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Om Prakash Gupta and anr. Vs. State of U.P. and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberFirst Appeal No. 16 of 1975
Judge
Reported inAIR1976All371
ActsUttar Pradesh Nagar Mahapalika Adhiniyam, 1959 - Sections 371 and 381; Uttar Pradesh Court-fees (Amendment) Act, 1870 - Sections 8; Uttar Pradesh Urban Planning and Development Act, 1973; Town Improvement Act
AppellantOm Prakash Gupta and anr.
RespondentState of U.P. and anr.
Appellant AdvocateV.P. Misra, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateStanding Counsel
Excerpt:
.....as provided in section 8 of the court-fees act then the provisions of schedule ii would have no application whatsoever. there is a deficiency of rupees 13,035/- on the memorandum of appealand the appellants should now be called upon to make good the deficiency......being in force. while it is true that acquisition was not being made under the provisions of any land acquisition act in this case, the acquisition was being made under a statute similar to that of the united provinces town improvement act. nevertheless it was an acquisition of land for public purposes. in the first part of section 8 there is no reference to any tribunal. in the second part of section 8 there is a reference to a tribunal. in the first part any order relating to compensation under any act for the acquisition of land for public purposes is liable to court-fees as under section 8 of the court-fees act. a question arose as to what was the meaning to be given to the word 'order' appearing in the first part of section 8. in the case of satya charanv. state of west bengal :.....
Judgment:

Amitav Banerji, J.

1. This is a reference by the Taxing Officer in the matter of the amount of court-fee leviable on an appeal filed against the decision of the Tribunal constituted under the U. P. Nagar Mahapalika Adhiniyam, 1959, (hereinafter referred to as the Adhiniyam). The appellants have filed a memorandum of appeal against the decision of the Tribunal and claim that they are liable to pay a court-fee of Rs. 5/- only and are not liable to pay ad valorem court-fees. The appellants have claimed a sum of Rupees 4,52,341.00 before the Nagarmahapalika Tribunal (hereinafter referred to as the Tribunal) but were awarded a sum of Rs. 36,560.70 only. In the present appeal the claim is in respect of a sum of Rupees 1,62,740.30 only. The Stamp Reporter has pointed out a sum of Rs. 13,035.00 is payable as court-fees on the memorandum of appeal. Two objections were filed on behalf of the appellants and it was stated therein that the above appeal is not directed 'against an award made by a Tribunal constituted under the U. P. Town Improvement Act or any other similar statute' and consequently it was not covered by Section 8 of the Court-fees Act. It is further stated that with the enforcement of the U. P. Urban Planning and Development Act, (U. P. Act No. 11 of 1973), hereinafter referred to as the Development Act, the provisions of Chapter XIV of the Adhiniyam had been deleted with effect from the 2nd September, 1973 and consequently the Development Act is a similar statute to the U. P. Town Improvement Act as contemplated under Section 8 of the Court-fees Act. It was further stated that there is no other specific provision providing for court-fees on appeals against an award or order relating to compensaton for compulsory acquisition of land passed by the Tribunal constituted under the Adhiniyam. In view of the repeal of the provisions of Chapter XIV containing Sections 343 to 384 of the Adhiniyam it could not be said that the Adhiniyam was a statute similar to the U. P. Town Improvement Act. It is further stated that under Section 59 of the Development Act only the right to appeal under Section 381 has been preserved. Reference was also made to the decision of this Court in Aijaz Uddin v. Taxing Officer : AIR1966All227 wherein the learned single Judge held that the decision by the Tribunal constituted under the U. P. Nagar Mahapalika Act was anaward made by a Tribunal as contemplated under Section 8 of the Court-fees Act. The Taxing Officer finding the matter one of general importance has referred it for a decision to this Court.

2. In June 1944, the land of theappellants was notified for acquisition under the provisions of the U. P. Town Improvement Act, 1922. During the pendency of the proceedings the U. P. Nagar Mahapalika Adhiniyam came into effect from 1st February, 1960. The Collector gave the award in 1961 and thereafter possession of the land was taken on the 16th November, 1961. The matter of compensation was referred to the Tribunal constituted under Section 371 of the Adhiniyam. In the meantime the appellants filed a writ petition against the acquisition and the matter went up to the Supreme Court. The proceedings meanwhile remained stayed. The appeal was partly allowed and the impugned modifications were held to suffer from the vice of discrimination and were quashed but the Court upheld the acquisition and the validity of the award made on the 13th April, 1961. On the 30th November, 1974, the Tribunal gave its decision. In the meanwhile under the provisions of the U. P. Urban Planning and Development Act, 1973 a Development Authority was created for Allahabad on the 19th August, 1974 and the schemes which were pending with the Nagar Mahapalika were taken over by the Development Authority. With the constitution of the Allahabad Development Authority the provisions of Chapter XIV of the Adhiniyam stood suspended as contained in Section 59, of the Development Act but it made clear that 'all proceedings relating to acquisition of land and interest in land for improvement schemes under the said enactments pending immediately before such suspension before any court, tribunal or authority may be continued and concluded in accordance with the provisions of the said enactments (which shall mutatis mutandis apply) as if those provisions were not suspended.'

3. The principal question to be considered in this case is whether the memorandum of appeal filed under the provisions of Section 381 of the Adhiniyam to the High Court is liable to be charged with court-fees as provided under Section 8 of the Court-fees Act (as amended by the State Legislature) or is to be treated as an application or petition under the provisions of Schedule IIof the Court-Fees Act and liable to a fixed court-fees of Rs. 5/- only.

4. The contention of the learned counsel for the appellants in brief is this the provisions of Section 8 are inapplicable in this case because it is a decision of the Tribunal not constituted under any similar statute as that of the United Provinces Town Improvement Act and as such court-fees payable on the memorandum of appeal would be only Rs. 5/- as is provided in Item 1 of Schedule II of the Court-fees Act. In other words, his contention is that the matter of compensation was before a Tribunal constituted under the Adhiniyam which was a statute similar to that of the United Provinces Town Improvement Act but by the time the award came to be made and with the deletion of Chapter XIV of the Adhiniyam it could not be said that the Adhiniyam was a similar statute as that of the United Provinces Town Improvement Act and consequently Section 8 of the Court-fees Act would have no application. He further contended that notwithstanding the preservation of the provisions in relation to proceedings relating to acquisition of land and interest in land for improvement schemes to pending proceedings before any court, tribunal or authority the repeal of the remaining provisions took away from the Adhiniyam the provisions by which it could be judged to be a statute similar to that of the U, P. Town Improvement Act. Learned counsel further contended that the Court-fees Act was a fiscal statute and if there were two interpretations possible the benefit must go in favour of the appellants. I have also heard the Chief Standing Counsel for the State of U. P. He has contended that the provisions of Section 8 of the Court-fees Act will apply wherever it is an acquisition for a public purpose. He further contended that the Nagar Mahapalika Adhiniyam is a similar statute like the Town Improvement Act notwithstanding its repeal under Section 59 (1) (a) of the Development Act. He also contended that in view of the provisions of Sub-section (13) of Section 59 of the Development Act wherein clause (a) of Section 59 (1) had not been assigned to be the function of the Development Authority, which indicated that notwithstanding the repeal of Chapter XIV of the Adhiniyam by the Development Act for the purposes of appeal the Adhiniyam would be deemed to be existing law. He also referred to the U. P. General Clauses Act Section 6 (c) and (e) and con-tended that it saved the provisions of the Adhiniyam notwithstanding their repeal by the Development Act. He placed reliance on the decision of the learned single Judge in the decision of Aijaz Uddin v. Taxing Officer : AIR1966All227 . He further contended that the acquisition in the present case was for a public purpose although it was initiated under the U. P. Town Improvement Act and continued under the Adhiniyam. Lastly, he contended that the meaning to be given to words 'all proceedings' in Section 59 (1) (a) of the Development Act would have the effect of keeping intact until the disposal of the appeal the provisions for the acquisition of land for public purposes.

5. There can be no manner of doubt that the acquisition in the present case was for a public purpose. The scheme was put forward under the provisions of the U. P. Town Improvement Act and carried through under the provisions of the Adhiniyam. The Tribunal was duly constituted under the provisions of the Adhiniyam. It considered the questions before it and ultimately by its order dated the 30th November, 1974, gave its award. The award of the Tribunal becomes final unless appealed from as is provided under Section 381 of the Adhiniyam. The appeal that is being filed in this Court is, therefore, under the provisions of Section 381 of the Adhiniyam. This Section is also contained in Chapter XIV of the Adhniyam. Chapter XIV has been suspended under the provisions of Section 59 (1) (a) of the Development Act, However, under the provisions of Section 59 (1) (a) all proceedings relating to acquisition of land and interest in land for improvement schemes under the Adhiniyam which were pending before any court, tribunal -or authority was to be continued and concluded in accordance with the provisions of the Adhiniyam as if those provisions were not suspended. This provision, therefore, ensures that a proceeding before a Tribunal was to be continued and concluded as if Chapter XIV of the Adhiniyam had not been repealed. It could be argued that the proceedings before the Tribunal comes to an end with the giving of the award but this is not quite correct. Clause (a) of Section 381 (1) makes it clear that an appeal to the High Court against the decision of the Tribunal would lie where the Chairman of the Tribunal gives a certificate that the case is a fit one for appeal. Thus, the proceedings for the appeal cannot commence unless the Chairman of theTribunal is approached for a certificate and he either grants the certificate or refuses the certificate. In the event of his refusal it is open to the appellants to seek a certificate from the High Court itself. Therefore the appeal filed before the High Court is a continuation of the proceedings for the acquisition of land Therefore, the provisions relating to the acquisition of land which have been saved under Section 59 of the Development Act would by fiction of law keep intact the provisions of Chapter XIV of the Adhiniyam. The appeal itself is being filed under the provisions of Section 381 of the Adhiniyam. It is not being filed under any other provision of law and certainly not as a petition or an application. Since it is being filed as an appeal against a decision of the Tribunal under Section 381 of the Adhiniyam it contemplates the existence for the purpose of the appeal in this Court of the provisions of Chapter XIV of the Adhiniyam. It goes without saying that the Adhiniyam is a statute similar to that of the U. P. Town Improvement Act. The decision in the case of Aijaz Uddin v. Taxing Officer : AIR1966All227 is an authority for the said proposition. I see no reason to take a different view from the one taken in that case.

6. The principal basis for the contention of the appellant's is that while the provisions of Chapter XIV of the Adhiniyam have to be ignored for a comparison to find out whether it is a statute similar to that of the U. P. Town Improvement Act but their appeal under Section 381 of the Adhiniyam is maintainable. A perusal of Section 59 (1) (a) of the Development Act makes it clear that the entire Chapter XIV of the Adhiniyam is to remain suspended with the coming in force of the Development Act. It virtually amounts to a repeal for the duration of the Development Act. There is nothing in Sub-section (1) (a) of Section 59 to preserve the right of an appeal under Section 381 of the Adhiniyam unless it could be said that the appeal was included in the words- 'all proceedings relating to the acquisition of land and interest in land'. If it were to be held that the appeal under Section 381 was not a proceeding relating to acquisition of land and interest in land, then in that event the result would be that no appeal would lie. Once it is conceded that an appeal lies under Section 381 of the Adhiniyam then it follows that it could be only byvirtue of being included in the words 'all proceedings relating to acquisition of land and interest in land'. It is not the appellant's contention that the appeal lay under any other provisions of law and on the contrary it is their case that an appeal lay under Section 381 of the Adhiniyam. In this view of the matter for the purposes of the appeal it will be presumed that the provisions of Chapter XIV were not suspended. Once the provisions of Chapter XIV of the Adhiniyam were deemed not to be suspended then it provided a nexus for comparison with the provisions of the U. P. Town Improvement Act. In this view of the matter the contention of the learned counsel for the appellants cannot be accepted.

7. Learned counsel contended that the first part of Section 8 of the Court-fees Act would not be applicable for the acquisition was not being done under the provisions of any Act for the acquisition of land for public purposes. Secondly, it was not being done under the provisions of an Act which was for the time being in force. His contention was that the U. P. Nagar Mahapalika Adhiniyam was not an Act for the acquisition of land for public purposes and secondly, even if it was treated to be an Act for the said purpose, it had ceased to be an Act in force on the date of the filing of the appeal. It cannot be denied that the relevant date for the purposes of payment of the court-fees is the date when court-fees is payable viz., the date on which the appeal is filed. Chapter XIV of the Adhiniyam, it was contended remained suspended on the date on which the memorandum of appeal was filed in this Court. It was, therefore, sought to be contended that it was not an Act which was for the time being in force. While it is true that acquisition was not being made under the provisions of any Land Acquisition Act in this case, the acquisition was being made under a statute similar to that of the United Provinces Town Improvement Act. Nevertheless it was an acquisition of land for public purposes. In the first part of Section 8 there is no reference to any Tribunal. In the second part of Section 8 there is a reference to a Tribunal. In the first part any order relating to compensation under any Act for the acquisition of land for public purposes is liable to court-fees as under Section 8 of the Court-fees Act. A question arose as to what was the meaning to be given to the word 'order' appearing in the first part of Section 8. In the case of Satya Charanv. State of West Bengal : AIR1959Cal609 it was held that 'Section 8 of the Court-fees Act does not use the expression 'order' simpliciter but uses the expression 'order relating to compensation under any Act for the time being in force'. That being so, there is no reason why the expression 'order' in Section 8 must be treated as an order under Section 2(14), Civil Procedure Code. An award made under Section 7 of the Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property Act is an order within the meaning of Section 8 of the Court-fees Act and in an appeal against such an award court-fee under Schedule I Article 1 of the Court-fees Act is payable on the difference of the amount awarded by the arbitrator and that claimed by the appellant'. It was held therein that the memorandum of appeal was liable to Court fees under Schedule I article 1 of the Court-fees Act. A similar question had been considered by this Court in the case of Debi Din v. Secretary of State : AIR1939All127 . It was held therein that an order of compensation passed by a Tribunal constituted under the U. P. Town Improvement Act is an order of the Civil Court and the Court fee was payable under Section 8 of the Court-fees Act on the difference between the amount awarded and the amount claimed by the appellant. In this decision the question that arose was against the decision of a Tribunal, as in the present case. It was held that a decision by a Tribunal under the U. P. Town Improvement Act was appealable and the court-fee was payable in accordance with Section 8 of the Court-fees Act. It is, therefore, clear that whenever there is an appeal against a decision of a Tribunal constituted under a statute similar to that of the U. P. Town Improvement Act, Section 8 of the Court-fees Act would be applicable. It, therefore, follows that the first part of Section 8 relates to an order made in regard to compensation under any Act for the acquisition of land for public purposes. This position may have arisen if Chapter XIV of the Adhiniyam had been repealed as a whole without any saving clause and a party had to take recourse to the original award. In such a case the provisions of the first part could have been made applicable. It is, therefore, not necessary in this matter to rely on the first part of Section 8.

8. A perusal of Sub-section (6) (a) of Section 59 of the Development Act makes it clear that notwithstanding theprovisions of Section 59 (1) of the Act which suspends the provisions of Chapter XIV of the Adhiniyam, anything done or any action taken under the Adhiniyam shall continue in force so far as it is not inconsistent with the provisions of the Development Act. The scheme for acquisition, the proceedings relating to acquisition were all taken under the provisions of the Adhiniyam. These are saved under Section 59 (6) (a) notwithstanding the suspension of Chapter XIV of the Adhiniyam. Thus the entire acquisition proceedings in the present case have been saved notwithstanding the suspension of Chapter XIV of the Adhiniyam. The contention of the learned counsel was that there is nothing in Sub-section (6) (a) or the subsequent clauses which ensure the keeping alive the provisions of Chapter XIV of Adhiniyam. In my opinion, it was not so. Section 59 (1) (a) suspended the provisions of Chapter XIV of the Adhiniyam but the saving clause in that very provision provided that all proceedings relating to the acquisition of land and interest in land are to be continued and concluded as if those provisions were not suspended. The acquisition proceedings were under the provisions of Chapter XIV of the Adhiniyam, It did not merely keep alive those provisions of Chapter XIV which related to the proceedings in hand, but, in my opinion related to the entire Chapter XIV of the Adhiniyam. Otherwise, it would then result in keeping alive Section 381 of the Adhiniyam but keep the other provisions of Sections 343 to 384 as if non-existent. I am unable to accept the contention of the learned counsel for the appellants that apart from Section 381 of the Adhiniyam all other sections of Chapter XIV of the Adhiniyam remain suspended and non-existent for the purpose of this appeal.

9. I am, therefore, of the opinion that the provisions of Section 8 of the Court-fees Act applied to the facts of the present case. It is well settled that if the memorandum of appeal was to be charged with court-fees as provided in Section 8 of the Court-fees Act then the provisions of Schedule II would have no application whatsoever. For the reasons indicated above, I am of the opinion that the contentions raised on behalf of the appellants have no merits. The memorandum of appeal in the present case is liable to court-fees as held by the Stamp Reporter. There is a deficiency of Rupees 13,035/- on the memorandum of appealand the appellants should now be called upon to make good the deficiency.

10. The reference is answered accordingly.


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