H.B. Datar, J.
1. The Special Land Acquisition Officer. Hidkal Dam Project. Ghatsprabha is the appellant in these appeals, filed under Section 54(2) of the Land Acquisition Act. All the three cases were clubbed together before the trial Court and a common judgment was given by the I Additional Civil Judge, Belgaum. The learned District Judge has also disposed of all the three appeals by a common judgment and that is why all these three appeals have been heard together and disposed of by this common Judgment.
2. Lands of the Claimants were acquired for the purpose of construction of Hidkal Dam and for working space in respect of the Dam at Hidkal. The notification was published on the 18th of October 1962 and the claimants being not satisfied with regard to the award of compensation, requested that thematter should be referred to the Court of the Civil Judge. On the reference being made, the Learned Civil Judge enhanced the compensation in all these cases. The correctness of the decisions was challenged before the appellate Court and the learned appellate Judge has confirmed the decision of the trial Court. That is how the appellant Special Land Acquisition Officer has preferred these three appeals before this Court.
3. The learned Government Pleader argues that the claims made by the claimants were untenable as petitions under Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act were filed beyond the period of limitation provided in the Act. It was also contended that as the claimants had not preferred any claims in pursuance of the notices issued to them under Section 9 of the Act, they were debarred from making such claims under Section 25(2) of the Act. It was finally urged that the award of compensation by the Land Acquisition Officer was proper and enhancement was not called for. Under the provisions of Section 18 of the Act. the claimants have to take steps for making a reference to the Court within 90 days as prescribed in Sub-section (2) of the Section 18 of the Act. The award was made on the 20th of November 1967. The case of the Land Acquisition Officer is that he issued notices under Section 12(2) of Act, on the date of the declaration of the award. But it was admitted that in the notice he had not mentioned the grounds of the award but had only mentioned the amount awarded. It has also come on record that the claimants obtained certified copies of the awards and thereafter they have filed their petitions. It is also not disputed that the claimants took the amount under protest. It was, therefore, held by the Courts below that the request for reference was in time. It has been held by their Lordships of the Supreme Court in the case of the State of Punjab v. Mst. Qaisar Jehan Begum. : 1SCR971 as follows:--
'Knowledge of the award does mean a mere knowledge of the fact that an award has been made. 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 ..... Having regard to the scheme of the Act knowledge of the award must mean knowledge of the essential contents of the award.'
This Court in the case of Kamala(sic)iammannivaru v. Special Land Acquisition Officer, Mysore, (1968 Mys LJ (SN) Item 96) has also taken the similar view. The legal position, therefore, is that the limitation starts when the claimants had the knowledge of the award either actually or constructively and the knowledge of the award must relate to the essential contents of the award. As it is undisputed that in the present cases such notices have not been given, the request made for reference is clearly in time. That is the view that has been taken by both the courts below and I do not find any error of law in the said decisions.
4. It was further argued that in any event the claim made by the claimants was barred under Section 25(2) of the Act It was submitted that the claimants who had been served with the notice under Section 9 of the Act, must be treated as either having refused to make such claim or have omitted without sufficient reason to make such claim, and therefore, they are not entitled to enhanced compensation. It is necessary to note that this objection was specifically raised in the objection statement filed by the Special Land Acquisition Officer, but it has been noticed by both the Courts below that the appellant --L. A. O. has not placed before the Court any relevant material on what date they were served with such notices The copy of the notices which are said to have been issued to the claimants was not placed before the court at all. That is the reason why the courts below considered the other material placed before them and took the view that these are cases in which the claimants have omitted for sufficient reasons to make their claims and therefore they are entitled to enhanced compensation. Both the courts below have mentioned that the claimants were rustic villagers, they were ignorant of the matters and most of them did not have their school education and only some of them know how to sign. It was stated by the Courts below that the claimants have failed to put forth their claims on account of sheer ignorance being illiterate villagers. It was further held by both the courts below that the claimants had acted in good faith and there does not appear to be any negligence on their part.
5. In the case of Subramania Chettiar v. State of Madras : AIR1953Mad943 , it was held that when there was no claim made under Section 9(2) of the Act and the claim had not been given up and the claimant not represented by counsel, if the Land Acquisition Officer has not informed the claimant about the consequences of the failure to state the amount of the claim, the claimant would not be disentitled from claiming the enhanced amount and penal provisions of Section 25(2) of the Act ought not to toe applied. This Court in the case of Special Land Acquisition Officer v. Chikkaboranna, (1968 (1) Mys LJ 369 = (AIR 1968 MYS 319)) held as follows:--
'Serving of the notice seems to be a prerequisite to making a claim for compensation ..... There is no evidence on record to show that the requisite notice under Section 9 of the Act had been served on the respondent. If the Land Acquisition Officerwants to plead that Sub-section (2) of Section 25 of the Act acts as a bar from asking enhanced compensation, it is up to him to prove that the mandatory requirements mentioned in Sub-section (1) of Section 25 are complied with. In N. M. Venkatarama Iyer v. Collector of Tanjore. Chief Justice Beasley speaking for, the Bench at page 840 of the judgment has observed as follows:-- The stringent provisions of Section 25(2) of the Act can only be applied after a notice which is strictly in compliance with Section 9, Sub-sections (2) and (3) has been served upon the land owner ...... I am, therefore, clearly ofopinion that the appellant has not proved that as per mandatory provisions of Section (1) of Section 25 of the Act, the requisite notice under Section 9 of the Act hag been served on the claimant what has to be proved under Section 25(1) is that the applicant had not made claims to compensation and not that the applicant had not filed statements in writing before the Collector. There is no obligation on the interested person to the statements in writing. Similar view has been expressed by another Bench of the Patna High Court in State of Bihar v. Johal Mahto, (AIR 1964 Pat 207).....From what has been stated above. It isclear that the stringent provisions ofSection 25 of the Act do not apply tothe instant case. The requisite noticeunder Section 9 of the Act has not beenproved to have been served on the respondent......'
6. The appellate Court, in the present case has held that when the trial court has in exercise of its jurisdiction held that omission to make a claim in the circumstances may be condoned, the appellate court ought not to interfere with the exercise of such discretion and when the discretion has been exercised in favour of the party stringent provisions of Section 25(2) of the Act are not applied. If the appellate court has declined to interfere with the order, it is clear that I would also not be justified in interfering with the same. It is alsonecessary to note that it Is for the appellant Special Land Acquisition Officer to raise the plea under Section 25(2) of the Act In these cases, that plea has been raised by him. But. in support of that plea, the copy of the notices issued had not been produced before the Court at all. The result, therefore, is that if is not possible to say whether the notices issued satisfy the statutory requirements of Section 9 of the Act Unless it is shown that legal and valid notices satisfying the requirement of the Act have been served, it is not possible to Invoke the provisions of Section 25(2) of the Act As already stated, in the absence of notice, since it is not possible to say that the requisite notice according to Section 9 of the Act was issued, it is clear that the provisions of Section 25(2) of the Act could not be invoked. Further as already stated, when the Courts below have found it appropriate to condone the default, it is not a matter on which this Court can take a contrary view and set aside the decisions of the Courts below. In my view, it would be unnecessary to consider the decision of the High Court of Andhra Pradesh in the case of Nalamvari Annasatram v. Special Land Acquisition Officer Cooperative Housing Schemes, Madras, : AIR1959AP139 as I am not dealing in this appeal the question as to whether the failure to inform the penal consequences would render the notice invalid.
7. On the question of determination of compensation, it was contended that the enhancement was not justified. The only basis on which the market value could be fixed in the present case is by adopting the capitalisation method i.e., multiplying the 20 years net income, Evidence placed before the Court shows that the value of the land will be more than what has been actually claimed by the claimants. The Courts below have also referred to the evidence placed by the Land Acquisition Officer and held that the yield of jowar per acre was 6 bags and of the groundnut was 8 bags and the price of jowar was Rs. 60/- per bag and groundnut was Rs. 40/- per bag. Taking into consideration these figures the Courts below have held that the total income would be Rs. 1,480/- in one case and the net income would be Rupees 730/- in one case, in another case it would be Rs. 850/- and in the third case it would be Rs. 390/-. The Courts below therefore awarded compensation on the basis in all these cases. No error to take a contrary view.
8. The result therefore, is that all the three appeals fail and they are dismissed with costs.