N.D. Ojha, J.
1. These two connected appeals raise identical questions and as such are being decided by a common judgment. A notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act (hereinafter referred to as the Act) was issued on 20-7-1965 for acquiring a large tract of land situate in certain villages of tahsil Ghaziabad, as it then was, district of Meerut at the instance of M/s Modi Spinning and Weaving Mills Co. Ltd., Modinagar, for construction of a new factory for the manufacture of Nylon and other synthetic fibres and of dwelling houses for the employees. The land specified in the notification under Section 4 included plots of land belonging to Rameshwar Dayal and others who are the appellants in First Appeal No. 223 of 1974 and Niranjan Singh and others who are the appellants in First Appeal No. 292 of 1974. The Land Acquisition Officer by his award dated 14-7-1967 determined compensation at the rate of Rs. 2/- per sq. yard. The appellants felt aggrieved by this award. At the instance of Rameshwar Dayal and others Reference No. 153 of 1969 and at the instance of Niranjan Singh and others Reference No. 149 of 1969 were made by the Collector, Meerut to the District Judge, Meerut. The appellants claimed compensation before the District Judge at the rate of Rs. 10/- per sq. yard. These references were decided by the Additional District Judge, Meerut, by two separate awards each dated 29-9-1970 whereby the compensation was determined at the rate of Rs. 2.50 per sq. yard. Feeling dissatisfied Rameshwar Dayal and others have preferred First Appeal No. 223 of 1974 and Niranjan Singh and others have preferred First Appeal No. 292 of 1974 in this Court. In these appeals the appellants have confined their claim of compensation at the rate of Rs. 5/- per sq. yard.
2. During the course of arguments counsel for the appellants has made two submissions in support of these appeals :
(1) The amount of compensation awarded by the Additional District Judge by determining the market value of the land of the appellants at the rate of Rs. 2.50 p. per sq. yard is inadequate and the appellants are entitled to compensation at the rate of Rs. 5/- per sq. yard.
(2) The appellants are also entitled to solatiun at the rate of 30% and interest at the rate of 9% per annum as provided for by the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Act, 1984 (hereinafter referred to as the 1984 Amending Act).
3. We shall deal with the second submission first. In regard to this submission it has been pointed out by counsel for the respondents that in the State of Uttar Pradesh Section 23(2) of the Act which provides for payment of solatium was deleted w.e.f. 19-11-1954 by U. P. Act No. 22 of 1954 and was reinsrted w.e.f. 3-7-1972 by U. P. Act No. 28 of 1972 and on its basis it has been urged that since the notification under Section 4 of the Act had been issued on 20-7-1965 and since the reinsertion of Section 23(2) of the Act by U. P. Act No. 28of 1972 was not retrospective the appellants were not entitled to any solatium. Reliance in support of this submission has been placed on the decision of a Division Bench of this Court in State of U. P. v. Khairunnisa Begum AIR 1983 All 320. It has also been urged that the amendment made in the Act by the Amending Act of 1984 was also not applicable to the facts of the instant cases inasmuch as the award both by the Land Acquisition Officer and the Additional District Judge were given before 30-4-1982 and these appeals are not directed against an award given after 30-4-1982. Reliance in support of this submission has been placed on a decision of the Supreme Court in K. Kamalajammanniavaru v. Special Land Acquisition Officer : 2SCR914 .
4. In the case of Khairunnisa Begum (supra) it was held that since Section 23(2) was not applicable to the State of U. P. between 1954 and 1972 solatium was not payable in those cases where notification under Section 4 of the Act was issued in between the period aforesaid. In this connection it may be pointed out that a similar plea had been raised on behalf of the State before another Division Bench of this Court in First Appeal No. 335 of 1968. The Collector, Agra, v. Banwari, Decided on 4-3-1976 but it was repelled and in regard to the directive contained in Section 23(2) of the Act with particular reference to U. P. Act No. 28 of 1972, it was held :--
'On its language the directive of this provision is operative in respect of cases where market value is determined after coming into force of this Act, namely, 31st July 1972. There being no restriction referable to the issuance of the notification under Section 4, it cannot be legitimately submitted that the directive contained in the newly added Sub-section (2) of Section 23 is applicable only to such cases where the notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act was issued on (or) after 31st July, 1972.'
5. The same plea was again raised by the State before a different Division Bench in First Appeal No. 176 of 1972, State of U. P. v. Raja Ram Kumar Bhargava, decided on 16-4-1976 and it was urged that the case of Banwari (supra) was wrongly decided. It was held, while repelling the aforesaid plea 'that the reasons given for the view' do not appear to us to be unsound'. Subsequently in First Appeal No. 432 of 1968, Smt. Vidyawati v. The Collector, Agra, decided on 24-8-1976, another Division Bench of this Court following the decisions in the cases of Banwari (supra) and Raja Ram Kumar Bhargava (supra) repelled the plea of the State that solatium was not payable if notification under Section 4 of the Act had been issued between 1954 and 1972.
6. In the case of Khairunnisa Begum (AIR 1983 All 320) (supra) where a contrary view was taken none of the three decisions in the cases of Banwari (supra), Raja Ram Kumar Bhargava (supra) and Smt. Vidyawati (supra) appear to have been brought to the notice of the learned Judges even though the case was decided on 29-7-1982.
7. Later on in First Appeal No. 79of 1972, Lakshman Singh v. State of U. P. decided on 6-8-1984, the aforesaid plea was again raised by the Chief Standing Counsel for State of U. P. before another Division Bench. It was held :
'The learned Chief Standing Counsel urged that the provision for the payment of solatium contained in Section 23(2) of the Land Acquisition Act was deleted for the application of this Act to the State of Uttar Pradesh in view of the provision contained in the U. P. Act 22 of 1954 with effect from November 19, 1954. Section 23(2) was introduced in the principal Act by the U. P. Act 28 of 1972, but this was riot made retrospective and hence no liability for payment of solatium arises in the present case. We considered this very question at some length in First Appeal No. 129 of 1975 (Collector of Varanasi v. Ratan Shanker) decided on August 2, 1984 (reported in : AIR1984All330 ). In our opinion, solatium is a component of compensation awarded under Section 23 of the Land Acquisition Act. Market value is calculated under Section 23(1) 'firstly' with reference to the date of the publication of the notification under Section 4(1) but so far as solatium is concerned, it comes in when the award is made. These appeals under Section 54 of the Land Acquisition Act are in continuation of the proceedings for award of compensation. The provision for solatium having been brought in the Statute Book with effect from July 3, 1972, this Court can legitimately take notice thereof. In exercise of our appellate jurisdiction we have power not only to correct error in the judgment under review, but to make such disposition of the case as justice requires and in determining what justice does require, the Court is bound to consider any change, either in fact or in law, which has taken place since the judgment was pronounced, see Lachmeshwar Prasad Shukla v. Keshar Lal Chudhary '.
8. The decision in the case of Ratan Shanker (supra) referred to in the aforesaid quotation is reported in The Collector, Varanasi v. Ratan Shanker Prasad, AIR 1984 All 330 and its perusal indicates that the decision in the case of Khairunnisa Begum (AIR 1983 All 320) (supra) has been noticed therein.
9. At this place it may be pointed out that since there was an apparent conflict between the decision in the case of Khairunnisa Begum (supra) on the one hand and the other cases referred to above on the other and since all these cases were decided by various Division Benches of Co-ordinate jurisdiction it would, in the normal course, have been expedient to refer the question for decision to a larger Bench. In our opinion, however, the point now stands finally decided by a recent decision of the Supreme Court and as such it is no longer necessary to do so. This decision has been rendered by three Hon'ble Judges of the Supreme Court on 14-8-1985 in Civil Appeal No. 1519-23 of 1985 (reported in : AIR1985SC1576 ) Bhag Singh v. Union Territory of Chandigarh. In this case the question about the retrospectivity of the amendments in Sections 23(2) and 28 of the Act by the 1984 Amending Act whereby the rate of solatium was increased from 15% to 30% and of interest from 6% to 9% came up for consideration with reference to Section 30(2) of the said amending Act which reads :
'30(2) The provisions of Sub-section (2) of Section 23 and Section 28 of the principal Act, as amended by Clause (b) of Section 15 and Section 18 of this Act respectively, shall apply, and shall be deemed to have applied, also, and in relation to, any award made by the Collector or Court or to any order passed by the High Court or Supreme Court in appeal against any such award under the provisions of the principal Act after 30th day of April, 1982 (the date of introduction of the Land Acquisition) (Amendment) Bill, 1982, in the House of People) and before the commencement of this Act.'.
10. Disagreeing with the decision in the case of Kamalajammanniavaru : 2SCR914 ) (supra) which had been rendered by two Hon'ble Judges it was held : --
'We may first consider what would be the position if Section 30 Sub-section (2) were not enacted and the amendments in Section 23 Sub-section (2) and Section 28 were effective only from the date on which they were made, namely, 24th September, 1984 when the Amending Act received the assent of the President and was brought into force. If at the date of the commencement of the Amending Act, any proceedings for determination of compensation were pending before the Collector under Section 11 of the Act or before the Court on a reference under Section 18 of the Act, the amended Section 23 Sub-section (2) and Section 28 would admittedly be applicable to such proceedings. This much indeed was conceded by the learned counsel appearing on behalf of the respondents and even in Kamalajammanniavaru case (supra) it was accepted to be the correct position. Chirmappa Reddy, J. speaking on behalf of the Court in Kamalajammanniavaru case (supra) observed, 'The new Section 23(2), of course, necessarily applies to awards made by the Collector or Court after the commencement' of the Amending Act. But if an award were made by the Court on a reference under Section 18 prior to the commencement of the Amending Act and an appeal against such award were pending before the High Court under Section 54 at the date of commencement of the Amending Act, which provisions would the High Court have to apply in deciding the appeal and determining the amount of compensation? the amended provisions in Section 23 Sub-section (2) and Section 28 or the; unamended provisions? The answer can only be that the High Court would have to apply the provisions in the amended Section 23 Sub-section (2) and Section 28. The appeal against the award could be a continuation of the proceeding initialed before the Court by way of reference under Section 18 and when the High Court hears the appeal, it would in effect and substance be hearing the reference and while determining the amount of compensation, it would have to give effect to Sections 23 and 28 as it finds them at the date of decision of the appeal. When Section 23 Sub-section (1) provides that in determining the amount of compensation Court shall take into consideration matters specified in the various sub-clauses of that sub-section and Sub-section (2) of Section 23 directs that in addition to the market value of the land the Court shall in every case award a sum of 15 per centum of such market value in consideration of the compulsory nature of the acquisition the mandate of these two sub- sections must apply equally whether the Court is hearing a reference or the High Court is hearing an appeal against and award made by the Court. The amended provisions in Section 23 Sub-section (2) and Section 28 would, therefore, have to be applied by the High Court in determining the amount of compensation.'
11. The same principle will have to be applied to the reinsertion of Section 23(2) in the Act by U. P. Act 28 of 1972. Since these appeals are being heard by this Court after the reinsertion of Section 23(2) by U. P. Act 23 of 1972 not only solatium will have to be awarded, notwithstanding the fact that the notification under Section 4 of the Act was issued in the instant case on 20-7-1965 that is between the deletion and reinsertion of Section 23(2) in Uttar Pradesh in 1954 and 1972 respectively, it will have to be awarded at the rate of 30% in place of 15%. Likewise interest will have to be awarded at the rate of 9% in place of 6%.
12. To be fair to the counsel for the respondents in regard to his submission about the retrospectively of the amendments made in Sections 23(2) and 28 by the 1984 Amending Act, on the basis of the decision in the case of Kamalajammanniavaru ( : 2SCR914 ) (supra), we may point out that arguments in these appeals had concluded on 9-8-1985 that is before the subsequent decision of the Supreme Court dated 14-8-1985 in the case of Bhag Singh : AIR1985SC1576 (supra). In view of this subsequent decision of the Supreme Court the submission based on the earlier decision in the case of Kamalajammanniavaru (supra) obviously ceases to have any merit.
13. Coming to the first submission made by counsel for the appellants namely in regard to the determination of the market value of their land at the rate of Rs. 2.50 p. by the Additional District Judge we may point out that the various exemplars filed on behalf of the parties were found by the Land Acquisition Officer, for reasons recorded by him in his award dated 14-7-1967 to be of no assistance. He, however, placed reliance on five sale deeds collected by him from the office of the Sub-Registrar, Ghaziabad. After considering these sale deeds the Land Acquisition Officer held :
'From the scrutiny of the above five exemplars I come to the conclusion that the rates of similar lands as is involved in the present case remained from 1.65 to 1.86 per square yard during the years 1964 and 1965. All these five transactions can serve purpose of exemplars in the present case but in my opinion the exemplar mentioned at No. 1 above is the most suitable one for the following reasons : --
(1)The purchaser of the land being the U.P. Electricity Board is a fullfledged Government body and as such there is no possibility of the document being fictitious as the accounts are maintained by the Board and the price actually paid as consideration would have been entered in the sale deed.
(2) This transaction is in respect of a very big plot of land viz. 4 Bighas and 7 Biswas or 13158-3/4 square yards and similar big plots are being acquired in the present case.
(3) The Land involved in this transaction, though it is 'Usar' but it has been purchased for establishing an electric sub-station i.e. for construction of buildings. The land under acquisition is also being acquired for construction of buildings or factories. As such consideration for the fertility of land or of its being 'Usar' is out of question.'
14. In order to mitigate hardship to the appellants he added 0.14 p. per sq. yard in the rate of Rs. 1.86 p. per sq. yard of the sale deed at serial No. 1 aforesaid and determined the market value of the land of the appellants at the rate of Rs. 2/- per sq. yard.
15. In the reference made against the award of the Land Acquisition Officer the Additional District Judge also has, after recording detailed reasons, held that none of the exemplars filed by the appellants could be accepted as furnishing the true basis for calculating the market value of their land.
16. In regard to the sale deeds filed on behalf of M/s Modi Spinning and Weaving Mills Co. Ltd. according to which the rate ranged from 6 Paise to less than a rupee and in some cases more than a rupee per sq. yard the Additional District Judge took the view that since those rates were less than the rate of Rs. 2/- per sq. yard awarded by the Land Acquisition Officer the said sale deeds could not form the basis of determination of compensation. He, however, held that those sale deeds, of course, afforded good evidence to show the trend of the market price of the land in the villages where the plots of the appellants were situate.
17. The Additional District Judge has pointed out that copies of the five sale deeds which had been collected by the Land Acquisition Officer from the office of the Sub- Registrar, Ghaziabad, and were relied on by him were filed in the references before him by the State as Exhibits B-l to B-5. After pointing out that three of these sale deeds had been executed in March, 1965 (Exts. B-l, B-2 and B-5), one in September, 1964 (Ext. B-3) and the fifth in December 1964 (Ext. B-4) that is in close proximity of 20-7-1965, the date of notification under Section 4 of the Act, the Additional District Judge also like the Land Acquisition Officer, was of the view that the sale deed copy of which had been filed as Ext. B-3 was the most appropriate one to be relied on. In this connection he held : --
.'The rate works out to Rs. 1.86 p. per sq. yard. It is no doubt true that the land is situated at some distance from the land acquired but it is similar in quality and value to the land in question. The resembling features are that it is also away from the Abadi where development has not taken place. The area transferred is sufficiently large so as to be a proper basis for assessing the value of the land acquired. The transferee being the U. P. Electricity Board, the chances of the transaction being collusive are ruled out and it having taken place in September 1964, could not be associated with the acquisition in question as the preliminary notification in this case was issued on 20-7-1965. It was, therefore, a bona fide transaction between a willing seller and a prudent purchaser.'
18. He, however, disagreed with the view of the Land Acquisition Officer that addition of 0.14 P. per sq. yard to the rate of Rs. 1.86P. which was the rate of the sale deed Ext. B-3 would mitigate the hardship to the appellants and on this view he made an addition of 0.64 P. in place of 0.14 P. per sq. yard and determined the market value of the land of the appellants at the rate of Rs. 2.50 P. per sq. yard.
19. Before us also counsel for the appellants placed reliance on those very exemplars on which reliance had been placed before the Additional District Judge but after hearing counsel for the parties we find it difficult to disagree with the reasons recorded by the Additional District Judge for not relying on those exemplars. Since the Additional District Judge has given detailed reasons in support of his findings in this behalf and since we are agreeing with those reasons we do not find it necessary to reiterate those reasons. In taking this view we find support from the decision of the Supreme Court in Girijanandini v. Bijendra Narain : 1SCR93 to the effect that 'it is not the duty of the appellate Court when it agrees with the view of the trial Court on the evidence either to restate the effect of the evidence or to reiterate the reasons given by the trial Court. Expression of general agreement with reasons given by the Court decision of which is under appeal would ordinarily suffice.' The broad points which constitute the basis for our agreement with the reasons of the Additional District Judge are these.
19A. As is apparent from the respective orders of reference the area of the acquired land of the appellants in First Appeal No. 223 of 1974 is 54 Bighas 6 Biswas and the said area of the appellants in First Appeal No. 292 of 1974 is 7 Bighas 18 Biswas. So the lands acquired constitute large tracts of land. Most of the exemplars relied on by the appellants are of small plots of land measuring a few hundred sq. yards. In Padma Uppal v. State of Punjab : 1SCR329 it was held :
'It is also well settled that in determining compensation the value fetched for small plots of land cannot be applied to the lands covering a very large extent and that the large area of land cannot possibly fetch a price at the same rate at which small plots are sold.'
20. Sale deeds in respect of bigger areas had been filed on behalf of M/s. Modi Spinning and Weaving Mills Co. Ltd. which indicated that the rate was from 6 paise to less than a rupee and in some cases more than a rupee per sq. yard but they were not relied on because the rates shown therein were less than the rate of Rs. 2/- awarded by the Land Acquisition Officer.
21. The situation and the potential value of the land are also important features for determining their market value. The Additional District Judge in not placing reliance on several sale deeds relied on by the appellants has placed emphasis, and in our opinion rightly, on these features also.
22. The reasons recorded by Land Acquisition Officer and the Additional District Judge for relying on the sale deed a copy of which was filed before the Additional District Judge as Ext. B-3 have already been quoted above. In our opinion they are cogent and relevant.
23. Before parting with the cases we may point out that during the course of arguments counsel for the appellants pointed out that two Shajras which term has been referred to during the course of arguments as maps of the locality, had been filed by M/s. Modi Spinning and Weaving Mills Co. Ltd. but appear to have been taken back after the decision of the Additional District Judge and urged that they should be required to file them again in these appeals. We dad not consider it necessary to do so and postpone the hearing of the appeals for this purpose for the following reasons;
(1) The topography of the land has been given in detail by Raghuvar Dayal P.W. 1 in F.A.No. 223 of 1974 and Jasbir Singh P.W. 1 in F.A.No. 291 of 1974.
(2) The Additional District Judge has given the relevant substance of the said Shajras in , the awards appealed against and no ground has been taken in the memoranda of these appeals that the Additional District Judge has misread or misconstrued the same.
(3) Ground No. 11 in each of these two appeals is to the effect that the Shajras brought on the file by the Mills clearly show that the land acquired lies in the heart of Modinagar and as such the Court below has erred in undervaluing the tand. In support of this argument it has been brought to our notice by counsel for the appellants that Modinagar is situate towards west of a railway line, and along with it lengthwise whereas the land of the appellants is situate towards east of the railway line. What the appellants mean by saying in ground No. 11 aforesaid that the land acquired lies in the heart of Modinagar is that this land is situate opposite towards east of the railway line to the place which is situate somewhere in the middle of Modinagar lengthwise towards the west of the railway line and not that it is in the heart of the abadi proper of Modinagar. We have proceeded to consider the case of the appellants on the basis that their land is in the heart of Modinagar as stated in ground No. 11 subject to the aforesaid clarification in regard to topography. In this connection it may be pointed out that the Additional District Judge has recorded the following finding : -- 'A birds eye view of the entire area goes to show that all development of Modinagar has taken place to the west of the railway line though vast tract of land to the east still lies undeveloped. All the industrial and factory area, schools, colleges, bazars and cinema houses lie to the western side of the railway track.'
24. In the result both these appeals succeed and are allowed in part to this extent that apart from the compensation awarded to the appellants of each of these two appeals by the Additional District Judge under the awards appealed against, the appellants in each of these two appeals shall also get solatium calculated at the rate of 30% on the amount of compensation awarded to them as also interest at the rate of 9% per annum on the said amount of compensation from the date on which possession of their land was taken, which date is 14-12-1965 as stated in the operative portion of the awards appealed against, till the date of payment of the compensation. These appeals are dismissed in other respects. In view of their divided success the parties shall bear their own costs of these appeals.