1. The lands in survey Nos. 46, 56, 57, 59, 60, 355-A, 722, 723, 849 and 8087 have been acquired by the Government. According to the petitioner, she is entitled to a 1/4th share in the lands and, therefore, she is entitled to 1/4th share of the amount of the compensation. She claims to have filed a petition before the Land Acquisition Officer. That was made prior to the award of the amount of compensation. She complains that despite her claim, the Land Acquisition Officer appears to have passed an award in favour of respondents 2, 3 and 6 only. From the counter it is seen that the Land Acquisition Officer passed an award in regard to survey Nos. 46, 57, 59 and 60 only and in regard to the other items he referred the dispute regarding title under S. 30 of the Land Acquisition Act. The learned Counsel for the petitioner contends that the dispute in regard to survey Nos. 46, 57, 59 and 60 should have also been referred to the Court under S. 30 of the Act. He alleges that the Land Acquisition Officer was not competent to adjudicate upon the question of title in regard to these items. I see no force in this submission.
2. Under Section 11 of the Land Acquisition Act, the Land Acquisition Officer is required to make an award as regards (i) the true area of the land, (ii) the compensation which in his opinion should be allowed for the land, and (iii) the apportionment of the said compensation amount among all the persons known or believed to be interested in the land, of whom, or of whose claims, he has information, whether or not they have respectively appeared before him.
3. Section 29 provides that where there are several persons interested, if such persons agree in the apportionment of the compensation, the particulars of such apportionment shall be specified in the award.
4. Section 30 provides that when the amount of compensation has been settled under S. 11, if any dispute arises as to the apportionment of the same or any part thereof, or as to the persons to whom the same or any part thereof is payable the Collector may refer such dispute to the decision of the Court.
5. Section 18 enables a person interested who has not accepted the award to make a written application to the Collector requiring that the matter be referred for the determination of the Court, whether his objection be to the measurement of the land, the amount of the compensation, the persons to whom it is payable, or the apportionment of the compensation among the persons interested.
6. If Sections 11, 29, 30 and 18 are read together, it becomes obvious that the Land Acquisition Officer has the jurisdiction to apportion the compensation among the persons interested while making an award. That necessarily means that he has the jurisdiction to decide questions of title if such questions are raised before him. But instead of deciding the question of title himself, he has the option to refer such questions to the Court under S. 30 of the Act. Naturally, where complicated questions of title arise, the Land Acquisition Officer will be expected to refer the questions for the decision of the Court under S. 30. But where the questions raised are simple, the Land Acquisition Officer may himself deal with them and incorporate his decision in the award. If he does not and if a party is aggrieved by the apportionment of compensation, such party may seek a reference under S. 18 of the Act. In the present case, the Land Acquisition Officer on the basis of the revenue records came to the conclusion that the petitioner was not entitled to any share in certain survey numbers. He noticed that the petitioner did not choose to adduce any evidence in support of her claim in regard to her share in those survey numbers. The entire amount of compensation in regard to those survey numbers was awarded to respondents 2, 3 and 4. It does not appear that the Land Acquisition Officer has exceeded his jurisdiction in making such award.
7. If the petitioner is aggrieved by the award, it is open to her to seek a reference under S. 18 of the Act. With these observations, the writ petition is dismissed. There will be no order as to costs. Advocate's fee Rs. 150/-.
8. Petition dismissed.