1. This is an application for revision under Section 18(3) of the Land Acquisition Act and is preferred by the Corporation of the City of Nagpur. The application arises out of proceedings taken for the acquisition of a certain area of land from a field Servey No. 163 of Nagpur which belonged to the non-applicant Narendrakumar. The notification under which the acquisition was made was dated 10-8-1955 and the public purpose notified therein was 'for construction of road from Chhindwara road to village Takli'. In the proceedings before the Land Acquisition Officer, the Corporation was permitted to intervene under the provision of Section 50(2) for the purpose of determining the amount of compensation. It appears that after the award was made on 28-4-1956, the Corporation was dissatisfied with the award and, therefore, applied under Section 18 of the Act of the Land Acquisition Officer to make a reference to the Civil Court. The Land Acquisition Officer rejected that application in limine upon the ground that the applicant Corporation was not a person interested in the compensation within the meaning of Section 18 and was therefore not entitled to move an application for making a reference. This is the order impugned in the present revision.
2. Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act runs as follows:
'18. (1) Any person interested who has not accepted the award 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.
(2) The application shall state the grounds on which objection to the award 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, within six weeks from the date of the Collector's award;
(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 whichever period shall first expire.'
3. Section 3(b) defines 'person interested' as follows:
'the expression 'person interested' includes all person claiming an interest in compensation to be made on account of the acquisition of land under this Act; and a person shall be deemed to be interested in land if he is interested in an easement affecting the land;'
4. Now, the scheme of the Land Acquisition Act appears to be that in every case of acquisition, it is only the Local Government that can acquire land, and for every acquisition, compensation has to be paid. A perusal of Part V of the Act indicates that the duty to pay compensation is solely that of the Local Government. Therefore, in the entire proceedings from the time of the issued of the notification under Section 6 till the payment of compensation, the parties interested in the acquisition are in law the owner of the property and Government who acquires the property.
5. No doubt, Government acquires property on behalf of an individual company or statutory Corporation. But having regard to the scheme of the Act it does not appear that these parties can become parties to the proceedings except to the limited extent indicated in Section 50(2) of the Land Acquisition Act. Section 50(2) runs as follows:
'In any proceeding held before a Collector or court in such cases the local authority or company concerned may appear and adduce evidence for the purpose of determining the amount of compensation:
Provided that no such local authority or company shall be entitled to demand a reference under Section 18.'
6. The question that arises for consideration, therefore, is whether this limited right given to a local authority or company for whom an acquisition is being made to intervene and adduce evidence for the purpose of determining the amount of compensation gives the local authority or company such an interest in the award as is contemplated in Section 18(1) so as to entitle the local authority or Corporation to ask for a reference under that section.
7. In the first place, as I have shown, the company or local authority for whom an acquisition is being made is not legally the person who has to pay the compensation so far as the scheme of the Act is concerned. The only parties who may be said to be interested in the payment of compensation are the Government which alone can legally acquire the land and of course the owner whose land is being acquired. Section 50(2), in my opinion, cannot be construed to enlarge the right of the local authority or Corporation beyond the right expressly mentioned therein, namely, to appear and adduce evidence for the purpose of determining the compensation. The local authority or Corporation do not by virtue of that right become parties to the acquisition proceedings.
8. Even if there were any doubt upon the terms of the provisions of Sub-section (2) of Section 50 read along with Section 18(1) that doubt is clearly removed by the proviso to Sub-section (2) of Section 50. The proviso categorically bars the right of the local authority or company to demand a reference under Section 18. This view has support in the authority of Municipal Corporation of Palma v. Jogendra Narain Raikut, 13 Cal WN 116, with which I am in respectful agreement.
9. Mr. S.M. Hajarnavis on behalf of the applicant Corporation urged that Section 18(1) gives him the right and that Section 50(2) cannot control the provisions of Section 18(1). According to him, when Section 18(1) says that any person interested who has not accepted the award may, by written application to the Collector, require that the matter be referred by the Collector for the determination of the Court, it can only apply to a person interested in the payment of compensation. He referred to the definition in Section 3(b) of the Act where 'person interested' is defined as including 'all persons claiming an interest in compensation to be made on account of the acquisition of land under this Act.'
10. But, even the provisions of Section 3(b) read with Section 18(1) do not carry the matter any further, because, as I have said, the person for whom the property is being acquired is not the person paying the compensation. The compensation is paid by Government though it may be that it ultimately emanates from the person for whom the acquisition is being made. In my opinion, the words 'claiming an interest in compensation' in Section 3(b) must be limited to the person who pays the compensation under the Act, namely, the Government. It cannot, in any case, include within that expression the person for whom the acquisition is being made.
11. Moreover, it appears to me that Section 50(2) expressly and in terms controls Section 18 and takes away the right from the local authority or company for whom the land is being acquired to demand a reference under Section 18. Whatever may have been the object of the law, in my opinion, the language of Section 50(2) is plain and must be given effect to. Upon this view, the order of the Land Acquisition Officer was a correct order.
12. The application for revision fails and is dismissed with costs.
13. Revision rejected.