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The Andhra Pradesh Agricultural University Vs. Begari Sayanna Dies L.Rs. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtAndhra Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberC.C.C.A. Nos. 5, 106 to 108 and 118 of 1971, 38, 39, 114, 142, 150, 166, 187 of 1972, 18 to 20, 31 t
Judge
Reported inAIR1974AP299
ActsLand Acquisition Act, 1974 - Sections 18 and 54
AppellantThe Andhra Pradesh Agricultural University
RespondentBegari Sayanna Dies L.Rs. ;begari Gangamma and ors.
Excerpt:
property - right to appeal - sections 18 and 54 of land acquisition act, 1974 - appeal filed by beneficiary of land acquisition by obtaining leave to appeal against enhancement of award granted to owner of land - preliminary objection raised as to maintainability of appeal on grounds that proper party which can file appeal is government which acquired land - it would be unfair to expose owner to litigation from other quarters - held, appeal not maintainable. - - the erstwhile owners of the land who were not satisfied with the compensation awarded by the land acquisition officer sought references to the court under section 18 of the land acquisition act. after the collector has made the award he may take possession of the land which well thereupon vest absolutely in the government..........the government in connection with establishing the agricultural university at rajendranagar. the land acquisition officer made his awards. the erstwhile owners of the land who were not satisfied with the compensation awarded by the land acquisition officer sought references to the court under section 18 of the land acquisition act. the court made awards in the several references enhancing the compensation. the government did not prefer appeals against the awards of the lower court, but the agricultural university for whose benefit the land was acquired has preferred these appeals after obtaining leave to appeal from this court. leave was granted ex parte, without notice to the claimants. when the appeals came up before me the claimants raised a preliminary objection regarding the.....
Judgment:

1. Pursuant to a notification issued under Section 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act a vast extent of land was acquired by the Government in connection with establishing the Agricultural University at Rajendranagar. The Land Acquisition Officer made his awards. The erstwhile owners of the land who were not satisfied with the compensation awarded by the Land Acquisition Officer sought references to the court under Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act. The Court made awards in the several references enhancing the compensation. The Government did not prefer appeals against the awards of the lower Court, but the Agricultural University for whose benefit the land was acquired has preferred these appeals after obtaining leave to appeal from this Court. Leave was granted ex parte, without notice to the claimants. When the appeals came up before me the claimants raised a preliminary objection regarding the maintainability of the appeals. Though leave was granted by this Court it was very rightly conceded by Sri Babulu Reddy that it was open to the Respondents to raise the preliminary objection since leave had been granted ex parte.

2. In order to appreciate the objection raised by the respondents it is necessary to refer to the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act. Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act enables the Government to publish a notification stating that land in a locality is needed for a public purpose. On the publication of such notice stating that the land is needed for a public purpose or a company any person interested in the land may, under Section 5A object to the acquisition of the land. The objection shall then be considered by the Government. Thereafter a declaration shall be made under Section 6 to the effect that any particular land is needed for a public purpose or for a Company. Before taking possession of that land, Section 9 requires the Collector to give public notice that the Government intends to take possession of the land and that claims to compensation may be made to him. Claims, for compensation are thereafter required to be considered and the Collector is required to make his award. On making his award, the Collector shall tender payment of the compensation awarded by him to the persons interested entitled thereto. After the Collector has made the award he may take possession of the land which well thereupon vest absolutely in the Government (Vide-Sec. 16) . Any person interested who does not accept the award may, under Section 18 , require the Collector to make a reference to the Court for the determination of the compensation. The Court shall thereafter determine the compensation to be awarded and make its award. Section 50 provides that where the acquisition is to be awarded and make its award. Section 50 provides that where the acquisition is to be made at the cost of any fund controlled or managed by a local authority or company concerned may appear and adduce evidence before the Collector or Court for the purpose of determining the amount of compensation subject to the proviso that no such local authority or company shall be entitled to demand a reference under Section 18. It may not be out of place to mention here that the Agricultural University is neither a company nor a local authority. Section 54 provides for an appeal to the High Court form the award of the Court hearing the reference under Section 18 of the Act , Part VII of the Act deals with acquisition of land for companies and provided for agreements to be entered into by the company with the Government for the payment of the cost of the acquisition, among other matters. This brief survey of the provisions of the Act shows that the land is acquired by the Government, the land vests in the Government after acquisition , compensation has to be paid to the claimant by the Government and it is to be Government alone that a claimant must look for payment of compensation. If any issue is raised by the claimant the issue has to be settled with the Government only and none else. The lis, if any, is between the Government and the claimant. The person for whose benefit the land is acquired and who may ultimately pay to the Government the cost of acquisition has nothing to do with the lis. The person whose land is acquired are never brought face to face. The person for whose benefit the land is acquired must look to the government only for obtaining title to and possession of the acquired land. The cost of acquisition required to be paid under the agreement with the Government must be paid by the person for whose benefit the land is acquired to the Government only and not to the person whose land is acquired. As I said they never meet. Clearly , therefore, the person for whose benefit the land is acquired cannot be considered to be interested in the lis between the claimant and the Government so as to enable him to be added as a party to the proceeding in the Court or to enable him to file an appeal to the High Court as if he were a party. It is true that in the case of a company or local authority , a right but, a very circumscribed right, is given to a such company or a local authority, to participate in the proceedings before the Collector or the Court by appearing and adducing evidence for the purpose determining the amount of compensation. It is made clear by the proviso to Section 50 that this circumscribed right to appear and adduce evidence does not does not clothe the company or local authority with the right to demand a reference under section 18 of the Act. It is also necessary to mention here that the Agricultural University, the appellant herein does not possess even this circumscribed right since it is neither a company nor a local authority. It is, therefore, is to exclude the person whose benefit the land is acquired from being treated as a party to the proceedings. The intention of the legislature, clearly, is to confine and lis to the claimant to fight legal battles with any one other than the Government . After all it is the Government that acquires his land and it would be unfair to expose him to litigation from other quarters. I am therefore of the view that the interest of the person for whose benefit the land is acquired and who may, therefore, have to meet the cost of acquisition is not sufficient to clothe him with the mantle of a party or give him the right of appeal so as to litigate against the claimant erstwhile owner of the land.

3. In Municipal Corporation of Pabna v. Jogendranarayan Raikut, (1909) 13 Cal WN 116, Mitra and Caspersz, JJ. observed :

'A company or Corporation for whose benefit any land may be acquired by the Collector is not a necessary party in the proceeding is not a necessary party in the proceeding and there can be no doubt that no proceeding can properly go on in the absence of the Secretary of State for India in Council. Under Section 50 of the Act, a company or a local authority for whose benefit the acquisition is made may appear and adduce evidence for the purpose of determining the amount of the compensation but that it in the nature of the addition of a party simply for the purpose of watching the proceedings or assisting the Secretary of State. Such a company or local authority has not the power to ask for the reference under Section 18 of the Act ; neither does not Act give it the right of appeal.'

In Nagpur Corporation v. Narendra Kumar, : AIR1959Bom297 , Kotwal, JJ., observed :

'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 to 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.'

In C. R. P. No. 1235 of 1954 Mad WN 128 (Journal) Rajamannar, C. J., held that the right given under Section 50(2) to a local authority or a company for whose benefit the land was acquired to appear and adduce evidence does not extend to participation in the arguments in the reference. In Gowthamalal v. Land Acquisition Officer, : AIR1970Guj81 Shaw and Shelat, JJ. reviewed the provisions of the Act and observed.

'We think that a local authority or company as the case may be has no status of a party as such for it has no right to demand a reference and against whom no award having the force of a decree can be passed. In other words, even if it is on record by reason of its being given a right to appear and adduce evidence in regard to the compensation , no order either for payment or for costs can be passed against it by the Court. Nor has it been given even a right of appeal against the award of the Court .'

Later, the learned Judges observed :

'It also follows that it has no right to file any appeal against the judgment of the Court. It would thus appear that having regard to the definition of the expression persons interested, in Section 3(b) and taking into account the scheme of the Act as a whole, and though the funds for acquisition of the land were to be paid by them, they cannot be said to be persons interested as to claim any right of appeal filed against any such award passed by the Court. They are not recognised under the Act as parties to the proceedings.'

4. Finally, in M. C. M. M. Trust v. C. Varada Raju, : AIR1972AP362 the question arose whether the person for whose benefit the land was acquired could claim to the impleaded as a party to an appeal filed by the Claimants against the award of the Court. After referring to the provisions of the Act and the case law on the subject my brothers Kondaiah & Sriramulu, JJ. had no hesitation in holding that the person for whose benefit or proper party. Referring to the special right given to a local authority or company for whose benefit the land was acquired, the learned Judges have observes :

'In our judgment, the local authority or company will only be a watching party in a proceeding before the Collector or the court of original jurisdiction. It can only appear of original jurisdiction. It can only appear and adduce evidence to determine the quantum of compensation. In other words, it can independently lead evidence, oral and documentary, and also cross-examine the witnesses examined on behalf of the claimants as well as the Land Acquisition Officer in determining the quantum of compensation. However, it has no right to argue either by itself or through a counsel in such proceedings as the right to argue would accrue only to a party entitled to be on record as a necessary or proper party. Further the right to appeal against a decision of the Collector or the Court of original jurisdiction would accrue only to a party, be it necessary or proper, to such proceedings but to others .'

I have, therefore, no hesitation in arriving at the conclusion that the Agricultural University Rajendranagar had no right to prefer the present appeals, with or without leave of the Court. Leave of the Court is necessary where a person who is not a party to the proceeding in the lower court desires to prefer an appeal but a pre-condition to the grant of leave is that he must satisfy certain basic requirements. The requirements have been stated by a Full Bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in Pulliah v. Nagabbhushanam, AIR 1962 Andh Pra 140 (FB) as follows :--

'What emerges from the above discussion is that if a person is deemed to be a party under Order 1, Rule 8, Civil P. C. and for purposes of Section 11, Explanation 6, Civil P. C. leave to appeal could be granted to him by the appellate Court in an appropriate case, if the decision rendered in those proceedings would adversely effect it. It is not in very case where a person may be remotely or indirectly affected that leave should be granted. But it should be granted to person who though not eo nomine parties would be bound by the decree or judgment in the proceeding and who could not by reason of Explanation 6 to Section 11, Civil P. C. agitate the same question in separate proceedings .'

This was the very test which Rajamannar, C. J., had earlier propounded in Ponnalagu Ammal v. State of Madras, : AIR1953Mad485 and which was again accepted as the correct test by another Full Bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in Radha Bai v. Banka Chinnayya, : AIR1968AP353 (FB). The decision in : AIR1953Mad485 and AIR 1962 Andh Pra 140 (FB) were noticed with approval by the Supreme Court in N. Sitharamaiah v. Kotiah, : [1971]1SCR153 .

5. Applying the tests propounded in these cases, it cannot be said that the Agricultural University is entitled to the grant of leave to appeal merely because it may ultimately have to meet the costs of acquisition and pay the same to the Government. All the Courts are unanimous that the person for whose benefit the land is acquired is not a necessary or a proper party to the proceedings before the Court. The claimant in whose favour the award is passed gets no right to proceed against the person for whose benefit the land is acquired to recover the amount of compensation determined. The fact that the Agricultural University may have to pay the Government the cost of acquisition is neither here nor there since the person whose land is acquired is nor concerned with such payment. His right is to get the compensation from the Government whether or not the person for whose benefit the land is acquired pays the amount to the Government . The person whose land is acquired cannot, therefore, be compelled to fight a legal battle against the person for whose benefit the land is acquired. They never need join issue at any stage.

6. Sri P. Babulu Reddy, learned counsel for the Agricultural University, relied on the decision of the Supreme Court in The Punjabi University v. Acharyasami Ganesh, : AIR1972SC1973 . That was a case in which an appeal was filed against an award of the Court jointly by the Punjab Government and the Punjabi University. There was some delay in filing the appeal. The delay was sought to be explained on the ground that there was some miscalculation by the Registrar of the Punjabi University. The Punjab High Court held that right to file the appeal was primarily that of the Punjab Government and since the miscalculation was by the Registrar of the University there was no sufficient reason for condoning the delay in filing the appeal. The Supreme Court observed that since the land was acquired for the benefit of the Punjabi University and since it was the University that was meeting the cost of acquisition there was nothing surprising if the Government had left the matters in the hands of the Registrar of the University. The miscalculation made by the Registrar was, therefore, sufficient ground to condone the delay. I do not see how this case would possibly help Mr. P. Babulu Reddy. The learned Judges were merely considering the question whether there was sufficient reason to condone the delay in the filing of the appeal by the Punjab Government. To the extent that it goes the decision is against Mr. Babulu Reddy. The Supreme Court did not say that the Punjabi University had the right to appeal and, therefore, the miscalculation made by the Registrar was sufficient reason to condone the delay. What they said was that the Punjab Government was justified in placing the matter in the hands of the Registrar of the Punjabi University and in placing the matter in the hands of the Registrar of Punjabi University and in that view, there was sufficient reason to condone the delay.

7. In the result, I hold that the appeals are not maintainable. They are accordingly dismissed but in the circumstances there will be no order regarding costs.

8. Appeals dismissed.


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