Pramada Charan Banrji and Sulaiman, JJ.
1. This appeal arises out of an order passed by the District Judge of Cawnpore in a reference under Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act. A certain area of land approximating 9 acres has been 'acquired for the erection of a European Civil Hospital at Cawnpore. The Collector assessed the compensation for this land, with a few buildings and trees upon it, at Rs. 30,000. Musammat Krishna Bai who is the owner of the land did not accept this amount and claimed Rs. 89,301 more. It appears that in 1895 the land had been purchased by Musammat Krishna Bai's husband for Rs. 2,000, on condition that it was to be used for the erection of bungalows, and for no other purpose. The learned District Judge has accepted the calculation of the Collector on the following basis: that under the new rules of the Municipal Board only four separate bungalows can be built on this land, that the cost of building a bungalow which would yield Rs. 100 as monthly rent would be about Rs. 14,000, that accordingly four such bungalows will yield Rs. 4,800 a year, and their value at 16f years' purchase would be about Rs. 80,000. Deducting from this amount a sum of Rs. 56,000, as the cost of construction, the value of the land comes to Rs. 24,000. From this he has deducted the value of ground rent at 16 years' purchase amounting to Rs. 2,145, and thus calculated the net value of the land in question at Rs. 21,855. Adding 15 per cent, to this he has found the total compensation payable for the land to be Rs. 25,133-4-0. To this sum he has added further sums of Rs. 4,710, and Rs. 154, as values of existing buildings and timber, respectively. The total of the compensation awarded thus comes to Rs. 30,000.
2. The learned District Judge seems to have been of opinion that Musammat Krishna Bai was only a limited owner of this property and he has therefore thought it desirable to direct that the money deposited in court should be invested in the Indian War Loan and the lady should have only the interest on the amount.
3. On appeal to this Court Musammat Krishna Bai contends that the amount of the compensation awarded is too low and that in any case the money deposited should have been ordered to be paid over to her.
4. As to the first point, the appellant's contention before us is that she is entitled to get compensation at the rate of Rs. 2 per square yard. Strong reliance is placed on the fact that the Municipal Board of Cawnpore has fixed a series of rates for the sale of Nazul land and that the rate fixed for sites in the Civil Lines in which the property in question is situated is Rs. 10 per square yard. We are of opinion, however, that the rates which may have been fixed for sales of small plots of land would not ordinarily be a safe guide in calculating the value of a large area of land like 9 acres. At the same time we find that the calculation accepted by the District Judge is based on mere surmise. There is no evidence on the record to show that the construction of a house which would yield a rent of Rs. 10O per mensem would cost Rs. 14,000. Nor is there any evidence on the record to show that 16| years' purchase is the prevailing rate in Cawnpore. The appellant, however, got the Nazul clerk of the Municipality examined as a witness and he produced a Municipal register showing the areas of lands let out on rent by the Municipality as well as the amounts of rents. Ignoring the cases where the land let out measured less than one acre and confining our attention to recent years only, we find that there are five instances which can give us an average of rent per acre realized by the Municipality when letting out large tracts of land in the Civil Lines.
Rs. a, p.
In 1907, 1 acre, 13 poles, were let out for .. 27 15 0
In 1910, 1 acre, 2 roods, 23 poles, let out for .. 493 15 0
In 1911, 2 acres, 2 roods, 24 poles, let out for .. 732 11 0
In 1911, 4 acres, 3 roods, 83 poles, let out for .. 148 12 4
In 1914,1 acre, 2 roods, 23 poles, let out for .. 521 1 9
11 acres, 3 roods, 36 poles .. 1,914 6 1
5. Thus taking into account the five recent instances an area of .11 acres, 3 roods, 36 poles, was let out at an annual rent of Rs. 1,914-6-1. This gives us a rough average of over Rs. 161 per acre. The 9 acres of land in question may, therefore, be reasonably supposed to yield about Rs. 1,450 a year. Taking 16| years' purchase as the correct basis of calculation the net value of the land of the appellant comes approximately to Rs. 24,166, instead of Rs. 21,865 which the Collector has found it to be. We have intentionally discarded out of the account the ground rent paid by the appellant because in our opinion the net value of the land is always greater than its letting values and we think that we would not be far wrong if we take the letting value of the land, as shown by the Municipal leases, to be its net value
6. The learned District Judge has added 15 per cent, on the net value of the land and then awarded compensation for the buildings and timber. In our opinion this was not a correct method of calculation. The total value of the property ought to have been found first and then 15 per cent, added on this total as compensation for compulsory acquisition. The value of the existing buildings has been found to be Rs. 4,710, and that of the standing timber as Rs. 154. Adding these sums to the net value of the land the total comes to Rs. 29/30. If we add to it 15 percent, for compulsory acquisition the grand total comas to Rs. 33, 84.
7. We think that in the absence of any positive evidence of the prevailing price of large tracts of adjoining lands, the above calculation would be a more satisfactory and safer basis of decision than the one adopted by the learned District Judge, which is based on mere surmise. We accordingly find that Rs. 33,384 was the amount of the compensation to which the appellant was entitled at the time when her property was acquired.
8. We are further of opinion that inasmuch as there is no evidence on the record to show that the appellant had only a limited interest in this property, and that on the other hand it was contended on her behalf that under a custom prevailing in Bikanir where her husband came from, she was the absolute owner of her husband's property, the court below was not justified in proceeding under Section 32 of the Land Acquisition Act as it purports to have done. As no other claimant had come forward and asked the court to protect his right, the order directing that the amount of the compensation should not be paid to the lady personally but should be invested in the Indian War Loan and she should be allowed only the interest on that amount was not a proper order. If there are really any reversioners and they fear that the money in her hands would be wasted by the lady, it would be open to them to seek relief in a court of law. We accordingly allow the appeal in part and modify the decree of the court below to this extent that we award Rs. 33,384 as compensation for the properly in question, instead of Rs. 30,000 awarded by the Judge, and we further declare that] the appellant is entitled to obtain the whole of the aforesaid amount and not only the interest on this sum, and set aside the order of the court below in this respect. The parties will receive and pay costs in both courts in proportion to success and failure.