1. This is a Letters Patent Appeal filed by the Appellant the State of Maharashtra, impugning the Judgment and Order passed by this Court in First Appeal No. 185 of 1965, D/- 19-9-1973.
2. The Respondents herein were the owners of an immovable property, being plot No. 8539, and one-third owners of plot No. 8540. Both plots Nos. 8539 and 8540 were acquired by the Government for the purpose of the construction of Railway Police Quarters at Miraj. A notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 was published on 20th October 1960. Thereafter, the Land Acquisition Officer published his Award dated 30th June 1961 whereunder an amount of Rs. 3,680/-was awarded as compensation to the Respondents herein as owners of plot No. 8539 and part owners of plot No. 8540. The Respondents thereafter called upon the Collector to make a Reference to the Civil Court under Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act. The Respondents also claimed compensation at Rs. 9,000/- as proper and adequate compensation.
3. The Reference was heard by the learned Civil Judge, Senior Division. Sangli. The Appellant herein, contended before the learned Civil Judge that the claimants had failed to make any specific amount of claim for compensation in reply to the Notice under Section 9 of the Land Acquisition Act. That being the case, their claim for enhanced compensation was inadmissible under Section 25(2) of the said Act. The learned Civil Judge was pleased to uphold the contention of the Government and the learned Civil Judge dismissed the Reference with costs. The learned Civil Judge, however, held that in the event of it being held that the reply under Section 9(2) was proper, then the Claimants, that is, the Respondents herein, were entitled to compensation at the rate of Rs. 1-2-0 per sq. foot as against 8 annas per sq. foot awarded by the Land Acquisition Officer.
4. The Respondents herein thereafter filed First Appeal, being First Appeal No. 185 of 1965, against the Judgment and Order of the learned Civil Judge, Senior Division, Sangli.
5. The learned Single Judge hearing the First Appeal in this Court was of the view that neither Section 9 nor Section 25 required a specific amount of compensation in terms of rupees and paise to be specified in the reply to the Notice under Section 9 given by the Land Acquisition Officer. The learned Judge was also of the view that the provisions of Section 25(2) were not attracted to the present case since the claimants had asked for a reasonable and fair compensation.
6. The State of Maharashtra has now filed this Letters Patent Appeal against the judgment and Order passed by the learned Judge in the First Appeal dated 19th September 1973 whereunder the learned Single Judge was pleased to award enhanced compensation at the rate of Rs. 1-2-0 per sq. foot and to enhance the amount of compensation to Rs. 7,200/- plus 15 per cent solatium together with interest at 4 per cent per annum on the said amount.
7. Mrs. Shenoy, the learned Assistant Government Pleader appearing on behalf of the State of Maharashtra, has submitted that the learned Single Judge had erred in coming to the conclusion that the provisions of Section 9(2) of the Land Acquisition Act did not require a specific amount of compensation to be mentioned by the claimants, Mrs. Shenoy submitted that it was imperative for the Claimants to mention the amount and the particulars of their claim to compensation and as the Respondents herein had only asked for
ILR (1963) 1 Ker 398
'Section 9(2) is very clear that the plaintiffs must specify in their statement the amount which they claim as compensation for the land to be acquired and Section 25, Clause (2), makes the refusal or omission to comply with the provisions of Section 9, Clause (2) without sufficient cause an absolute bar to the applicant in the reference obtaining a greater Sum than that awarded by the Collector. As such it has to be held that the lower court was right in holding that the claimants are not entitled to enhanced compensation as they did not in their statement before the Land Acquisition Officer in answer to the notice under Section 9(2) of the Land Acquisition Act claim any specific amount as compensation for the land to be acquired.'
8. The other ruling which Mrs. Shenoy cited before us was of the Supreme Court in the case of Dilawarsab Babusab Mullasab v. Special Land Acquisition Officer, : AIR1974SC2333 . In that case their Lordships were pleased to observe:--
'Considering also the fact that in three of these appeals at least; the parties had riot appeared before the Land Acquisition Officer and put forward any specific amount as the compensation due they would not have been entitled to any compensation higher than what was awarded by the Land Acquisition Officer.'
9. Relying upon the above rulings, Mrs. Shenoy submitted that the Respondents herein not having claimed a specific amount in their statement before the Land Acquisition Officer, they were not entitled to any amount in excess of what was awarded by the Land Acquisition Officer.
10. In order to appreciate Mrs. Shenoy's submission, it will be relevant to consider the relevant provisions of the Land Acquisition Act. Sections 9(1) and (2) provide as follows-:
'9. (1) The Collector shall then cause public notice to be given at convenient places on or near the land to be taken, stating that the Government intends to take possession of the land, and that claims to compensation for all interests in such land may be made to him.
(2) Such notice shall state the particulars of the land so needed, and shall require all persons interested in the land to appear personally or by agent before the Collector at a time and place therein mentioned (such time not being earlier than fifteen days after the date of publication of the notice), and to state the nature of their respective interests in the land and the amount and particulars of their claims to compensation for such interests, and their objections (if any) to the measurements made under Section 8. The Collector may in any case require such statement to be made in writing and signed by the party or his agent.'
11. On a reading of Section 9(2), it is obvious that the person interested in the land on receiving the notice under Section 9(1) must claim before the Land Acquisition Officer a specific amount and also state the particulars of his claim to compensation.
12. Section 25, Clauses (1), (2) and (3) provide as follows:--
'25. (1) When the applicant has made a claim to compensation, pursuant to any notice given under Section 9, the amount awarded to him by the Court shall not exceed the amount so claimed or be less than the amount awarded by the Collector under Section 11.
(2) When the applicant has refused to make such claim or has omitted without sufficient reason (to be allowed by the Judge) to make such claim, the amount awarded by the Court shall in no case exceed the amount awarded by the Collector.
(3) When the applicant has omitted for a sufficient reason (to be allowed by the Judge) to make such claim the amount awarded to him by the Court shall not be less than, and may exceed, the amount awarded by the Collector.'
13. Section 25(2) provides for a contingency where the owner has either refused to make a claim or has omitted to make a claim without sufficient reason in which case the Court cannot award any amount exceeding the amount awarded by the Collector.
14. As pointed out by us earlier, the Respondents herein, who were the claimants before the Land Acquisition Officer, had not mentioned any particular amount of compensation claimed by them. All that they stated was that they were entitled to
'In none of these sections, does the law require the exact amount of compensation to be specified by the claimants. If the Legislature wanted the claimants to specify the amount in rupees and paise they could have very well done so; but the Legislature knew that the art and science of valuation of land are not known to every claimant in the country. If, therefore, the claimant who was wise enough not to speculate blindly about the valuation, chose to claim only reasonable or proper valuation, ^^lq;ksX;**valuation, as in the instant case, it cannot be said that there was anything in Section 9 or Section 25 which prevented the claimant from making such a claim or the Court from granting adequate compensation.'
15. In our view, the Respondents lad not made a specific claim in their reply Ex. 24 in accordance with Section 9(2) of the Land Acquisition Act. That being the case, under Section 25(2) the Respondents had omitted to make a claim and that too without sufficient reason. We do not find anything on the record which could be construed as sufficient reason for omitting to make a claim. We are, therefore, of the opinion that the provisions of Section 25(2) would apply and the Court could not grant any amount in excess of the amount awarded by the Collector. The Letters Patent Appeal filed by the State of Maharashtra will, therefore, have to be allowed.
16. The Letters Patent Appeal filed by the State of Maharashtra is allowed. There will be no order as to the costs.
17. Before parting with this matter, we should like to observe that in this case, the Respondents are one-third owners of Plot No. 8540 and, according to our Judgment, they would be entitled only to the compensation granted by the Collector, that is, at the rate of 8 annas per sq. foot. However, in respect of the two-third of Plot No. 8540, the learned Civil Judge, Senior Division, was pleased to grant compensation at the rate of Rs. 1-2-0 per sq. foot. There, therefore, appears to be an anomaly in respect of the same plot of land and in order to obviate the same, we would recommend that the State of Maharashtra may not insist upon the return of the compensation granted by this Court in First Appeal No. 185 of 1965.
18. Appeal allowed.