Norman Macleod, Kt., C.J.
1. This is an appeal from the decision of the Assistant Judge of Thana on a reference under Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act. The land in question measures 13 acres and 27 gunthas, and is situate at Chernbur. The Acquiring Officer awarded compensation at the rate of Rs. 2,000 per acre for the agricultural lands, 13 acres and 21 gunthas, and Rs. 833 for the remaining portion of the land, plus 15 per cent thereon, Most of the lands were notified for acquisition on December 5, 1918, and the remainder on June 23, 1919, The total amount awarded by the Collector was Rs. 27,908. The claimant asked for an award of Rs. 46,478 +15 per cent for compulsory acquisition. The Judge increased the award by Rs. 16,037-8-0. The Government of Bombay being dissatisfied with that decision have appealed. It appears from the Notification that the land was leased for a period of eleven years from 1914. Two years prior to the notification, the rent under the lease was Rs. 600 per annum for the whole area. Then it was raised to Rs. 700 per annum. The total gross income of the whole property was Rs. 742. Deducting the non-agricultural rent of Rs. 5, the net income was Rs. 737 per annum, Capitalizing the rent of the property, which would be realized on the basis of the land being used for agriculture, the amount comes to Rs. 12,284. Admitting that there were certain possibilities of the land fetching more than its agricultural value in the market, owing to a certain amount of speculation, the Collector awarded Rs. 27,908, which was more than twice its agricultural value, The Judge said:-
The building potentiality of the land within no distant time or within a short time is taken for granted by both aides. In the public mind also there has been created almost a certainty that in no distant time the Chembur village will become an important suburb of Bombay (as it is very likely now) from various incidents. According to the claimant's witness, Exhibit 60, a Municipal servant of Bombay residing at Kurla, the Bombay Municipality in 1914 decided to allow the G.I.P. Railway to open their Kurla-Devnor Katchra Siding Railway line for passenger traffic, and in 1915 or 1919 the G.I.P. Railway actually erected a platform near Chembur and opposite the Municipal quarters. The Governments expert deposes 'Any tangible enquiry for lands in Chembur commenced in 1914 and remained the same for five years. The values were increasing year by year. The high speculation for land purchasing commenced about the middle of 1919 and reached its zenith at the end of that year. Then it commenced its downward movement. There have sprung up few buildings but there might arise a rise in values of lands without buildings springing up because the people have to await the development by Government by way of roads and railways.
2. The Judge then annexed a list of sales of properties in the neighbourhood commencing from June 1916 till December 1919. The marked rise in the values appearing in the sale-deeds from July 25, 1919, showed that there was speculation in the purchase of lands after the middle of 1919. The claimant says that this speculation must have been gradually increasing from an earlier date. It is quite true that 5 acres out of the land acquired were acquired in June 1919, and the plaintiff was entitled to ask us to take that fact into consideration, I do not know why the land was not notified altogether in 1918. But in a case like this where a large area of 13 acres has to be valued, it is impossible to fix the value of various portions of it at different rates on anything like approaching an accurate basis. The only way in which the market value can be arrived at is to judge from other sales what the whole land would have been likely to realize in the market somewhere between December 1918 and June 1919, and in oases of this kind I deprecate the suggestion of some of the witnessess that we should give one value to so much of front land, and divide again the interior land into saparate portions and value them again at different rates. In a neighbourhood like this where there were only scattered buildings, and nothing in the nature of a regular residential neighbourhood, although persona were acquiring here and there a few small plots fronting on the road, either for speculation or for the purpose of putting up buildings of a residential character, there does not appear to be any evidence , to show that if the claimant had put his 13A acres for sale into the market anybody would have been ho rash as to have given to him anything like the compensation he is being paid by Government. It might have been likely that a few gunthas fronting on the back road which according to the plan, was the southern boundary to Survey Nos. 260, 261, 262 and 263 would be sold. As a matter of fact he could not have sold himself, as the whole land was let out on lease. Still for the purpose of valuation, we may assume that the whole land is available as freehold placed on the market. But if a few of the frontage plots were sold, there is no evidence that the remainder of the land could be sold for building purposes, and that is a fact which we find in so many cases has not been recognised, where attempts have been made to value the potentiality of land like this. It is altogether wrong to assume that every square yard of land has a potential value, the present value of which is more than nominal. Even assuming then that a small strip of land fronting the road I have mentioned would realize over Rs. 2,000 an acre, it is perfectly certain that the greater portion of the land at the back would not realize within any reasonable time more than its agricultural value. From the instances of sales before June 1919 it does not appear that even the best plots of land of small area, evidently purchased for building purposes, realized more than Rs. 2,500 an acre. (Instances (0) and (F) include land and buildings.) Their agricultural value was under Rs. 1,000 an acre. It is clear that if the appellant could have found a purchaser for the front area at Rs. 2,500 an acre he could not have sold the rest for more than Rs. 1,000 an acre. Taking the average of Rs. 2,000 '11 over awarded by the Acquiring Officer, we think that was a very liberal award to the claimant for his property. W e think, therefore, that the appeal must be allowed and the award of the Collector restored with costs throughout.
3. I concur.