1. A. S. No. 434 of 1979 is an appeal filed against the decree and order of the Subordinate Judge Vizianagaram made in C. P. 15 of 1974 dated 21st of April 1978. A. S. No. 870 of 1979 is another appeal filed against the decree and the order of the Court of the Subordinate Judge, Vizianagaram, but made in O. P. No. 16 of 1974 dated 21st of April 1978 and A. S. 913 of 1979 is the third in the series filed against the award passed by the learned Subordinate Judge Vizianagaram in O. P. 17 of 1974 dated 21st of April, 1978. All these three appeals arise out of a common order passed by the learned Subordinate Judge Vizianagaram disposing of the above mentioned in O. Ps. Viz. O. Ps. 15, 16 and 17 of 1964, and all of them relate to the disposal of claims of land owners for enhancement of compensation payable to them by the State under the Land Acquisition Act for the land belonging to the appellants and acquired by the Government under the provisions of Land Acquisition Act. The lands in these cases measuring about 40 acres are all situated in a village called 'Pakirukittali' in the present Vizianagaram district and are notified to be acquired by S. 4(1) notification dated 1st of February 1968 along with 140 acres of the adjoining lands situated in the neighbouring village at Devunikanakapaka of Cheepurupalli Taluk, Srikakulam District. After S. 6 declaration was made the land owners were given notices for conducting award enquiry under section of the Land Acquisition Act (hereinafter referred to as the Act). That was the time when the land owners ought to have staked their claims for specified sums of compensation. But in pursuance of those notices the appellants appeared before the District Collector on 28 the December, 1971, but failed to specify any amount which they claim to be paid as compensation. The Collector had therefore fixed Rs. 600/- per acre as compensation payable to the appellants. Dissatisfied with that fixation of the compensation by the Collector, and claiming of Rs. 3,000/- per acre as the proper compensation payable to them the appellants by a written application to the Collector got references made to the Civil Court under S. 18 of the Act. These references to the Civil Court are numbered by the Civil Court the case of the appellants for payment of compensation at the rate of Rs. 3,000/- per acre is mainly rested upon Ex. A.1. Ex. A 1 is an order passed by the learned Subordinate Judge, Srikakulam in O. P. 14 of 1972 enhancing the rate of compensation to Rs. 4,000/- per acre of wet land and Rs. 2,000/- per acre of dry land for the neighbouring lands situated in the above-mentioned Devunikanakapaka village of Cheepurupalli taluk. The learned Subordinate Judge accepted that evidence and based upon that evidence of compensation paid to the adjoining lands in the adjoining village observed :-
'........... it is not in dispute that the lands acquired in Devunikanakapalli village are situated adjacent to the lands mentioned in these matters. The lands of both the villages have been acquired at one and the same time and for the same purpose; viz. For the Gadigadda Reservoir. No evidence is adduced on behalf of the respondent that the lands of Devunikanakapaka are in any way superior to the lands of pakeerukittali'.
On that basis he opined that the appellants in these cases are also entitled to be paid similar compensation at the rate of Rs. 2,000/- per acre for the lands acquired. This is a fair view to take for the learned Judge. But he had refused to pass a decree at least to that extent on the only ground that he was barred by S. 25 of the Land Acquisition Act from enhancing the compensation because the appellants herein, hwo are the claimants before the learned Subordinate Judge failed to make any claim for a specified amount of compensation in response to the notice given under S. 9 of the Act. Thus holding the learned Subordinate Judge dismissed all the O.Ps. and rejected the references against which the present three appeals have been filed.
2. The result is that the appellant's lands were acquired by the State for less than market value.
3. It is not in dispute in these cases that the appellants, who appeared before the Collector on 20th December, 1971, failed to make any claim for any specified amount of compensation under S. 25 of the Land Acquisition Act. That section reads thus:-
(1) When the applicant has made a claim to compensation pursuant to any notice given under S. 9, the amount awarded to him by the Court shall not exceed the amount so claimed or be less than the amount awarded by the Collector under
(2) When the applicant has refused to make such claim or has omitted without sufficient reason (to be allowed by the Judge) to make such claim, the amount awarded by the Court shall in no case exceed the amount awarded by the Collector.
(3) When the applicant has omitted for a sufficient reasons (to be allowed by the Judge) to make such claim, the amount awarded to him by the court shall not be less than, and may exceed, the amount awarded by the Collector).
Under the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act which is greatly tilted against the farmers, the Civil Court is debarred from awarding any enhanced compensation over and above what was awarded to them by the Collector unless the land owners made a claim before the Collector for such greater amount of compensation. The Act says that where the farmers failed to specify and claim any amount as compensation before the Collector without sufficient cause it is not open for the civil Court to award enhanced compensation. In other words, the claim before the Collector for the specified amount is made by the act as the foundation for claiming enahnced compensation before the Civil Court. It is not the case of the appellants here that their failure to make the claim before the Collector for a specified amount of compensation is based upon any reason either sufficient or insufficient. From the judgment under appeal, I do not find that the appellants have ever attempted to give any reason to the court below for their failure to make the claim before the Collector. In those circumstances section 25 of the Act, in my opinion, debars the lower Court from awarding enhanced compensation. If the question has rested there, these appeals should have been dismissed. But Sri Y. Satyanarayana, learned counsel appearing for the appellants, argued that the application of the somewhat penal provision of S. 25 of the Land Acquisition Act is wrong in these cases. He contended that for the applicability of S. 25 of the Land Acquisition Act the land acquisition authorities should have cautioned and warned the appellants of the consequences of their failure to make claims before Collector. In order to be hit by the provisions of S. 25 of the Act the claimants should have failed to make their claim even after they are warned by the State Officers. As there is no finding that the State Officers warned the appellants, the lower court erred in applying S. 25 of the Land Acquisition Act. In support of this view Sri Satyanarayana, the learned counsel for the appellants referred to a Judgement of the Division Bench of the Madras High Court reported in Venkatarama Iyer v. Collector of Tanjore, AIR 1930 Mad 836 at 843. In that Judgement, Curgenven J., said:-
'When he appeared, the Labour Officer took on oral statement from him which, had it comprised the necessary particulars would have amounted to making a claim. It may be taken, I presume, that the Labour Office knew what those particulars should be, and in particular that they should have ncluded the appellant's own valuation of his property.
The officer must be taken to have known also the penalty to which the applicant