1. The question that falls for consideration in this writ petition is as to the interpretation of Section 31 of the land Acquisition Act (hereinafter called 'the Act').
2. A police of land comprising of 64 Guntas and 151/3 Guntas bearing S. Nos 911 and 912 in Malkajgiri village. Hyderabad District, was acquired for a public purpose. at that time, the husband of the petitioner was alive. An award was passed on 4-7-1967. The petitioner's husband dies, and therefore the petitioner herself filed an application before the Land acquisition Officer on 10-8-967 disputing the adequacy of compensation given under the award and seeking a reference to the Civil Court under Section 18 of the Act. It is stated that owing to the death of her husband the petitioner required some money to perform the obsequies. For this purpose. she withdrew the among of compensation from the Land Acquisition Officer. She withdrew the amount of compensation but did not mention there that she was doing sounder protest. Thinking that the petitioner thereby lost the right to have her case referred to the civil Court. the Land Acquisition Officer refused to refer her claim also to the Civil Court, though he referred the claims of other owners under Section 18 . The petitioner has, therefore, filed this Writ petition for the issue of a Acquisition Officer to act according to law and to refer the award to the Civil Court under Section 18 of the Act with reference to her also.
3. The question, therefore, is whether by withdrawing this amount without formally saying that she was doing so under protest, she has lost the right of having her claim referred to the civil Court.
4. It is here necessary to refer to material provisions of Section 31 of the Act. Sub-section (1) there of requires the Land Acquisition Officer to tender payment of the compensation amount awarded by him to the persons interested and to pay the same unless he is prevented by any of the contingencies mentioned in sub-sec. (2). Sub-section (2) enumerates such contingencies, one of them being the person interested not connecting to receive the compensation amount. The first proviso to sub-section (2) enables any interested protest. The second proviso, however, precludes a person who has received the amount otherwise than under protest. The second proviso, however, precludes a person who has received the amount otherwise than under protest to make any application under Section 18, Obviously, the Land Acquisition Officer though that this second proviso stood in the way of the case of the petitioner being referred to the Civil Court under Section 18. But this seems to be a misapprehension. The petitioner objected to the adequacy of the compensation and sought reference of her claim to the civil Court under Section 18 of the Act even on 10-8-1967. It was only 11 days later, i.e., on 21-8-967, she withdrew the compensation. What the second proviso to Section 31 prevents is the making of any application under Section 18. This application had already been made and when such an application was made, and when such an application was made, the Land Acquisition Officer is bound to refer it to the Civil Court. Further , the circumstances of the filling of the petition seeking reference of a claim to a Civil Court is a positive indication that the petitioner is objecting to the amount of compensation fixed under the award and that the amount subsequently withdrawn was withdrawn only under protest. There is no particular from to indicating the protest, specified under the Act or under the Rules. Such protest can either be explicit of can be inferred by necessary implication from the circumstances. The very fact that she had earlier fled a petition for reference of her claim to the Court is an indication positive of her protest. It is not further necessary to state that she was withdrawing the money under protest. In my view the requirements of the first proviso to sub-section (2) of Section 31 are substantially complied with. There could, therefore, be no bar for the petitioner's claim being referred to the Civil Court. The view taken by the Land Acquisition Officer is obviously wrong.
5. In the result, the writ petition is allowed and the respondent is directed to refer the award made by him on 4-7-1967 in O/851/LA/64 to the appropriate Civil Court under Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act in regard to the claim of the petition also. The petitioner shall have her costs from the respondent. advocate's fee Rs. 100/-.
6. Writ petition allowed.