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Secretary of State Vs. Allahabad Bank Ltd. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
Subject Banking
CourtAllahabad
Decided On
Reported inAIR1939All34
AppellantSecretary of State
RespondentAllahabad Bank Ltd.
Excerpt:
.....for the reasons state above, the school tribunal constituted under section 8 of the act cannot entertain appeals filed under section 9 by the employees working in schools which are established and administered by the cantonment board. [deolali cantonment board v usha devidas dongre, 1993 mah.lj 74; 1993 lab ic 1858 overruled]. - ' the owners of the buildings situate on the land claimed to be the proprietors of the land as well, or in the alternative to be permanent lessees of the land if it was found that the land was still in the ownership of the government. we have quoted the notification, and we may point out that the word 'land' clearly appears on the face of it. in the cases before us the notifications were clearly notifications to acquire the land......the owners being dissatisfied with the awards of the collector applied for references; to the learned district judge under section 18, land acquisition act, 1894, and in these-references the four owners make it clear that they were claiming an interest in the land as opposed to the buildings and that they wore aggrieved by the fact that the collector had not awarded them any compensation in respect of their alleged interest in the land. in due course the matters came before the learned district judge who disposed of the four cases in one judgment. all the parties agreed that the learned district judge had jurisdiction to deal with the references, but the learned district judge has rightly pointed out that jurisdiction could not be given to him by consent of the parties. he.....
Judgment:

Harries, J.

1. These are three connected appeals against a judgment of the learned District Judge of Cawnpore directing that three references under the Land Acquisition Act should be returned inasmuch as he had no jurisdiction to deal with them. The facts -which gave rise to this litigation may be shortly stated as follows: On 4th November 1933, the Government notified the owners of five bungalows situate at the Cantonments at Cawnpore that they were going to acquire the same. Bungalows Nos. 20 and 71 were owned by the Allahabad Bank, Ltd., who are the respondents in First Appeal No. 93 of 1935. Bungalow No. 43 was owned by Kali Charan and Jagannath who are respondents in First Appeal No. 94 of 1935. Bungalow No. 26 was owned by Kishori Lal who is the respondent in First Appeal No. 96 of 1935. The Government also notified their intention to acquire-No. 37 which was owned by Sital Prasad and others. Sital Prasad and others are respondents in another first appeal, namely First Appeal No. 95 of 1935; but we are unable to deal with this appeal today by reason of the fact that Sital Prasad has died and the names of his representatives have not yet been brought on to the record.

2. The owners of these bungalows claimed that they were not only owners of the buildings, but were also interested in the sites of the buildings. The Allahabad Bank claimed that they were permanent lessees, whereas the other owners claimed that they were either perpetual tenants or licensees under a license which could not be revoked. However it is clear that all the four owners of the bungalows claimed to be interested not only in the buildings but in the land forming the site of the buildings. In due course four cases were registered before the Collector and on 5th March 1934 the Collector gave his awards. The Collector held that the sites of these bungalows belonged to the-Government and that the owners of the-bungalows had no interest whatsoever in. the land. Accordingly they were awarded no compensation for the land. They were-admittedly the owners of the buildings and varying sums were awarded to the four owners.

3. The owners being dissatisfied with the awards of the Collector applied for references; to the learned District Judge under Section 18, Land Acquisition Act, 1894, and in these-references the four owners make it clear that they were claiming an interest in the land as opposed to the buildings and that they wore aggrieved by the fact that the Collector had not awarded them any compensation in respect of their alleged interest in the land. In due course the matters came before the learned District Judge who disposed of the four cases in one judgment. All the parties agreed that the learned District Judge had jurisdiction to deal with the references, but the learned District Judge has rightly pointed out that jurisdiction could not be given to him by consent of the parties. He considered the question of jurisdiction and eventually held that as the Government in effect acquired only the buildings and not the land forming the site of the buildings the references to the learned District Judge were not competent and accordingly he had no jurisdiction to entertain them. He therefore directed that the references should be returned, and it is against that judgment that the present appeals have been brought.

4. A preliminary objection was taken by Mr. Piare Lal Banerji on behalf of the respondents that no appeal lay in these cases and Mr. Dar on behalf of the Secretary of State for India in Council has to concede that such is the case. The matter is concluded by a Pull Bench decision of this Court, namely Makhan Lal v. Secretary of State : AIR1934All260 Mr. Dar however asks us to treat these appeals as applications in revision and Mr. Piare Lal Banerji on behalf of the respondents has no objection to such a course being followed. In Makhan Lal v. Secretary of State : AIR1934All260 , to which we have referred, the Full Bench treated the appeal as a revision and we therefore entertain these proceedings not as appeals but as applications in revision. It has been strongly urged by Mr. Dar on behalf of the appellant that the learned District Judge had jurisdiction to entertain these references and he places great reliance upon the Full Bench case in 56 All 6561 to which we have already referred. In that case the Local Government decided to acquire a piece of land, which was described in the notification as situate in District Cawnpore, Pargana Cawnporo, village Civil Lines, area 2 acres and odd, with buildings thereon, for purposes of extending the G.N.K. School, Cawnpore. In the notification, in the remark column the following was stated:

The land required is Nazul land occupied by buildings owned by a private person.' The owners of the buildings situate on the land claimed to be the proprietors of the land as well, or in the alternative to be permanent lessees of the land if it was found that the land was still in the ownership of the Government. The Collector acting under the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act decided that the land belonged to the Government and that the applicants' interests in the sites were limited to those of tenants-at-will and that they were entitled to compensation only for the buildings which stood on the land. The applicants being dissatisfied with that decision asked for a reference under Section 18, Land Acquisition Act, but when the matter came before the learned District Judge he held that he had no jurisdiction to entertain the reference and directed that it should be returned. The Full Bench of this Court held that in the circumstances of that case the District Judge had jurisdiction and should have entertained the reference. At p. 663 et seq learned Judges dealt with this point at length and considered the numerous cases which had previously been decided and they eventually held that in that particular case though the owners were eventually only given compensation for the buildings yet it was a proceeding for the acquisition of land and therefore a reference could properly be made to the District Judge. At p. 667 they observe:

On behalf of the Secretary of State it has been argued that in this particular case what was sought to be acquired was not the site namely the land, but only the buildings thereon. In our opinion this argument is not correct. Firstly, it would not be open to the Local Government to acquire anything apart from the land, and secondly, as a matter of fact, the notification indicates that what was sought to be acquired was land. We have quoted the notification, and we may point out that the word 'land' clearly appears on the face of it. The notification begins with the words 'the land designated below', and under this notification appears a specification of the land.

If we look at Sections 4 and 6, Land Acquisition Act, we find that what is to be acquired is land, and nothing apart from the land. If the argument of the learned Counsel for the Secretary of State were correct, the opinion of the officers of the Secretary of State that a certain site belonged to the Secretary of State would be conclusive for the purposes of Land Acquisition Act. It is always open to the Secretary of State to declare in the notification that the Secretary of State claimed the land as Nazul, and this is what has been done in this case. Persons who are interested in disputing the title of the Government to the land would be entitled to raise objections before the Collector, and then before the District Judge, and to have a determination of the question of title on the evidence.

5. From the above it is clear that the view of the Full Bench was that in order that proceedings under the Act should be taken the Government were bound to acquire the land, that is to say, they could not claim to [acquire buildings only, they were bound to claim the acquisition of the whole interest of the owner of the buildings. It was open to the Government to deny that the owner had any interest in the land as opposed to buildings, but in order to bring the proceedings within the Act the Government would have to make a claim to all the interest of the owner of the buildings what lover that might be. The learned Judges point oat that in the particular notification in that case the Government purported to acquire the land and, according to the definition of 'land' in the Land Acquisition Act land includes buildings. The Government therefore in the notification gave I notice that they intended to acquire the whole interest of the owner of the buildings, though they denied that the owner of the buildings had any interest in the site. When such a notice is served, the owner of the buildings may claim an interest in the site and, if he does, the matter must be decided in the first place by the Collector and thereafter by a reference to the District Judge under Section 18 of the Act. We can find no distinction of any kind between the present cases and the Full Bench case to which we have referred. In the cases before us the notifications were clearly notifications to acquire the land. The notifications to the Allahabad Bank for example are printed at pp. 187 and 188 in the paper-book of First Appeal No. 93 of 1935. The opening paragrap of the notice at p. 188 is as follows:

Whereas it is the intention of Government to appropriate land to the extent and for the purpose and in the village or town as the case may be, named below, this is to give notice to you that you are required to appear personally or by agent, at the office of the Collector, Cawnpore, before Mr. A.D. Banerji, on 22nd January 1934, and to state the nature of your interest in the land, the amount and particulars of your claim to compensation for such an interest and your objection (if any) to the measurement made.

6. It is also stated in the notices that the bungalows concerned are bungalows Nos. 20 and 71 and that the area of land in acres us 4.15 and 7.62 respectively. Further it is; stated that the purpose for which the land is required is for building houses for cantonmont officials. The notices served upon the respondents in the other appeals were in similar terms. These notices make it clear that the Government proposed to acquire the land in short to acquire whatever interest the respondents had in the property. There is one distinction of fact between the present cases and the Full Bench case. In the Full Bench case the Government had stated in the notice that the land was Nazul land and therefore their own property. In the notices in the present cases the Government do not state that the land is solely their property. We do not attach much importance to this distinction of fact but, if the distinction is of any importance, it makes the present cases even stronger than the Full Bench ease. The form of the notices in the present cases makes it clear that the Government was going to acquire the whole of the respondents' interests and it gave the respondents an opportunity to claim in respect of whatever interest they might have in the land. Those were matters which, according to the Full Bench, should have been decided in the first place by the Collector and then by a reference to the District Judge. The Collector did decide the] disputes and in our judgment the learned District Judge should have entertained the references.

7. The learned Judges in their judgment in the Full Bench case refer with approval to the case in Jogesh Chandra v. Secretary of State (1919) 5 A.I.R. Cal. 724 In that case a notice was given to the appellant under the Land Acquisition Act and the appellant claimed an interest in the land. The Collector denied that the appellant had any interest in the land and held that the land belonged solely to the Government. Compensation was awarded to the appellant merely for buildings and trees upon the land, and thereafter the appellant brought a regular suit in the Civil Courts to claim compensation for the land which had been taken. A Bench of the Calcutta High Court held that a regular suit would not lie in the Civil Court and that the appellant's only remedy was a reference under Section 18, Land Acquisition Act, to the Court of the District Judge. If, in that case, the appellant's only remedy was a reference to the District Judge, obviously the District Judge was bound to entertain such a reference. There is no distinction between the facts of the Calcutta case and the present cases and, as we have stated, the Calcutta case was in terms approved of in the Full Bench of our Court.

8. The learned District Judge considered the effect of the Full Bench case in Makhan Lal v. Secretary of State : AIR1934All260 , but in our view he has not appreciated the reasoning contained in the judgment. He appears to have thought that the Full Bench case did not cover the facts of the present cases. He stresses one observation of the learned Judges that land only can be acquired, but he overlooks the fact that in that particular case the notification itself stated that the Government claimed the whole interest in the land and further that the Collector had held that the owner of the buildings had no interest in the land whatsoever. In our judgment, these cases are entirely covered by the Full Bench case to which we have referred and consequently we are bound to hold that the learned District Judge had jurisdiction to entertain these references. The order directing these references to be returned cannot therefore be sustained. It has been contended by Mr. Dar on behalf of the appellant that we should decide the question as to whether the respondents have or have not any interest in the sites of these bungalows. In our judgment we have not the material before us, neither can we go into the question of values. We treat these appeals as revisions and we cannot go into the facts, and that being so, we think the proper course is to set aside the order of the learned District Judge and to remand the cases to the Court of the learned District Judge to be re-heard and determined according to law.

9. We therefore allow First Appeals Nos. 93, 94 and 96, set aside the judgment and orders of the learned District Judge and remand these cases to the Court of the learned District Judge to be re-heard and determined on the merits. The parties will be at liberty to adduce fresh evidence. The costs: of these appeals and of the proceedings in the Court below will abide the event. The appellant is entitled to the return of the court-fee in these three appeals.


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