications on the ground that it was open to the petitioners in each one of the three cases to prefer an appeal to this Court and since such alternate remedy of appeal was available to the petitioners, the writ petition or the revisional applications were not maintainable.

8. We shall first deal with the preliminary objection that has been raised by Mr. Kotwal to the maintainability of the special civil application as well as the revision applications. According to Mr. Kotwal under Section 26 read with Section 54 of the said Act, an appeal has been provided for to this Court against every award that would be made by the Civil Court in a reference made to it by the Collector and since in these cases the references were rejected by the Joint Judge, Thana, on the ground that they were not maintainable because the condition precedent pertaining to limitation had not been satisfied the petitioners who were aggrieved by that order ought to have preferred an appeal to this Court under Section 54 of the Act and in view of this alternate remedy that was available to the petitioners, the writ petition as well as the two revisional applications should be held to be not maintainable or incompetent. It is not possible to accept this submission of Mr. Kotwal for the simple reason that what has been provided by Section 54 of the Actis that 'an appeal shall only lie in any proceedings under this Act to the High Court from the award, or from any part of the award of the Court' and what constitutes an award of the Civil Court has been provided for in Section 26 of the Act which says that 'every award under this Part shall be in writing signed by the Judge and shall specify the amount awarded under clause first of Sub-sections (1) of Section 23, and also the amounts (if any respectively awarded under each of the other clauses of the same Sub-section, together with the grounds of awarding each of the said amounts.' Sub-section (2) of Section 26 provides that 'every such award shall be deemed to be a decree and the statement of the grounds of every such award a judgment within the meaning of Section 2, Clause (2), and Section 2, Clause (9) respectively of the Civil P. C., 1908'. It will thus appear clear that under Section 54 read with Section 26, it is only against an award as contemplated tinder Section 26 that an appeal has been provided for under Section 54. In other words, an appeal will He against any award or part of the award which specifies the amount awarded under one or the other clauses of Section 23 and which also specifies the amounts respectively awarded under each of the said clauses together with the grounds of awarding each of the said amounts. In each one of the three cases before us, no awards as contemplated by Section 26 was made. Actually in Civil Revision Application. No. 736 of 1975 the order challenged is not of the Civil Court at all but the order of the Special Land Acquisition Officer refusing to make the reference on the ground that the application for reference was barred by time while in the other two cases the order passed by the Civil Court rejecting the references was on the ground that the applications seeking references were barred by limitation. In other words, no award as contemplated by Section 26 of the Act has come into existence in any of these three cases with the result that Section 54 would not come into operation, Having regard to this position it seems to us clear that the remedy by way of appeal as contemplated by Section 54 of the Act was not available to the petitioners and therefore the preliminary contention is liable to be rejected.

9. We might observe that in the view which we are taking we are fortified by two decisions, one of the Calcutta HighCourt in the case of Hasum Molla v. Tasiruddin reported in ILR (1912) Cal 393 and the other of the Lahore High Court in the case of Nafis-ud-Din v. Secretary of State reported in AIR 1927 Lah 858. In the former case, the order of the Special Land Acquisition Judge refusing to restore a claim case by setting aside a decree passed ex parte for default of the claimant was regarded as not amounting to an award and therefore not falling under Section 54 of the Act and the Calcutta High Court took the view that therefore an appeal did not lie to it against such an order, In the latter case, which could be regarded as a decision directly on the point, the Divisional Court had rejected the reference under Section 18 of the Act on the ground that the application to th9 Collector was time barred under Sub- section (2) Clause (1) of Section 18 and when the aggrieved party preferred an appeal to the High Court, the Lahore High Court took the view that no appeal was competent under Section 54 of the Act. In so holding, the. Division Bench of the Lahore High Court relied upon the decision of the Calcutta High Court reported in ILR 39 Cal 393 (supra). Having regard to the above discussions, we are clearly of the view that the preliminary contention urged by Mr. Kotwal has no merit and the same will have to be rejected.

10. Coming to the merits it is true that Mr. Rege has sought to urge three contentions before us, one based on Section 18(3) of the Act, the second pertaining to the point of time when the period of limitation prescribed by proviso (b) to Section 18(2) should commence and the third pertaining to the question whether Section 5 of the Limitation Act will be applicable to the facts of the case or not. However, it was the second contention that was argued fully and at considerable length before us and in the view which we are taking on the said contention, it will be unnecessary for us to decide the first or third contentions and we do not propose to deal with them. On the main point, Mr. Rege invited our attention to the provisions of Sections 12(2), 16(1) and 18(2) of the Act and according to him, reading these provisions together it should be held that the period of six weeks' limitation prescribed by the first part of proviso (b) to Section 18(2) would commence not merely from the date of the receipt of the formal notice from theCollector under Section 12(2) of the Act giving intimation of the fact of the award having been made but from the date of the receipt of the effective notice which would bring home knowledge to the aggrieved party about the essential contents of the award. In order to appreciate this contention of Mr. Rege, it will be necessary to set out the relevant provisions on which he placed strong reliance. To start with it may be stated that it is under Section 11 of the Act that the Collector or the Special Land Acquisition Officer as the case may be who, after holding the requisite inquiry, is enjoined with a duty to make his award under his hand in regard to three matters viz. (i) the true area of the land; (ii) the compensation which in his opinion should be allowed for the land and (iii) the apportionment of the said compensation among all the persons known or believed to be interested in the land. Under Section 12(1) such award is required to be filed in the Collector's Office and is declared, except as therein provided, to be final and conclusive evidence as between the Collector and the persons interested, whether they have respectively appeared before the Collector or not, of the true area and value of the land, and the apportionment of the compensation among the persons interested. Then comes Sub-section (2) which is material and which runs thus:

'12 (2) The Collector shall give immediate notice of his award or the amendment thereof made under Section 12A to such of the persons interested as are not present personally or by their representatives when the award or amendment is made.'

11. In other words, the provisions of Sub-section (2) of Section 12 cast an obligation upon the Collector as soon as the award is filed in the office to give immediate notice of his award to persons interested who were not present when the award was made and according to Anderson's Manual, the form of the notice which is usually issued contains only three particulars viz. the true area of the land acquired; the total amount of compensation which should be allowed and its apportionment among the persons interested. It may be stated that in the instant case also the notice that was served upon the petitioners under Section 12(2) on 4-1-1974 merely informed the petitioners that the total area acquired was 907 sq. yards, that the totalcompensation payable was Rs. 1,05,035.15 and that by way of apportionment, each of the three petitioners was entitled to one-third of the aforesaid amount of compensation. The notice also called upon the petitioners to attend the Collector's Office on the date mentioned for receiving the amount even under protest if so desired, so that their right to have the reference made to the Civil Court may not be prejudiced and that in default of attendance and receipt of the amount on the appointed day, no interest would be payable thereafter. It is clear from the aforesaid notice that was served on the petitioners that it followed the usual routine prescribed in Anderson's Manual by giving only three particulars that were invariably specified therein and did not inform the petitioners the reasons or the basis on which their quantum of compensation had been determined or fixed nor did it give any particulars as to whether and how much had been awarded for injurious severance which was one of the heads under which damages or special claim had been made by the petitioners. We shall now come to Section 18(1) of the Act which reads thus:--

'18 (1) Any person interested who has not accepted the award or the amendment thereof may, by written application to the Collector, require that the matter be referred by the Collector for the determination of the Court, whether his objection be to the measurement of the land, the amount of the compensation, the persons to whom it is payable or the apportionment of the compensation among the persons interested.'

12. Sub-section (2) is very material and that provision together with the proviso thereto reads thus:--

'18 (2) The application shall state that grounds on which objection to the award or the amendment is taken:

Provided that every such application shall be made-

(a) if the person making it was present or represented before the Collector at the time when he made his award or the amendment within six weeks from the date of the Collector's award or the amendment;

(b) in other cases, within six weeks of the receipt of the notice from the Collector under Section 12, Sub-section (2), or within six months from the date of the Collector's award or the amendment, whichever period shall first expire.'

13. Sub-section (1) clearly contains certain conditions precedent which must be satisfied before the Collector could be called upon to make a reference to theCivil Court. The first condition is that there shall be a written application by the person interested who has not accepted the award. The second is as regards the nature of objections that could be taken viz. objection could be either to the measurement of the land or the amount of compensation or the persons to whom it is payable or the apportionment thereof among the persons interested and it is clear that no other type of objection is contemplated and the third condition is with regard to the time within which the application shall be made i.e. the period of limitation that has been prescribed under provisos (a) and (b) to Sub-section (2). It is only when the application seeking reference satisfies these conditions precedent that the Collector could make the reference to the Civil Court. Sub-section (2) clearly casts an obligation upon the applicant to state the grounds on which objection to the award is taken; the provision is mandatory inasmuch as it says that 'the application shall state the grounds on which objection to the award is taken.' Coming to the two provisos, the first proviso viz. proviso (a) prescribes the period of limitation of six weeks from the date of the Collector's award in cases where the person seeking reference was present or represented before the Collector at the time when the Collector makes his award. The underlying presumption appears to be that if a person seeking reference is either personally present or is present through his representative, he has knowledge or is visited with the knowledge of the contents of the award which is made in his presence and therefore the prescribed period of six weeks is said to commence from the date of the Collector's award. Proviso (b) consists of two parts, both of which have been clubbed together in one proviso. In the first part, a period of six weeks is prescribed in cases where notice under Section 12(2) is served and the period is said to commence from the date of the receipt of such notice. Under the second part, in cases where no such notice under Section 12(2) has been served the period prescribed is six months from the date of the Collector's award, with a qualification 'whichever period shall first expire.'

14. Relying upon the plain language of proviso (b) to Section 18(2), Mr. Kotwal contended that the period of six weeks limitation has been prescribed in cases where notice under Section 12(2) has been served and the said period is said to commence from 'the receipt of the notice' and according to Mr. Kotwal, there is no scope for introducing the element of bringing home the knowledge of the essential contents of the award to the petitioners seeking references before the prescribed period of limitation could commence. According to Mr. Kotwal, therefore, since in the instant case, admittedly notice under Section 12(2) was served upon the petitioners on 4-1-1974, six weeks period must commence from that date and the application for reference which was made on 30-3-1974 was clearly beyond time. He also contended in the alternative that even if it were assumed for the purposes of argument that the notice of the award contemplated by proviso (b) was required to be notice of the essential contents of the award, he urged that under Sections 11 and 12 read together, the three items in respect of which the Collector is required to make his award viz. (a) the true area of the land; (b) the compensation which in his opinion should be allowed for the land; and (c) the apportionment of the said compensation among all the persons known or believed to be interested in the land, would be the essential contents of the award and since the notice under Section 12(2) in the instant case apprised the petitioners of all these three items, it should be held that the petitioners had notice of the essential contents of the award on 4-1-1974 and as such the application for reference which was filed on 30-3-1974 was barred by limitation. Mr. Kotwal further contended that though it was true that under Section 18(2) which was mandatory, the application for reference was required to state the grounds on which objection to the award was to be taken, such grounds of objection could only be to the measurement of the land; to the amount of compensation; to the persons to whom it was payable and the apportionment of the compensation among the persons interested, that is to say the grounds could be any one or more of these four grounds and no other and he pointed out that such a view has been taken by the Privy Council in (supra). He also urged that if the provisions of Section 11 under which theCollector is called upon to make his award and the provisions of Section 26 under which the Civil Court is called upon to make its award are compared it will appear clear that there was great difference between the two types of awards that were contemplated in these two provisions, that whereas under Section 26 the Civil Court is required not merely to specify the amounts awarded under one or the other clauses of Section 23(1) of the Act, but also the grounds for awarding each of such amounts, in the award made by the Collector under Section 11, the Collector is not bound to give any reasons or basis on which he has determined the quantum of compensation. He also pointed out that in Provident Investment Co. Ltd. v. Land Acquisition Officer, Bombay AIR 1935 Bom 319 this Court has taken the view that the Collector or the Land Acquisition Officer was not bound to give a reasoned judgment when he determines or fixes the market value of the land resulting in the quantum of compensation offered to the claimant. If therefore the Collector or the Special Land Acquisition Officer was not required to give a reasoned judgment while arriving at the amount of compensation which he offers to the claimant, it would be improper to hold that the reasons or the basis on which such compensation is fixed by the Collector should become one of the essential contents of the award. Lastly, Mr. Kotwal relied upon the decision of Lentin. J. in Civil Revision Application No. 645 of 1970 decided on 10-2-1975 (Bom) where the learned Judge has taken the view that the essential contents of the award would be those that are set out in Section 11 of the Act and if notice of those three essential contents is served upon the petitioners seeking reference under Section 12(2), the petitioners could be said to have actual notice of the essential contents of the award from the date of such service of the notice upon them, impliedly holding that the reasons or the basis on which compensation has been fixed or determined by the Collector cannot be regarded as the essential contents of the award.

15. Mr. Rege for the petitioners on the other hand contended that the reasons or the basis on which compensation had been offered by the Collector or the Special Land Acquisition Officer to the claimants must be regarded as one of the essential contents of theaward without the knowledge of which it would be impossible for the petitioners seeking reference to state their grounds of objection to the award. He fairly conceded that though it was not obligatory for the Collector or the Special Land Acquisition Officer to give a reasoned judgment for arriving at the quantum of compensation which he proposes to offer under his award under Section 11 to the claimant, it could never be disputed that at least the basis and the material on which the quantum of compensation is fixed or determined by the Collector or the Special Land Acquisition Officer would find a place in the award made by the Collector under Section 11 of the Act, for, after all the Collector under Section 11 of the Act is required to hold an inquiry into the objections which any person interested has stated pursuant to the notice given under Section 9 and those objections would be not merely to the measurements but also to the value of the land at the date of the publication of Section 4 notification and if the petitioners who are seeking reference under Section 18(1) do not come to know the basis on which such quantum of compensation has been fixed or determined by the Collector or the Special Land Acquisition Officer, it would be impossible for the petitioners to state their grounds of objection to the award. He therefore urged that the basis or the reasons for fixing compensation offered by the Special Land Acquisition Officer or the Collector under his award made under section 11 would be one of the essential contents of the award along with the total measurements; the total quantum of compensation; the person to whom it is payable and the apportionment thereof among the persons interested. He urged that knowledge of such basis would be necessary for two reasons. In the first place he contended that unless such basis or reasons for the quantification of the compensation is known it would be impossible for the petitioners to make up their mind whether to go in for the reference or not, for, it is conceivable in a given case that after knowing the reasons or basis, the petitioners may feel satisfied that the basis being reasonable it would be a sheer waste of time, money and energy to seek a reference. Secondly, he pointed out that all that the notice under Section 12(2) informs the claimants is the total measurements, total quantum of compensation and the apportionmentthereof among the persons interested, and no particulars of the various heads under which the several items of compensation awarded are furnished, and in the absence of such particulars being made known to the petitioners, it would be impossible for the petitioners to know how to value their claim while making the reference application for purposes of court-fees payable under Article 15 of Schedule I to the Bombay Court-fees Act, 1959, and the petitioners would not be in a position to pay proper ad valorem court-fees. He contended that since under proviso (b) to Section 18(2) the two categories have been clubbed together viz. cases where notice under Section 12(2) has been served and cases where no such notice has been served, the notice of the essential contents of the award would be necessary before six weeks period commence: under the first part of that clause inasmuch as under the second part of that clause, decided cases have taken the view that six months period of limitation prescribed therein does not commence mechanically from the date of the Collector's award but the expression 'the date of the Collector's award has been construed to mean the date of the communication of the award to the party aggrieved by it and since decided cases have taken this view, by parity of reasoning it should be held that six weeks period under the first part of proviso (b) should also commence likewise from the effective notice u/s. 12 (2). In support of these submissions, strong reliance was placed by him upon the same two decisions of the Supreme Court on which Mr. Kotwal has relied, principally the decision in : [1964]1SCR971 , as also one decision of the Mysore High Court reported in AIR 1973 Mys 22 (supra) and the judgment of Apte, J. in Civil Revision Application No. 583 of 1973 decided on 29-4-1974 (Bom) where the learned Judge has taken the view, contrary to the view taken by Lentin, J., that the reasons or the basis on which the quantum is fixed by the Collector or the Special Land Acquisition Officer would be one of the essential contents of the award, knowledge of which must be brought home to the petitioners before the period of limitation of six weeks could commence.

16. In order to decide which of the rival submissions should be accepted it would be necessary as we have pointedout above, to consider the provisions of Sections 12(2) and 18 of the Act. We have already set out the relevant provisions in the earlier part of our judgment. Briefly stated the position is that as soon as the Collector files his award in the Office, he is required to give immediate notice of the award to the persons interested under Section 12(2) which invariably contains only three particulars viz. the true measurement of the area acquired, the quantum of compensation and apportionment thereof among the persons interested. Under Section 18(2) the petitioners who are seeking reference are under an obligation to state the grounds on which the objection to the award is taken. The question really is whether without knowledge of the reasons or the basis on which compensation has been fixed by the Collector or the Special Land Acquisition Officer and without knowledge of the particulars of the different heads under which such compensation is awarded it would be possible for the petitioners seeking reference to effectively make an application for reference by stating the grounds of objection to the award.

17. It is true as was pointed out by Mr. Kotwal that the Privy Council in Pramatha Nath Mullick Bahadur's case has clearly indicated that the types of objection that could be taken would be under the four heads mentioned in Section 18(1) of the Act. It was a case where the claimant had sought a reference by taking a specific objection to the Collector's award on the ground that the amount of compensation was inadequate and the question that arose before the Court was whether when that was the specific ground of objection the claimant could be permitted to raise before the Civil Court any objection pertaining to the measurements i. e. objection to the true area of the land acquired, and the Privy Council took the view that when the type of objection urged was against the determination of proper compensation it was not open to the claimant to raise the other type of objection qua measurement. In this behalf the Privy Council observed thus:

'The section clearly specifies four different grounds of objection, viz.

(1) to the measurement of the land;

(2) to the amount of compensation;

(3) to the persons to whom it is pay* able: and

(4) to the apportionment.

The distinctions between objection to area and to amount of compensation are also borne out by other sections of the Act; see Sections 9, 11, 19(d) and 20(c). The appellants' objection was manifestly only to the amount of compensation and was correctly so described by the Collector in making the references......Once therefore it is ascertained that the only objection taken is to the amount of compensation, that alone is the 'matter' referred, and the Court has no power to determine or consider anything beyond it.'

18. Mr. Kotwal pointed out that this view of the Privy Council has been accepted, approved and followed by the Supreme Court in : [1964]3SCR382 State of Bihar v. Kundan Singh. That was a case where in a reference under Section 18(1) the claimant sought to raise a plea under Section 49 of the Act viz. that the whole of the house property should have been acquired and not part of the house property, but the Supreme Court took the view that such a plea must form part of different proceedings taken by the claimant under Section 49 and could not form part of the reference. In our view there is no dispute with regard to the proposition of law enunciated by the Privy Council in the aforesaid decision which was followed by the Supreme Court in : [1964]3SCR382 (supra), but all that the Privy Council as well as the Supreme Court has pointed out is that Section 18(1) indicates the heads of objection that can be taken to the award and such heads or grounds of objection could be (1) to the measurement of the land; (2) to the amount of compensation; (3) to the persons to whom it was payable and (4) to the apportionment thereof among the persons interested. In our view, neither the Privy Council nor the Supreme Court was concerned with the question with which we are dealing viz. what could be regarded as the essential contents of the award and whether the reasons or the basis on which compensation has been fixed by the Collector or the Special Land Acquisition Officer forms one of the essential contents of the award or not and further whether knowledge of such essential contents is required to be brought home to the claimants seeking reference before the period of limitation of six weeks could commence for the purpose of preferring an application for reference. On this aspect of the matter in our view, there were two judgments ofthe Supreme Court which throw considerable light, the first one is Raja Harish Chandra Raj Singh's case : [1962]1SCR676 and the other reported in : [1964]1SCR971 State of Punjab v. Qaisar Jehan Begum. In the former case, the Supreme Court was concerned with the latter part of proviso (b) to Section 18(2) and the question pertained to the proper interpretation of the phrase 'the date of the Collector's award' occurring in the said proviso and after dealing at length with the true legal nature of the award made by the Collector under Section 11 of the Act, the Supreme Court took the view that strictly in law, the award made by the Collector could be regarded as an offer made by the Collector on behalf of the State Government to the claimant and since that was the true nature of the award made by the Collector under Section 12, an element of communication to the claimant was necessary before the period of limitation could commence under the second part of proviso (b) to Section 18(2) and the Supreme Court held that the phrase 'the date of the Collector's award' occurring in the latter part of proviso (b) must mean the date when the award is either communicated to the party or comes to his knowledge either actually or constructively and it was from such actual or constructive knowledge of the award that the period of limitation was held to have commenced. In para 5 of the judgment, this is what the Supreme Court has observed :--

'In dealing with this question it is relevant to bear in mind the legal character of the award made by the Collector under Section 12. In a sense it is a decision of the Collector reached by him after holding an enquiry as prescribed by the Act. It is a decision, inter alia, in respect of the amount of compensation which should be paid to the person interested in the property acquired; but legally the award cannot be treated as a decision; it is in law an offer or tender of the compensation determined by the Collector to the owner of the property under acquisition. If the owner accepts the offer no further proceeding is required to be taken; the amount is paid and compensation proceedings are concluded If, however, the owner does not accept the offer Section 18 gives him the statutory right of having the question determined by Court, and it is theamount of compensation which the Court may determine that would bind both the owner and the Collector. In that case, it is on the amount thus determined judicially that the acquisition proceedings would be concluded. It is because of this nature of the award that the award can be appropriately described as a tender or offer made by the Collector on behalf of the Government to the owner of the property for his acceptance. ..... Therefore, if the award made by the Collector is in law nomore than an offer made on behalf ofthe Government to the owner of theproperty then the making of the awardas properly understood must involve thecommunication of the offer to the partyconcerned. That is the normal requirement under the contract law and its applicability to cases of award made under the Act cannot be reasonably excluded. Thus considered the date ofthe award cannot be determined solelyby reference to the time when theaward is signed by the Collector or delivered by him in his office; it must involve the consideration of the questionas to when it was known to the partyconcerned either actually or constructively. If that be the true position thenthe literal and mechanical constructionof the words 'the date of the award'occurring in the relevant section wouldnot be appropriate.' .

19. The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Allahabad High Court and held that the application made by the appellant seeking reference was not barred under the latter part of proviso (b) to Section 18(2) of the Act. From this decision, one aspect which emerges very clearly is that no literal or mechanical interpretation of the expression 'the date of the Collector's award' occurring in the latter part of proviso (b) was to be made and having regard to the true character and nature of the Collector's award, the same being an offer or tender made by the Collector on behalf of the Government, it was held that an element of communication was necessary and the Court held that the period of limitation prescribed under proviso (b) to Section 18(2) would commence not merely from the date when the Collector made or actually signed the award or filed the same, but from the date of notice of that award either constructively or actually to the claimant. Mr. Rege relied upon this decision principally for the purpose of contending that by parity ofreasoning, in the earlier part of proviso (b) also the expression 'receipt of the notice' should not be similarly literally or mechanically construed, but that the expression should be construed in the sense that it must be the receipt of effective notice of the award. The effective notice of the award according to Mr. Rege would mean notice of the essential contents of the award. Since both these types of clauses have been clubbed together in one and the same proviso viz. proviso (b) to Section 18 of the Act, we find considerable force in the submission urged by Mr. Rege before us. If the words 'receipt of the notice' occurring in the first part of proviso (b) are literally or mechanically construed, all that it would mean is that even if the claimants have bare notice of the fact of the Collector having made the award, it would be sufficient for the commencement of the period of limitation prescribed therein, which in our view could never have been intended by the Legislature as we shall presently point out.

20. The other decision is more apposite on the point as to the necessity of essential contents of the award being brought home to a claimant before the period of limitation could commence against him. In Mst. Qaisar Jehan Begum's case : [1964]1SCR971 , it was the very second part of proviso (b) to Section 18(2) that had come up for consideration and the Court took the view that a literal and mechanical construction of the words 'six months from the date of the Collector's award' occurring in the second part of proviso (b) would not be appropriate and the knowledge of the party affected by the award, either actual or constructive, being an essential requirement of fair play and natural justice, the expression used in the proviso must mean the date when the award was either communicated to the party or was known by him either actually or constructively. It was a case where notice under Section 12(2) had not been served and the question was when the award was never communicated to the party, when could the party be said to come to know the award either actually or constructively and in the context of that question the Supreme Court in para 5 of its judgment observed thus:--

'......... Now, knowledge of the award does not mean a mere knowledge of the, fact that an award has been made. The knowledge must relate to the essentialcontents of the award. These contents may be known either actually or constructively.'

21. It is true that in that case relying upon the uncontradicted evidence of the claimant herself the Court came to the conclusion that though notice under Section 12(2) of the Act had not been served, the claimant had come to know about the acquisition of the land and the award on a certain date viz. 22-7-1955 the date on which compensation was paid and since the application for reference was within the prescribed period of limitation from that date the Court took the view that the reference application was within time and not barred. The aforesaid decision therefore is a clear authority for the proposition that knowledge of the award does not mean mere knowledge of the fact of the award having been made but knowledge must mean knowledge of the essential contents of the award and it would be from the date when the petitioners seeking reference come to have knowledge of the essential contents of the award, that the period of limitation prescribed in proviso (b) would commence.

22. The question therefore that arises for our determination is as to whether the three items mentioned in Section 11 viz. the true area of the land, the compensation which should be allowed for the land and the apportionment thereof are the only essential contents of the award of whether the reasons or the basis on which compensation has been fixed or arrived at and the several heads under which the same right have been granted also constitute the essential contents of the award, for it has been the contention of Mr. Kotwal that only those three items which are specified in Section 11 of which the petitioners are apprised and of which generally notice under Section 12(2) is given to the claimant would alone constitute the essential contents of the award. On the other hand, Mr. Rege has contended that apart from these three items the reasons or the basis on which compensation has been awarded as well as the heads under which several amounts of compensation have been offered would also constitute the essential contents of the award without the knowledge of which the claimants would not be enabled to state their grounds of objection in their application for reference as contemplated by Section 18(2). On this aspect of the matter thereis one compelling factor which must be borne in mind and that factor arises because of Article 15 in Schedule I to the Bombay Court-Fees Act, 1959 having been introduced for the first time under which the claimants or applicants seeking a reference have to pay one-half of the ad valorem court-fees of their claims while seeking a reference, and there is yet one more factor viz. the necessity for the claimants to make up their mind whether to go in for the reference or not and on which points the claimants would naturally be entitled to consult their legal advisers. Now for both those purposes, it would be necessary that the claimants should not merely have knowledge of the reasons or the basis on which compensation has been fixed by the Collector or the Special Land Acquisition Officer but should also be furnished with particulars regarding the several heads under which some items of such compensation are offered by the Collector in his award as without such knowledge it would be impossible for the claimants to file their application for reference stating the grounds of objection to the award and it would be impossible for them to calculate the ad valorem Court-fees that would be payable by them in respect of the claims preferred by them in their application. It was not disputed before us by Mr. Kotwal that under the Court-Fees Act, 1870, there was no provision requiring the applicant making an application seeking reference to pay ad valorem Court-fees in respect of the claim which he wanted to get adjudicated from a Civil Court and such a provision was for the first time introduced in the Bombay Court-Fees Act, 1959 by insertion of Article 15 in Schedule I under which it has been provided that for an application to the Collector for a reference to the Court under Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, in its application to the Bombay area or the Vidarbha region of the State of Maharashtra or Section 14 of the Land Acquisition Act in its application to the Hyderabad area of the State, as the case may be, one-half of ad valorem fee on the difference, if any, between the amount awarded by the Collector and the amount claimed by the applicant, according to the scale prescribed under Article I of Schedule I, subject to a minimum fee of Rs. 15, is liable to be payable. In view of this provision we fail to appreciate as to how the claimantmaking an application seeking a reference to the Civil Court against the Collector's award would be in a position to calculate the quantum of ad valorem Court-fees payable by him unless he has full particulars not only about the reasons or the basis on which the total quantum of compensation fixed by the Collector has been arrived at and the rate at which such compensation has been fixed, but also the several heads Under which some items of compensation might have been awarded. It is conceivable that in a given case, not merely open areas of land but also items like houses, wells, trees, etc., might be acquired and for each of these items some amount of compensation might have been fixed by the Collector or the Special Land Acquisition Officer while arriving at the total amount of compensation payable to the claimant. Admittedly, the notice under Section 12(2) that is served upon the claimants does not contain any such particulars whatsoever. Therefore, unless particulars in the above behalf are made available to the claimants, it would be impossible for the claimants to decide what would be the quantum of ad valorem Court-fees payable by them on their application for reference. Secondly, even if total compensation merely for an open plot or area of land is fixed and is made known to the applicant seeking a reference and from the total area and total quantum the rate awarded becomes known to him, he would not be in a position to decide whether he should at all make an application for reference or not without being in possession of the reasoning or basis on which such rate has been fixed. It stands also to reason that before the applicant decides to go in for a reference, he should be enabled to obtain legal advice in the matter and it seems to us that no legal advice would be available unless the aforesaid particulars including the reasons or the basis for fixing compensation is made available to him for legal consultation. In our view therefore, apart from the three items mentioned in Section 11 of the Act which go to comprise the award of the Collector, the other particulars indicated above including the reasons or the basis on which the quantum of compensation has been fixed and offered would also constitute the essential contents of the award and unless the petitioners or the claimants are posted with knowledge of theseparticulars including the reasons or the basis for fixing compensation, it would not be possible for them to file a proper application for reference stating the grounds of objection to the award. It is true as was pointed out by Mr. Kotwal that there is unquestionable difference between the type of award which the Collector is called upon to make under Section 11 and the tope of award which the Court is required to make under Section 26 of the Act. It is also true that the Collector while making his award under Section 11 of the Act is not bound to give 'a reasoned judgment' as has been held by this Court in AIR 1935 Bom 319 (supra), but that is far from saying that while making his award the Collector or the Special Land Acquisition Officer should not indicate in his award his reasons or the basis on which compensation is determined by him or specify different items of compensation offered under several heads of compensation or that he should merely give his conclusions on the three points mentioned in Section 11 of the Act. In fact as we have pointed out earlier, under Section 11 an inquiry into the measurement, the value and the claims is contemplated at the hands of the Collector or the Special Land Acquisition Officer and during the course of the inquiry, the Collector or the Special Land Acquisition Officer would either accept what the claimant has claimed or may reject it on certain grounds and may arrive at compensation on certain other basis, but such basis on which compensation is fixed and the other particulars and the different heads of property must form part of his award and these things in our view would constitute the essential contents of the award without knowledge of which it would be utterly impossible for any claimant to make his application for reference stating the grounds of his objection to the award. If that be the correct position, we are clearly of the view that the phrase 'within six weeks of the receipt of the notice' occurring in the first part of proviso (b) to Section 18(2) must be interpreted to mean within six weeks from the receipt of effective notice meaning thereby from the receipt of the knowledge of the essential contents of the award by the claimants including the reasons or the basis on which the quantum of compensation has been fixed as also the other particulars mentioned above. Such construction to our mind would be the most fair and rea-sonable and in our view the period of six weeks limitation prescribed under the first part of proviso (b) to Section 18(2) would commence from the receipt of such effective notice. Admittedly, in the instant case, the notice under Section 12(2) did not give the essential contents of the award to the petitioners when the notice was served upon them on 4-1-1974 but the effective notice of the essential contents of the award could be said to have been served upon the petitioners only when the copy of the award was made available to them or became ready for delivery to them as applied by them which was on 1-3-1974 and since the application for reference was made within the prescribed period from that date onwards, the same would be within time.

23. Mr. Kotwal has contended relying upon certain observations made by the Supreme Court is Mst. Qaiser Jehan Begum's case : [1964]1SCR971 , that in that case the Supreme Court could be said to have accepted the position that when notice under Section 12(2) was served upon the claimant, the claimant must be taken to be fixed with the knowledge of the contents of the award notwithstanding the position that such notice contains merely the three particulars viz. the true area of the land, the quantum of compensation and the apportionment thereof. In support of this submission, Mr. Kotwal in the first instance pointed out that on the admitted facts the case before the Supreme Court did not fall within either proviso (a) or the first part of proviso (b) to Section 18(2), for admittedly no notice under Section 12(2) had been served upon the claimant in that case. But on the general position arising on the aspect as to what should be the effect of the service of the notice under Section 12(2) he invited our attention to the following passage which occurs in paragraph 5 of the judgment:--

'The knowledge must relate to the essential contents of the award. These contents may be known either actually or constructively. If the award is communicated to a party under Section 12(2) of the Act, the party must be obviously fixed with knowledge of the contents of the award whether he reads it or not.'

24. Relying on this passege, Mr. Kotwal contended that the Supreme Court could be said to have taken the view that if once notice under Section 12(2) isserved upon the party, the party could be taken to have been fixed with the knowledge of the contents of the award and therefore it would be from the date of such service of the notice on the party that the period of limitation would commence. It is not possible to accept this submission of Mr. Kotwal for more than one reason. In the first instance, as we have pointed out earlier, what constitutes essential contents of the award was not the subject-matter of any issue before the Supreme Court in that case but the Supreme Court merely laid down the general proposition that knowledge of the award must mean knowledge of the essential contents of the award. What would constitute the essential contents of the award was not decided by the Supreme Court and in that behalf for the reasons which we have already indicated above, in our view, not merely the three items which are included in the notice under Section 12(2) constitute the essentials of the award, but the essential contents of the award would also include the reasons or the basis on which compensation is fixed and the other particulars mentioned earlier. Secondly, the particular passage on which Mr. Kotwal has relied cannot, if properly read in the context of the facts in the case, lead to the inference suggested by Mr. Kotwal. The Supreme Court has nowhere stated that mere service of the notice under Section 12(2) would amount to fixing the party with the knowledge of all the essential contents of the award.

25. We may now briefly refer to a couple of decisions on which Mr. Rege relied in which a similar view which we have taken above has been taken. The Mysore High Court in the case of Special Land Acquisition Officer. H.D.P. Ghataprabha v. Aparai Krishna Gadakari reported in AIR 1973 Mys 22, has clearly indicated what according to it constitutes the essential contents of the award. In that case, after making the award, the Land Acquisition Officer issued notices to the interested parties under Section 12(2). The notice only mentioned the amount of compensation and not the grounds of the award. The claimants filed petition for reference under Section 18 after obtaining a copy of the award. The question was whether the application was within the prescribed period of limitation of 90 days as mentioned in the Mysore amendment ofSection 18(2). The learned single Judge of the Mysore High Court has taken the view that the limitation of 90 days as mentioned in Section 18(2) starts from the knowledge of the award, either actually or constructively and the knowledge of the award must relate to the essential contents of the award and that such knowledge of the essential contents of the award was obtained when the certified copy of the award was received by the claimant and therefore the petition seeking reference was filed within the prescribed period of limitation. In terms the Court has taken the view that as the notices issued under Section 12(2) only mentioned the amount of compensation without mentioning the grounds of the award, there was no substantial compliance of Section 12(1) and therefore the knowledge of the award could not be inferred from the service of such defective notices and the knowledge of the essential contents was obtained when the certified copy of the award was received by the claimants.

26. In Civil Revision Application No. 583 of 1973 decided on 29-4-1974 (Bom), Mr. Justice Apte has also taken the view that mere service of the notice under Section 12(2) in the form in which it is usually issued does not bring home knowledge of the essential contents of the award to the claimant. The learned Judge in this behalf has observed thus:--

'The notice does not disclose as to how the Special Land Acquisition Officer arrived at the particular figure of compensation. In other words, it does not disclose the reasoning or the grounds which weighed with the Special Land Acquisition Officer in fixing the amount Nafis-ud-Dinof compensation of Rs. 30,752.15. Without such material in the notice it is therefore difficult to follow as to how the petitioner should make up his mind as to whether he should or should not make an application to refer the matter to the Court under Section 18(1) of the Act. In order to decide as to whether he should or should not make such application it is necessary that he should be supplied with the essential contents of the award including even the reasoning and the grounds which weighed with the Special Land Acquisition Officer in determining the amount of compensation. This is particularly so because under Section 18(2) the person aggrieved by the award of the Collector is required to state the grounds on which objectionto the award is taken. The wording in this Sub-section is mandatory because it says that the application shall state the grounds on which the objection to the award is taken. Now if the claimant is not furnished with the material which would enable him to set out such grounds, it is difficult to hold that he has been given proper notice of the award as required by Section 12(2).'

27. At another place, the learned Judge has observed thus:--

'To sum up, therefore, it appears to me that the notice which is contemplated by Section 12(2) of the Act does not only mean a formal notice giving only the area acquired, the amount of compensation awarded and its apportionment among the several claimants. But it has to be interpreted in a wider sense as including the essential contents of the award which in my view mean the reasoning or the grounds on which the Land Acquisition Officer arrived at his conclusion as regards the amount of compensation and its apportionment and also the acquired area.'

28. The aforesaid two judgments on which reliance was placed by Mr. Rege do support his contention and they are in accord with the view which we have taken in the earlier part of our judgment.

29. So far as the contrary view which has been taken by Lentin, J. in Civil Revision Application No. 645 of 1970 decided on 10-2-1975 (Bom), is concerned, it may be pointed out that the learned Judge was not willing to accept and subscribe to the view taken by Apte, J. though the said judgment was brought to his notice principally on the ground that according to him, the question had been concluded by the two decisions of the Supreme Court viz. : [1962]1SCR676 and : [1964]1SCR971 (supra). It does appear therefore that the learned Judge who disposed of Civil Revision Application No. 645 of 1970 seems to have taken the view that the point as to what constitutes the essential contents of the award has been properly concluded by the aforesaid two decisions. As we have pointed out earlier, the first decision nowhere touches the aspect of what constitutes essential contents of the award and the second decision merely lays down the general proposition that knowledge of essential contents of the award is necessary before the limitation can commence. But actually what constitutes the essential contents of the award was never the subject-matter of that decision. In view of this it would be difficult for us to subscribe to the view taken by Lentin J. in Civil Revision Application No. 645 of 1970,

30. Having regard to the above discussion, in our view the learned Joint Judge was clearly in error in taking the view that the reference was not maintainable inasmuch as the application for reference itself was barred by time. For the reasons indicated above, the limitation of six weeks prescribed by the first part of proviso (b) to Section 18(2) would commence from the date when the effective notice was served upon the petitioners which in the instant case would be on 1-3-1974 when the copy of the award was ready for delivery to them and since from that day the application for reference was made within the prescribed period of limitation, the same was well within time.

31. In view of our above conclusion on the main point we have thought it unnecessary to deal with or discuss the other contentions that were urged by Mr. Rege.

32. In the result the rule is therefore made absolute in terms of prayer (a) and the matter is remanded back to the trial Court for disposal of the reference according to law.

33. In Civil Revision Application No. 783 of 1975 also the rule is made absolute in terms of prayer (b). The impugned order of the Joint Judge is quashed and the matter is remanded back to the trial Court for disposal of the reference according to law.

34. In Civil Revision Application No. 736 of 1975 also the rule is made absolute and the Collector's order dated 31-5-1975 rejecting the reference application is set aside and the Collector is directed to make the reference to the Civil Court. The respondents will pay the costs to the petitioners in each matter.

35. Rule made absolute; Cases remanded.


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