Skip to content


The Deputy Director of Agriculture, Khamman and anr. Vs. Sarvadevabhatla Ramanadham and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtAndhra Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberFirst Appeal S.R. No. 28856 of 1977 and C.M.P.S.R. No. 30593 of 1977
Judge
Reported inAIR1978AP412
ActsLand Acquisition Act, 1894 - Sections 30 and 54; Andhra Pradesh Civil Courts Act, 1954 - Sections 17; Code of Civil Procedure (CPC), 1908 - Sections 2 and 96
AppellantThe Deputy Director of Agriculture, Khamman and anr.
RespondentSarvadevabhatla Ramanadham and ors.
Appellant AdvocateGovt. Pleader for Panchayat Raj
Respondent AdvocateStanding Counsel for Central Government
Excerpt:
property - maintainability of appeal - sections 30 and 54 of land acquisition act, 1894, section 17 of andhra pradesh civil courts act, 1954 and sections 2 and 96 of code of civil procedure, 1908 - appellant filed application before collector for payment of rs. 10049.38 awarded towards compensation for acquisition of certain lands - due to dispute with regard to apportionment of amount on basis of title of property land acquisition officer made reference to court under section 30 - subordinate court held that 1st claimant is owner of property and entitled to amount in question - appeal filed before concerned court - whether appeal preferred by appellants under section 54 is maintainable - it is clear that an order passed by civil court on reference under section 30 is a decree within..........that falls for consideration is whether the appeal preferred by the appellants under s. 54 of the land acquisition act is maintainable . the value of the appeal is rs. 10,049.38 ps.2. the present appellant is the dy. director of agriculture, khammam. he filed an application before the collector under the land acquisition act for payment of a sum of rs. 10,049-38 ps. awarded towards compensation for acquisition of certain lands. according to him the lands belong to the third claimant therein who had misappropriated a sum of rs. 4,00,000/- and odd while he was in service and hence in recovery of the said amount that is appropriated he is entitled for the same. the case of the first claimant was that the lands, which were acquired and in respect of which compensation was determined by the.....
Judgment:

1. In these S. R. Nos., the question that falls for consideration is whether the appeal preferred by the appellants under S. 54 of the Land Acquisition Act is maintainable . The value of the appeal is Rs. 10,049.38 ps.

2. The present appellant is the Dy. Director of Agriculture, Khammam. He filed an application before the Collector under the Land Acquisition Act for payment of a sum of Rs. 10,049-38 ps. awarded towards compensation for acquisition of certain lands. According to him the lands belong to the third claimant therein who had misappropriated a sum of Rs. 4,00,000/- and odd while he was in service and hence in recovery of the said amount that is appropriated he is entitled for the same. The case of the first claimant was that the lands, which were acquired and in respect of which compensation was determined by the Collector under S. 11 do not belong to the third claimant, but belong to him. As a result of the dispute with regard to the apportionment of the amount on the basis of the title of the property, the Land Acquisition Officer made a reference to the Court under S. 30 of the Land Acquisition Act. On such reference the matter was taken on file as O. P. No. 62 of 1976 by the Subordinate Judge's Court, Khammam who held that the first claimant is the owner of the property and hence entitled to the amount in question. Aggrieved by the said appeal is filed by the Deputy Director of Agriculture, Khammam under S. 54 of the Land Acquisition Act in this Court.

3. The office has raised an objection that the appeal is not maintainable in this Court in view of the fact that the value of the appeal is less than Rupees 15,000/- and since the order of the lower Court is a decree within the meaning of S. 96 of Civil P. C. the appeal lies only to the District Court under S. 17 (1) (ii) (a) of the Andhra Pradesh Civil Court Act. In these circumstances the matter is referred to the Court for opinion.

4. The question that arises for consideration is whether the provisions of S. 54 of the Land Acquisition Act are attracted in the instant case. It is not in dispute that the order of the lower Court in the instant case deciding as to who is the person that is entitled to the amount on a reference under S. 30 of the Land Acquisition Act is a decree of the Court. Under S. 96 of the Civil P. C. an appeal shall lie from every decree passed by any Court exercising original jurisdiction to the Court authorised to hear appeals from the decisions of such Courts. Then the question is, to which Court does the appeal lie in the instant case. Under S. 17 of the Andhara Pradesh Civil Courts Act an appeal shall, when it is allowed by law, lie from any decree or order in a civil Suit or proceeding of the Court of the Subordinate judge to the District Court when the amount or value of the subject-matter of the suit or proceeding is not more than Rupees 15,000/-. Thus it is clear that when the value of the subject-matter of the suit or proceeding is less than Rs. 15,000/- an appeal lies only to the District Court . But Mr. Rama Swamy, the learned Government Pleader appearing for the appellant contends that by virtue of the non obstinate clause in S. 54 of the Land Acquisition Act all appeals in respect of order passed under the Land Acquisition Act lie only to the High Court irrespective of the valuation and hence even though under S. 17 of the Civil Courts Act an appeal lies to the District Court the valuation being less than Rs. 15,000/- in this case the appeal being from an order passed under the Land Acquisition Act the appeal lies only to the High Court. Section 54 of the Land Acquisition Act read thus:---

'54. Appeals in proceedings before Court: Subject to the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 , applicable to appeals from original decrees, and notwithstanding anything to the contrary in any enactment for the time being in force an appeal shall only lie in any proceedings under this Act to the High Court from the award, or from any part of the award, of the Court and from any decree of the High Court passed on such appeals as aforesaid an appeal shall lie to (the Supreme Court) subject to the provisions contained in S. 110 of the Civil P. C. 1908 and in O. XLV thereof.'

It is true that if this section applies the above appeal is maintainable, but it is seen from the above section that appeals shall lie to the High Court in any proceedings under the Land Acquisition Act from the award or from any part or the award of the Court below. Hence what is to be determined is whether the order passed by the lower Court against which the above appeal is preferred is an award within the meaning of S. 54 of the Land Acquisition Act.

5. The first decisions to be noticed in this connection is Ramachandra v. Ramachandra, AIR 1922 PC 80 equivalent to ILR 45 Mad 320. The question that arose in this decision is whether the order of the Court on a reference under S. 30 of the Arbitration Act is an award under the Act. It is observed as follows:---

'When once the award as to the amount has become final, all questions as to fixing of compensation are then at an end; the duty of the Collector in case of dispute as to the relative rights of the persons together entitled to the money is to place the money under the control of the Court, and the parties then can proceed to litigate in the ordinary was to determine what their right and title to the property may be. The award as constituted by statute is nothing but an award which states the area of the land, the compensation to be allowed and the apportionment among the persons interested in the land of whose claims the Collector has information meaning thereby people whose interests are not in dispute, but from the moment when the sum has been deposited in Court under S. 31 (2) the functions of the award have ceased; and all that is left is a dispute between interested people as to the extent of their interest. Such dispute forms no part of the award, and it would indeed be strange, if a controversy between two people as to the nature of their respective interests in a piece of land, should enjoy certain rights of appeal, which would be wholly taken away when the piece of land was represented by a sum of money paid into Court.'

From these observations it is clear that when once the amount has been deposited under s. 31(2) of the Land Acquisition Act as it happened in the present case the functions of the award have ceased and the adjudication related only to the title of the parties which would only be a decree of the Court.

6. In Mahalinga v. Theetharappa, AIR 1929 Mad 223 a similar question arose whether a decision on reference under S. 30 of the Land Acquisition Act is not an award within the meaning of S. 54 of the Land Acquisition Act and hence no appeal would lie against it under that Section . Act page 224 it is held as follows:---

'A decision in a reference under S. 30 is not an award within the meaning of S. 54. The decision of a Court as to the rights of the contending parties on a reference under S. 30 cannot be said to be an award under the Act. After the award has been made the Court determines who are entitled to the whole or a portion of the award.'

Having held that S. 54 of the Land Acquisition Act is not applicable the Madras High Court has ;held that 'such a decision is a decree within the meaning of S. 2, cl. (2) of the Civil P. C. and hence an appeal lies under S. 96 of the Civil p. C. It is further held that appeal against a decision under reference under S. 30 where the amount involved is less than Rs. 5,000/- is not an appeal from an award and therefore it lies to the District Court and not to the High Court. It may be noticed in this connection that at the relevant point of time under the Madras Civil Courts Act an appeal lies to the District Court if the amount does not exceed Rs. 5,000/- and if the amount exceeds Rs. 5,000/- appeal lies to the High Court.

7. In Raghunatha Duraisingam v. Karuppiah, AIR 1939 Mad 716 it was held that 'where on a dispute between two parties as to the right to receive the compensation money under the Land Acquisition Action, a reference is made by one of the parties to a Subordinate Judge under S. 30, the order passed by the Subordinate Judge under S. 32 in the proceedings before him is a decree and an appeal lies from it to the District Judge.' It is no doubt true that in the present case the question that arose was whether the Subordinate Judge is special Judicial Officer appointed to perform the functions of the Court and hence no appeal would lie from his order under provisions of the Civil Procedure Code against the order of Court specially constituted under the statutory authority. Nevertheless the observations of the Divisions Bench in the said case are to the effect that the order passed by the Subordinate Judge under the Land Acquisition Act on a reference under S. 30 is a decree and an appeal lies from the said decree under the provisions of the Civil Procedure Code.

8. In Chikkanna v. Perumal, AIR 1940 Mad 474, a Full Bench of the Madras High Court after having referred to the various decisions on this question has observed as follows:--

'In my opinion, all controversy is set at rest by the judgement of the Privy Council in ILR (1939) All 460 (equivalent to AIR 1939 PC 133). The opinion expressed in ILR 45 Mad 320: (AIR 1922 PC 80 ) was there re-affirmed, notwithstanding the alteration made by the present Code in the definition of the word 'decree.' In the light of the recent pronouncement of the Privy Council, ILR 45 Made 320 : (AIR 1922 PC 80), must be taken to decide that an order, not merely the order an appeal but an order determining a reference under S. 18 of under S. 30 ---- it is admitted that there is no difference in principle between the two sections --- is to be regard as a decree and not as an award. It follows that the interpretation to ILR 45 Mad 320 :(AIR 1922 PC 80), given by the Full Bench in ILR 57 Mad 271 : (AIR 1934 Made 103 (2)), can no longer be regard as being authoritative.'

9. From these observations it is clear that the view of the Privy Council in ILR 45 Mad 320 : (AIR 1922 PC 80) must be taken to mean that an order under S. 30 is not an award, but only a decree.

10. In Brameswars v. Rudriah, AIR 1956 Mys 28 the Mysore High Court has held that orders made on a reference under S. 30, Land Acquisition Act settle disputes about apportionment of compensation, and are to be deemed as decrees and appeals against them are to be filed in the Courts having jurisdiction according to the amounts involved. But when there is a composite reference under S. 18 and 30 to the Civil Court for adjudication of adequacy of compensation and also the persons to whom it is due and both these are disposed of by one order, the order is an award within the meaning of S. 54 and the forum of appeal against it will be the High Court irrespective of whether the appeal is directed against the order as to the amount of compensation only or against the order about persons to whom it is declared to be payable.

11. From all the decisions cited above it is clear that an order passed by the Civil Court on a reference under S. 30 of the Land Acquisition Act on the question of the entitlement of the compensation awarded under the Land Acquisition Act is a decree within the meaning of S. 2, cl. (2) of the Civil P. C. and hence an appeal lies under the provisions of S. 96 of the Civil P. C. to the Court authorised to hear appeals. As it is observed earlier under S. 17 of the Andhra Pradesh Civil Courts Act an appeal lies from any decree or order in a civil suit or proceeding, of the Court of the Subordinate Judge, to the District Court when the amount or value of the subject-matter of the suit or proceeding is not more than Rs. 15,000/-. In the instant case the amount or value of the subject-matter of the proceeding in the lower Court is only about Rs. 10,000/- and hence an appeal lies only to the District Court. Mr. Rama Swamy the learned counsel for the appellant draws my attention to a decision of the Kerala High Court in P. D. Devaswom v. U. Pylee, : AIR1970Ker30 (FB), wherein it is held that 'all appeals from the decisions of the Subordinate Judge in Land Acquisition proceedings lie to High Court irrespective of valuation of the subject-matter.' Relying on this decision, the learned counsel argues that the earlier decisions of the Privy Council as well as that of the Madras High Court in AIR 1929 Mad 223 and AIR 1939 Mad 716 and AIR 1940 Mad 474 (FB) require reconsideration. If the Kerala High Court had decided this question with reference to the provisions of S. 54 of the Land Acquisition Ac and held that the appeal lies only to the High Court irrespective of the valuation on the reasoning that the decision of the Courts on a reference under S. 30 of the Land Acquisition Act is an award, perhaps I would have felt inclined to refer this matter to a Division Bench. But the Kerala High Court has decided the question on the basis of the language employed in Ss. 12 and 13 of the Kerala Civil Courts Act I of 1957. Under S. 12 of the Kerala Civil Courts Act all appeals from decree and orders of the District Court or Subordinate Judge's Court except as provided under S. 13 of the said Act shall when such appeals are allowed by law lie to the High Court. Section 13 of the said Act which is an exception to S. 12 provides that appeals from the decree and orders of Subordinate judge's Court lie to the High Court excepting those where the amount or value of the subject-matter of the suit does not exceed Rs. 10,000/- in which case the appeal shall lie to the District Court. In the case before the Kerala High Court it is no doubt true that the valuation was less than Rs. 10,000/- But having regard to the word 'suit' used in s. 13 the Kerala High Court has held that S. 13 has no application because the proceeding before the said Court was not a suit and that in case of a suit it has got to be presented by a plaint as required by S. 26 of the Kerala Civil Courts Act. If S. 13 had no application, under s. 12 of the Kerala Civil Courts Act all appeals from the order of the Subordinate Judge shall lie to the High Court. Hence the decision of Kerala High Court depended upon the construction of the language employed in Ss. 12 and 13 of the Kerala Civil Courts Act and in the view the appeals were held to be maintainable in the High Court even though the valuation was only less than Rs. 10,000/-. The case before me does not present any such problem as the language employed under S. 17 of the Andhra Pradesh Civil Courts Act is different. Section 17 of the Andhra Pradesh Civil Courts Act, 1972 is as follows:---

'17. Appeals from the decrees and order of Court in ht District:---

(1) An appeal shall, when it is allowed by law, lie from any decree or order in a civil suit or proceeding---

(i) of the District Court, to the High Court;

(ii) of the Court of Subordinate Judge-

(a) to the District Court, when the amount or value of the subject -matter of the suit or proceeding is not more than rupees fifteen thousand;

(b) to the High Court, in other cases; and

(iii) of the Court of District Munsiff, to the District Court.'

The words used in S. 17 are the amount or value of the subject-matter of the suit or proceeding. Hence under S. 17 where the subject-matter of the suit or proceeding is less than Rs. 15,000/- appeal lies only to the District Court. The subject-matter of reference under S. 30 of the Land Acquisition Act is certainly a proceeding before the Court. Hence unlike the Kerala Civil Courts Act, the words used in Andhra Pradesh Civil Courts Act are suit or proceeding and as the value of the subject-matter of the proceeding is less than Rs. 15,000/- in the instant case appeal lies only to the District Court and not to the high Court. But Mr. Rama Swamy relies upon certain observations of the Kerala High Court in support of his contention that in all such cases an appeal would lie only to the High Court under S. 54 of the Land Acquisition Act. It is true that the Kerala High Court has made several observations in support of this contention . For instance at page 33 it is observed that 'an adjudication on title on a reference under S. 18 of the Central Act stands on the very same footing as such an adjudication on a reference under S. 30 or on a deposit under sub-sec. (2) of S. 31 unaccompanied by a reference.' The further observations are that 'the result might well be the obviously unsatisfactory result that, in a given case, the appeal in respect of the part of the adjudication that related to title lies to the District Court whereas the appeal with regard to the part that related to the amount of the compensation lies to the High Court ........ there is little difficulty in reading sub-s. (1) of S. 26 of the Central Act as requiring the award to specify the amount awarded to each of the claimants under each of the clauses of sub-s (1) of S. 23 having regard to the fact that the adjudication of the Court on a composite reference under S. 18 has, in addition to determining the amount to be awarded. If that be so, the adjudication regarding title would also be an award to which s. 54 would apply; and, we might mention that, after observing that so far as appeals to the Privy Council were concerned, the distinction drawn between an award and a decree in ILR 45 Mad 320 ; (AIR 1922 PC 80 ) has become academic in view of the amendment of S. 54 of the Central Act which provides for such appeals in the case of awards......... However that might be, as we shall presently show, having regard to the provisions of Ss. 12 and 13 of the Kerala Civil Courts Act, it makes no difference for our purposes whether an adjudication regarding title on a reference under S. 18 of the Central Act amounts to an award or is only a decree.'

12. These observations no doubt support the view canvassed by Mr. Rama swamy, the learned counsel for the appellant, but they are only obiter as the decision of the Kerala High Court has not rested on the construction of S. 54 of the Land Acquisition Act. In view of the decisions of the Madras High Court rendered prior to 1954 that the order of the Civil Court on a reference under S. 30 of the Land Acquisition Act is not an award so as to attract the provisions of S. 54 of the Land Acquisition Act, and I am bound by the said decisions, I hold that the objection raised by the office that the appeal is not maintainable under S. 54 of the Land Acquisition Act is valid.

13. My attention is also drawn to a decision of this Court in C. M. A. (S. R. No. 70706) of the 1976 wherein it was observed that

'Section 30 of the Act does not refer to the expression 'Award' at all. On the other hand, S. 11 as well as S. 18 refer to the expression 'Award' and it is that expression that is used in S. 54 of the Act providing for an appeal from such an award. With respect to matters not intended to be statutorily subsumed under the category of 'Award' when decided by the Court as defined by the Act, that decision under S. 30 of the Act is rendered appealable under S. 96 of the Civil p. C. and as such it is not Civil Miscellaneous Appeal that is to be filed against such a dispute contemplated under S. 30 but a regular appeal under Section 96 of the Civil P. C. The provisions of S. 54 do not apply to a matter that arises under S. 30 of the Act ........

When the proceedings under S. 30 are thus before the Civil Court, those proceedings are to be governed by the procedure applicable to such Courts and therefore, the decision rendered by a Court under S. 30, I am of the view, is by virtue of S. 96 of the Civil P. C. appealable to the High Court and S. 54 has no application to such case.

14. From this decision it follows that S. 54 has not application to an order passed by the Civil Court on a reference under S. 30 of the Act. Even in respect of orders passed by the Courts on a reference under S. 30 of the Act appeals would lie to the High Court provided that the valuation is more than Rupees 15,000/-. But that is by virtue of the provisions of S. 96 of the Civil Procedure Code read with S. 17 of the Andhra Pradesh Civil Court Act. In the present case as the valuation is less than Rs. 15,000/- and hence appeal lies only to the District Courts under S. 17 of the Andhra Pradesh Civil Court Act and S. 54 of the Land Acquisition Act has no application as the order under appeal cannot be said to be an award within the meaning of the said section.

15. In these circumstances, the objection raised by the office is upheld. I must express my thanks to Mr. Sreeramulu who appeared as amicus curiae and assisted the Court.

16. Order accordingly.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //