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Bhagirathamma and anr. Vs. Special Deputy Collector, Land Acquisition, Hyderabad and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtAndhra Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revn. Petn. No. 264 of 1977
Judge
Reported inAIR1978AP10
ActsLand Acquisition Act, 1894 - Sections 18 and 30
AppellantBhagirathamma and anr.
RespondentSpecial Deputy Collector, Land Acquisition, Hyderabad and anr.
Appellant AdvocateP. Kodandaramayya and ;E.V. Bhagiratharao, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateT. Vijayaraghavachari, Adv.
Excerpt:
.....observed that dispute related to entitlement of compensation must be referred to civil court under section 30 for decision and same is binding upon parties - in present case it was decided in reference made under section 30 that petitioners entitled to get compensation - held, petitioners entitled to get compensation. - - it therefore clearly follows that any decree that is passed in o......on 10-11-1970.2. meanwhile as there was a dispute inter se between the claimants as to who was entitled to compensation in respect of survey nos. 128 and 129 the land acquisition officer referred the matter to the civil court under s. 30 of the act and deposited the amount payable in respect of these survey numbers into court as provided under s. 31(2) of the act. the references in respect of the two surveys were numbered as o. p. nos. 233 of 1965 and 138 of 1966. by judgment dated 31-8-1971 the appeal was allowed and remanded the cases to the lower court. after remand the court below its judgment dated 19-10-1973 held that the second respondent was entitled to the compensation amount. as against this judgment two appeals, c. c. c. a. nos. 109 of 1974 and 176 of 1974 were preferred.....
Judgment:

Alladi Kuppuswami, J.

1. An extent of Ac. 38-4 guntas of land situate in Survey Nos. 5/14, 124, 128, 129 and 126 in Balanagar village was acquired under the Land Acquisition Act under a notification under S. 4 (1) of the Act published on 15-7-1964. There were three claimants for the compensation, respondent No. 2 herein and the two petitioners (being 1 to 3 respectively). There was no dispute that three of the items belonged to respondent No. 2, but there was a dispute inter se between the two sets of claimants in regard to Survey Nos. 128 and 129. The Land Acquisition Officer in his award fixed the market value of the land at Rs. 1,000 per acre and also fixed the value for the compound -walls, wells, trees etc. As the claimants claimed compensation at a higher rate, they asked for a reference under S. 18 of the Land Acquisition Act and accordingly reference was made in O.P. No. 310 of 1965 on the file of the Second Additional Chief Judge, City Civil Court, Hyderabad. The Court awarded enhanced compensation. The Land Acquisition Officer preferred an appeal C. C. C. A. No. 19 of 1968 to this Court. The appeal was dismissed on 10-11-1970.

2. Meanwhile as there was a dispute inter se between the claimants as to who was entitled to compensation in respect of survey Nos. 128 and 129 the Land Acquisition Officer referred the matter to the Civil Court under S. 30 of the Act and deposited the amount payable in respect of these survey numbers into court as provided under S. 31(2) of the Act. The references in respect of the two surveys were numbered as O. P. Nos. 233 of 1965 and 138 of 1966. By judgment dated 31-8-1971 the appeal was allowed and remanded the cases to the lower court. After remand the court below its judgment dated 19-10-1973 held that the second respondent was entitled to the compensation amount. As against this judgment two appeals, C. C. C. A. Nos. 109 of 1974 and 176 of 1974 were preferred to this Court. By a common judgment dated 19-8-1976 this Court allowed the appeals and upheld the claims of the petitioners.

3. In view of this Judgment the petitioners herein field an application I. A. No. 780 of 1976 in O. P. No. 310 of 1965 (reference under S. 18) for payment of the enhanced compensation determined by this court. By its order dated 15-12-1976 the Court below dismissed the petition. The Court below observed that though in the appeals arising out of reference under S. 30 this Court had upheld the claim of the petitioners in C. C. C. A. No. 19 of 1968 preferred against the Judgment in O. P. No. 310 of 1965 (reference under S. 18), respondent No. 2 alone was entitled to the amount awarded. While dismissing the petition the Court below observed that the matter needed clarification and the parties interested in the matter may approach the High Court and get the matter clarified.

4. Accordingly the learned counsel for the petitioner herein wrote a letter to the Registrar requesting that the appeals, C. C. C. A. Nos. 109 and 176 of 1974 may be posted for being mentioned and for clarification and we directed the matters to be posted for 'being mentioned' . After the arguments proceeded for some time on 28-1-1977, the learned counsel for the petitioners realised that there was nothing to be clarified in the judgment in C. C. C. A. Nos. 109 and 176 of 1974 and the proper remedy was to file a revision petition against the order dismissing I. A. No. 780 of 1976 in O.P. No. 310 of 1965 and requested that the matter may be adjourned to enable him to file a revision petition. Accordingly this revision filed was filed and after notice to the advocate for the second respondent, the matter was heard on 4-3-1977.

5. The learned counsel for the petitioners contends that as this Court has finally held in C. C. C. A. Nos. 109 and 176 of 1974 that they are entitled to the compensation amount their application for payment of the enhanced compensation should have been ordered and the court below was wrong in rejecting the petition. On the other hand, the learned counsel for the second respondent contended that in O. P. No. 310 of 1965 it was held by the lower court that it was only the first claimant therein, i.e., the second respondent herein that was entitled to the compensation and this judgment was confirmed in appeal and therefore the petitioners are not entitled to be paid that amount notwithstanding the judgment of this Court in the appeal arising out of the reference under S. 30 of the Act. We have no hesitation in upholding the contention of the petitioners and rejecting that of the second respondent. When there is a dispute as to who is entitled to the compensation the matter is referred for decision by the Civil Court under S. 30 of the Act. The effect of that decision is that the person whose title is upheld in those proceedings will be entitled to whatever compensation that may be determined in the proceedings under S. 18. In this case , in C. C. C. A. Nos. 109 and 176 of 1974 it was finally held by this Court that the petitioners 1 and 2 are entitled to the compensation amount. It is brought to our notice that this decision has become final as an application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court was dismissed and an application for special leave was also dismissed.

6. The learned counsel for respondent No. 2 strenuously contented that notwithstanding this decision, respondent 2 was alone entitled to the compensation amount determined in proceedings under S. 18 of the Act. In support of this he drew our attention to the judgment in O. P. No. 310 of 1965 in which it was finally stated that the claimant was entitled to the enhanced compensation as found in the judgment. He submitted that the expression 'claimant' is used in singular and it could only refer to the first claimant. He stated that it was the first claimant who participated in the proceedings under S. 18 and adduced the necessary evidence and cross examined the Land Acquisition Officer. The petitioners who were claimants 2 and 3 never took part in that enquiry. The order passed in that O. P. amounts to a decree and the decree can only be in favour of a person who participated in the enquiry, namely, the first claimant. We are unable to agree. Firstly, it is not stated in the statement that the first claimant alone is entitled to compensation. The expression used is 'the claimant is entitled to' enhanced compensation. Obviously the expression 'claimant' is a mistake for 'claimants' . It is noted from the preamble to the Judgment that the petitioners herein as claimants 2 and 3 also appeared through counsel. It may that they did not actively participate in the enquiry. But the reference was made at the instance of both sets of claimants and all of them were made parties to the proceedings. It therefore clearly follows that any decree that is passed in O. P. No. 310 of 1965 would ensure for the benefit of all claimants. The expression 'claimant' in the judgment and order could only mean the claimants as a body, subject to the result of the proceedings under S. 30. In this connection it is to be remembered that even by that time, it was known to all the parties and to the Court that proceedings under S. 30 were pending as O. P. Nos. 233/65 and 138/66. In the appeal as against the Judgment in O. P. No. 310 of 1965 by the Government, this Court was only concerned with the question whether the compensation determined was correct or not. It was not concerned with the question as to who among the claimants was entitled to the compensation so determined. Hence, no significance can be attached to the expression 'claimant' used in the appellate Judgment also. As in the case of the original judgment when the expression 'claimant' was used by the learned Judge, they were obviously referring to all the claimants as a body. The learned counsel for the second respondent drew our attention to the fact that petitioners were ex parte in the appeal and did not any interest in the appeal and it was only the petitioners that opposed the appeal by the Land Acquisition Officer. But in our view that would not make any difference. The position would still be the same, namely, that the judgment of the appellate Court would enure for the benefit of the person who was ultimately held entitled to the compensation in proceedings under S. 30. Further, it is to be noted that though the judgment used the singular 'claimant' in the decree of the appellant Court it is stated that the appellant should pay the compensation amount to the 'claimants' which would naturally refer to all the claimants, i.e; such of the claimants who would be found entitled to the compensation in proceedings under S. 30.

7. The learned counsel for Respondent 2 submitted that proceedings under S. 18 in a Civil Court is equivalent to a suit and the burden is upon the claimant to prove that he is entitled to the payment of the compensation claimed by him and the decree passed should therefore enure only in favour of the person who has proved his claim. We were unable to agree with this contention. All the claimants are parties to the proceedings under S. 18 and the decree passed would be a decree in favour of all of them notwithstanding that only one of them took an active part and others only a passive part. He further submitted that each person has separately to prove by independent evidence that he is entitled to the property and the compensation would be awarded only to him who proves the title. This contention is not correct, as there is no question of proof of title in so far as proceedings under S. 18 are concerned. Hence the alternative contention, namely, that as the petitioners did not prove their title in proceedings under S. 18, their claim for payment of the amount has to be negatived, even assuming that the respondent also is not entitled to the amount by reason of the judgment of this Court, cannot be accepted.

8. Lastly, it was argued that the proper remedy for the petitioners was to seek a review of the judgment and decree in O. P. 310 of 1965 and C.C.C.A. No. 19 of 1968 by getting an order of this Court that they are entitled to the compensation amount that it is not open to the petitioners to challenge the order passed by the Court below in revision as it is correct in view of the terms of the decree in C.C.C.A. No. 19 of 1968. This contention has also to be rejected, as we have already held that the proper interpretation to be put upon the order in O. P. No. 310 of 1965 and C.C.C.A. No. 19 of 1968 is that the compensation should be paid to the claimants, which, in circumstances, could only mean such of those claimants as are adjudged to be entitled to compensation in proceedings under S. 30 of the Act.

8A. If the contention of the respondent 2 is to be accepted it would make a mockery of S. 30 of the Act, if notwithstanding establishing his title in those proceedings the successful party cannot claim the compensation decided in proceedings under S. 18 of the Act.

9. In the result the revision is allowed and the Court below is directed to pay the compensation amount to the petitioners herein.

10. There will be no order as to costs.

11. Revision allowed.


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