Palok Basu, J.
1. This bunch of thirty appeals arises out of references filed before the District Judge, Moradabad (for short the D.J.) under Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act. 1894 (for short the Act) all the first appeals have been filed by U. P. Avas Evam Vikas Parishad, Moradabad (for short the Parishad) except F. A. No-. 1187 of 1990 which has been filed as a cross-appeal by land owners for enhancement of compensation which has been heard with F.A. No. 706 of 1992 filed by the Parishad. !n some first appeals, land owners have preferred cross-objections reference about which shall be made when individual cases are dealt with. It may be mentioned here that Parishad's F.A. No. 211 of 1996 has been delinked from this bunch as some enquiry appears to be pending against the District Judge raising the compensation for which the record has been requisitioned there. Thus, this bunch consists of 29 appeals by the Parishad and one by land owners.
2. A total area of 136.12 acres became the subject-matter ofnotification under Section 4 of the Act published in U. P. Government Notification dated 2.10.1982. U was followed by a notification under Section 32 of the U. P. Avas Evam Vikas Parishad Adhiniyam (for short the Adhiniyam) dated May 5. 1984 (which is equivalent to Section 6 of the Act). Undisputerfiy the Parishad took possession over the entire land on 25.6.1986.
3. The area of 136.12 acres of land comprises of 97.84 acres of village Majhola and 38.28 acres of village Majholi, both being adjacent, falling in District Moradabad. The special Land Acquisition Officer (for short the S.L.O.) has passed two awards :
--Award No. 5 of 1986 for the land in village Majhola
--Award No. 6 of 1986 for the land in village Majholi
both of which were passed on 22.9.1986. For all practical purposes, therefore, the expression award used hereinafter- shall include either of the awards as the plot/village concerned may demand.
4. The D.J. (tolal number of different presiding officers being four) has decided all the thirty references but all the judgments having been pronounced between April and August 1990. It may be pointed out here that while the S.L.O. has in his award directed payment of compensation to land owners at the rate of Rs. 5.95 per square feet (which should mean around Rs. 54.55 or rounded to Rs. 55 per square meter), the D.J. in the references has awarded compensation at the rate of Rs. 150 in one reference relating to plot Nos. 87A and 87B, Rs. 160 in one reference relating to plot No. 83, Rs. 180 per square meter in twenty references relating to plot Nos. 104A, 104B, 78, 278, 361, 220, 286, 324, 98, 293 (part), 116 (part), 100, 99, 277, 93, 102, 293, 353, 318, 347, 304, 312, 348, 285, 289, 291, 298, 77, 361, 302, 308, 424, 381, 382 and 385, Rs. 200 per square meter relating to plot Nos. 276 and 280. Rs. 250 per square meter relating to plot Nos. 131, 132, 133, 134, 138, 139, 140 and 262 andRs. 325 per square meter relating to plot Nos. 282, 264, 323. 263, 260.
5. In short the various D.Js, have held compensation payable at the market value of the acquired plots at the rates of Rs. 150 per sq. meter in one reference. Rs. 160 per sq. meter in one reference, Rs. 180 per sq. meter in twenty references, Rs. 200 per sq. meter in one reference, Rs. 250 per sq. meter in three references, Rs. 300 per sq. meter in one reference and Rs. 325 per sq. meter in three references. To repeat the S.L.O. had awarded compensation at the market value of Rs. 5.95 per sq. feet that is approximately Rs. 54.55 or rounded to Rs. 55 per sq. meter (that is Rs. 5.95 per sq. feet). It may be specifically pointed out here that S.L.O. had awarded solatium at the rate of 30% but in some of the references solatium has been directed to be paid at the rate of 30%. in some at the rate of 15% and in some no specific order exists.
6. Similarly in some references, there are orders of development-deduction at the rate of 25% from the total amount of compensation payable in one reference at the rate of 20% while deduction orders exist in the operative portion of the references in only nine of them while in all other references no directions are contained with regard to the deduction to be made from the total amount of compensation.
7. Shri P. K. Singhal, learned counsel for the Parishad has argued all the matters with ability and has taken the Court through the entire record including the details of the exemplars, which were filed before the S.L.O. He strongly contended that the D.Js. have gone wrong in each of the cases in awarding higher compensation than what was fixed by the S.L.O. and that at least 33% development deductions should have been allowed by them. He also criticised some of the judgments wherein the 'circle rate' was applied as a yardstick for measuring the market value on the ground that though once the State Government did issue a notification requiring the circle rates to be applied fordetermining the market value for payment of compensation but by a subsequent notification the State Government withdrew the aforesaid notification. He also contended that the entire land was recorded as agricultural land of the land owners and wherever there was a constructed portion or a tube well or some such construction the said area was excluded from acquisition proceedings and therefore the reasoning in some of the references that there was some industry in some of the plots is wholly erroneous. Shri Singhal relied upon the narration contained in the exemplars filed by the land owners and then argued that the S.L.O. had rightly concluded that only one or two of the exemplars could be used as really determining the market value of the acquired land. In this view of the matter, Shri Singhal strongly criticised the reasoning in their judgment in some of the references for enhancing the compensation and argued that the burden of proving a market value on the basis of exemplars filed before the S.L.O. or some additional exemplars filed before the reference court lay strictly on the land owners and since no vendor or vendee was examined nor reliable witness was produced to discharge the aforesaid burden, the enhancement of the rate of compensation by the reference court was wholly illusive and without any scientific basis. He also contended that all the cross-objections and the cross-appeal in one have been filed with an eye on getting much more compensation which should be dismissed because this Court should reduce the enhanced compensation to near about the amount fixed by the S.L.O.
8. It may further be pointed out that Shri P. K. Singhal has filed a complete site plan/blue print of the entire plan of acquisition in which the 50 plots in question in the present bunch of first appeals has been showed by yellow colour. On the strength of the picture available from the site plan it was vehemently argued by Shri Singhal that the conclusion of this Court with regard to the market value of the plot inissue in this bunch will have far reaching effect on the remaining plots acquired under the same notification which have not yet gone up before this Court. In this connection, it was strongly contended by Shri Singhal that the S.L.O. and the reference court should have followed the principles of 'Belting the acquired area' and, therefore, there is no rationale behind the various rates of compensation fixed under the reference orders. He has also submitted a chart indicating all the plots, their area, their respective rates, and the names of the and owners and the number of first appeals filed by the Parishad against the affected land owners. First Appeal No. 896 of 1991, Parishad D. Jagdish, has been made the leading case and all twenty nine other appeals have been taken up subsequently. Shri Singhal has filed written arguments also.
9. Shri J. N. Tiwari, learned senior advocate assisted by Shri Rakesh Tewari has appeared in First Appeal Nos- 902, 876 and 848 all of 1991. Shri Tewari has filed written arguments and has replied all the arguments advanced by Shri Singhal and has placed reliance on various decisions of the Hon'ble Supreme Court as also copies of some notifications of State of U. P.
10. Shri Krishna Murari has argued on behalf of the land owners in First Appeal Nos. 418, 890 and 898 of 1991 apart from the First Appeal No. 774 of 1993. The respondents in these three appeals, namely, Lakshmi Shanker, Subhas Chandra and Munni Devi are of one family. It may be mentioned here that the area in question in the respective plot Nos. 323. 264. 263, 200 and 282 is 1.20 acres. 0.68 acres. 0.82 acres, 0.11 acres and 0.70 acres. Their cross-objection is confined to the grant of solatium which according to them should be 30% while the reference court has awarded it at the rate of 15%.
11. Shri Prakash Krishna has also appeared for the land owners in First Appeal Nos. 418, 890, 898 all of 1991 and 774 of 1993. Shri Prakash Krishna has filed cross-objection onbehalf of the land owner Nathu Mal in First Appeal No. 894 of 1991, Ashok Kumar in First Appeal No. 900 of 1991, R. N. Singh in First Appeal No, 904 of 1991, Subhash Chandra in First Appeal No. 916 of 1991 and Dharmatma Saran in First Appeal No. 637 of 1995. He has also filed a First Appeal No. 1187 of 1990 filed by U. C. Agarwal which has been heard along with First Appeal No. 706 of 1992 filed by the Parishad Shri Prakash Krishna has filed short notes raising the points of reply to the arguments advanced by Shri Singhal.
12. Shri K. K. Arora has appeared on behalf of land owners in First Appeal Nos. 892, 893. 895 and 903 of 1991. He has filed four cross-objections in the aforesaid four appeals but has not pressed the cross-objection said to have been filed by him in First Appeal No. 893 of 1991. It may be pointed out here that during the course of arguments when all the original appeals and cross-objections were being checked by the Court it transpired that there was no cross-objection on the record in First Appeal No. 893 of 1991 inspite of all the search conducted by the staff in the Registry no such cross-objection could be found out nor its details were available in the relevant registers. Shri K. K. Arora then made a statement that the Court should proceed with the matter as if no cross-objection has been filed in the First Appeal No. 893 of 1991 and on the aforesaid statement of the counsel, the Court has proceeded on the basis that Shri K. K, Arora has filed cross-objections only in First Appeal Nos. 892, 895 and 903 all of 1991 and has not filed any cross-objection in First Appeal No. 893 of 1991.
13. Shri Rajiv Joshi has appealed on behalf of the land owners in First Appeal Nos. 760 of 1991 and 899 of 1991. He has moved applications on behalf of the land owners for grant of solatium at the rate of 30% and interest at the higher rate admissible under the law. Shri Joshi as well as other counsel for the land owners are agreed that for enhancement of solatium and interestpayable on the compensation amount shall have to be governed by the provisions of law and the land owners would be entitled to get whatever is the solatium and the rate of interest payable to them whether or not there is any cross-objection registering such a claim wherein the reference court has faultered in awarding lesser than the rate provided under the law.
14. It may at once be noted here that the learned arguments advanced by Shri J. N. Tiwari, Shri K. M, Sinha, Shri Prakash Krishna, Shri K. K. Arora and Shri Rajeev Joshi have helped the Court tremendously in straightening the facts but for which the decision in the thirty appeals may not have been conveniently possible.
15. On hearing the learned counsel for the parties, the following questions have to be answered in this bunch of appeals ;
(1) Should the entire area be demarcated on the basis of 'belting of the acquired area'? If the answer is in affirmative, should there be a different rate of compensation payable to various land owners falling under different belts?.
(2) What was the market value on 2.10.1982 and on what basis it can safely be ascertained so as to fix the compensation payable to the land owners.
(3) Whether 'DevelopmentDeduction' will bepermissible and if the answeris in affirmative, should it beat one uniform rate for all theland owners or at differentrates of deductions ofdevelopment chargesdepending upon the paymentof compensation fixed onbelting of the acquired area?Simultaneously, the questionof solatium and rate ofinterest will have to bedetermined by the Courtwherever it is left out by thereference court.
16. Question No- I.--What is the principle behind belting and shouldit be applied by this Court in these appeals?.
17. Detailed arguments have been advanced on this point by Shri P. K. Singhal for the Parishad and the learned counsel for the land owners. It is common knowledge that wherever the acquired area is very large, some portion of that land may fall near a highway or main road or the like. It follows automatically that there will be some land which will never be close to the highway or the road or the like, and remaining land shall have to be indicated as falling far away from such road or highway, i.e., remote area.
18. Neither the S.L.O. nor the reference court in the matter coming up through these 30 appeals has considered the question of belting. Had it been one or two matters here and there, they may have been remanded to the reference court for considering and applying the principles of belling. As already noted above, not only these 30 appeals are pending in the Court, there are much larger number of awards and references pending which are yet to be finalised and, therefore, Shri Singhal was right in his argument that on the facts and circumstances emerging in 30 appeals wherein fortunately the plots concerned touch the land falling in the entire area, some plots are adjacent to the National highway, some plots situated in remote area and some falling in between. This Court may proceed to demarcate plots in accepted principles of belting.
19. Parties are agreed that in the three Judges Bench of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in the case of Union of India v. Mangtu Ram, 1997 (6) SCC 59, the question of belting has been thoroughly discussed and no additional exercise need be undertaken by this Court. It may be respectfully pointed out that the Hon'ble Apex Court has held that the principles and theory of belting should be applied wherever large extent of land is acquired and has held that 'when a large extent of land under acquisition comprises land of several persons and some lands areabutting the main road and some lands are in the interior, the same would not have the uniform rate of market value. Necessarily, reasonable demarcation/classification should be made before determination of the compensation. Land touching the National Highway would necessarily be granted a higher market value, than the land situated in the interior.
20. It is true that the Hon'ble Supreme Court in the case of G. Ramesan v. State of Kerala, AIR 1997 SC 2159, has upheld the applying of belting system by the High Court between two beds and thus determining compensation for the respective land area falling in two villages respectively. The said approach of the High Court was upheld on the ground that no prudent buyer would give same rate for such two types of land. It may further be pointed out that in the case of State of West Bengal v. Musst. Nurjahan Sakeel and others, AIR 1985 Cal 39, the three belting system adopted by the S.L.O. for paying higher compensation to the first, a little less to the second and lesser to the third has been upheld. Similarly in State of West Bengal v. P. K. Kundu, AIR 1973 Cal. again such a belting system was effectively applied.
21. Therefore, there is no controversy now that where the area is large and only some plots abutted the National highway or main roads, they can be grouped in one belting area and likewise those plots which are situated in the interior and remote area to be grouped in another belt fetching a lesser rate and those plots which fall in between may carry a market value in between the rate fixed for the first and the remote area respectively.
22. In the instant case, the site plan submitted by Shri P. K. Singhalindicates that the National highway between Moradabad and New Delhi is abutting the acquired land. While it is true that in the instant First Appeals, two plots bearing Nos. 293 and 424 touch the National highway but several other plots which also fall in the acquisition area have yet come upfor final decision and are pending somewhere in the acquisition proceedings do have the same characteristics. Similarly, some plots adjacent to the highway also can have the same advantage as the plots which are touching the National highway. Therefore, a safe basis of belting can be made for including those plots in belt No. 1 which are approximately of the length of plot No. 293; one end of which is on the National highway and the other end of which is on a village road. It is, therefore, held that when looked north and south, the plots or the area should be approximately of the length of plot No. 293 but when examined from east west directions, it should begin on the western side by plot No. 147 and eastern side with plot No. 411 and terminate on the north south direction with plot No. 126 and 403. Thus, the boundary on the four extreme plots of belt No. 1 are 126, 147, 411 and 403 (all four inclusive). The extreme dividing line of belt No. 1 on north running east west will be the northern boundaries of plot Nos. 126, 127, 129, 130, 264, 265, 272. 287, 271, 239, 291, 293, 328, 332. 334, 414, 415, 399, 402 and 403.
23. First belt, therefore, will comprise of the fourteen plot Nos. 424, 293, 291, 289, 264, 263, 260, 131, 132, 133, 134, 140, 139 and 138 which plots are subject-matters of one or the other of the first appeals in this bunch.
24. Applying the principles of belting of the plots which are situated in the remotest end, the said area should be demarcated as the third belt from the plot No. III on the western side to plot No. 79 on the east. The extreme southern boundary of the third belt will be the southern boundaries of plot Nos. 111, 107, 94, 83, 87 and 78. Therefore, the plot Nos. 111, 108, 104. 102, 99, 98, 100. 90, 77, 78, 87, 93 and 83 will fall in the third belt, i.e., remotest area. This third belt is to fetch the lowest market value for those thirteen plots.
25. It, therefore, automatically follows that the second belt will comprise of plots not included in the first belt and the third belt.Consequently, plot Nos. 381, 382, 395, 323, 324, 298, 282, 277, 276, 278, 280, 116, 285, 286, 308, 304, 302, 312, 347, 318, 346, 353 and 361, i.e., total number of 23 plots, shall fall within the second belt.
26. It may be stated that none of the learned advocates have raised any objection to the division of the entire area into three belts. Consequently, inclusion of 14 plots of the first belt, 23 plots of the second belt and 13 plots in the third belt has been done by this Court keeping in view the principles of belting as laid down in the two decisions of the Apex Court noted. It may be pointed out that the plot numbers 276 and 280 which are subject-matter of First Appeal No. 211 of 1996 stand delinked as noted at the outset and, therefore, the second belt will relate to remaining 21 plots and for the time being excluding the plot Nos. 276 and 280.
27. In view of the 'aforesaid discussion, in the instant case, this Court shall have to apply the aforesaid three-belts demarcation and will now consider the market value of the land in question.
Question No. 2.--What is the market value and on what basis can it be ascertained for fixing the compensation payable to the land owners.
28. There is a complete agreement between the learned counsel for the parties that the S.L.O. examined 43 exemplars filed before him concerning the two villages out of which he has preferred to rely on the exemplar at Serial No. 22 which related to the Sale Deed No. 166 of 1992 of Naubat Singh. In the said exemplar, the rate of land was Rs. 71.40 per sq. yard, i.e., Rs. 7.93 per sq. ft. The other exemplars have been rejected by the S.L.O. on the ground that some of them were not included in the acquired area and some were having different locations and in some the area of the land were not indicated and in some even Khasra number and village details were not indicated. The S.L.O. did not place reliance on the other exemplarsbecause they appeared to have been obtained for the purpose of filing as exemplars only and were not genuine transactions and found reliability only with regard to the exemplar at Serial No. 22 as noted above.
29. The S.L.O. then proceeded to allow deduction for development, etc. and. therefore, concluded that Rs. 5.95 per sq. ft. will be the correct rate of market value for compensation upon which the enhancements by the D.Js. have been noted above.
30. At this stage, a quick glance at the evidence produced by the parties, apart from the exemplars referred to above may be noted.
31. In F.A. No. 896 of 1991, L.A.R. No. 39 of 88 land owners Jagdish and others have examined only one witness, namely, Mawasi. He has claimed compensation @ 180 per sq. m. The Parishad examined one Sacchidan and Pandey to refute the claim of the land owners.
32. In F.A. No. 902 of 1991, L.A.R. No. 11 of 88 the land owners examined Sumera. He has said that his land is close to abndi but there is 110 factory. He wants compensation @ 180 per sq. m. on the ground that one Ram Das has been paid at that rate. In cross-examination, he has only said that the compensation awarded was low.
33. In F.A. No. 929 of 1990, L.A.R. No. 18 of 88 Ganga Prasad has been examined. He has orally said that in 1982 the market value was about Rs. 400 per sq. m. and some persons were prepared to purchase it @ Rs. 300 per sq. m. The compensation paid to him is less. He has denied that adequate compensation has been paid to him.
34. F.A. No. 418 of 1991, L.A.R. No. 214 of 87 three witnesses have been examined, namely, Subhash Chandra, Subodh Kumar and Ajay Gupta. On behalf of Parishad Shri D. M. Garg have been examined. Subhash Chandra has said that the land is close to the National highway and about 3 kms, away from urban area. He has said about some offers having been made to him. He hasdenied that proper compensation has been paid to him.
35. In F.A. No. 760 of 1991, L.A.R. Nos. 129, 128, 130, 166, 169, 170, 188, 189, 190, 191, 198, 200, 202, 203, 208, 209, all of 1987 and L.A.R. Nos. 271 and 272 both of 1988. Rajendra Kumar P.W.I, Dinesh Arya P.W. 2, have been examined while the Parishad examined Gulam Amin as D.W. 1. The District Judge has rejected the testimony of the two witnesses and has said that no other amount was payable to them except the compensation claimed which was enhanced by S.J, as already noted above.
36. F.A. No. 792 of 1991, L.A.R. No. 98 of 97 Santosh Kumar and Desh Raj have been examined. Both of whom have said that they have not seen any sale deed or circle rate. On the basis of some documents they have prayed for compensation at the circle rate. Relying upon it, the compensation amount was enhanced as already noted above.
37. In F.A. No. 848 of 1991, L.A.R. No. 240 of 88. O. P, Sharma and Ranjeet Sharma were examined. They have said about existence of some trees on the acquired land and appeared to be general power of attorney holder. They have denied suggestion that there is no tree on the area. Some oral offer of Rs. 250 per sq. yard has been adverted to. They have denied the suggestion that they are giving wrong statement.
38. In F.A. No, 890 of 1991. L.A.R. No. 134 of 88, Subhash Chandra. Subodh Kumar and Ajai Gupta have been examined, the reference about whose testimony has already been noted in connection with the earlier appeal.
39. In F.A. No. 891 of 1991. L.A.R. 33 of 88 no oral evidence was produced but only some documents were filed.
40. At this stage, it may be mentioned that some of the judgments of the D. J. have been influenced by two factors.
(1) The judgments in L.A.R. of other plots in this very acquisition proceeding.
(2) The circle rate allegedly prevailing at the time of acquisition.
41. It may be mentioned here that no reliance whatsoever can be placed on the documents thus brought before the concerned D.J. The reference orders are themselves subjudice and have become subject-matter of discussion in this bunch. It has already been noted above that circle rate which was applied by some of the D.Js, in L.A. Rs. giving rise to this bunch of appeals, but the fact remains that by subsequent notification State Government withdrew its notification where it has directed that circle rate may be made the basis of payment of compensation. In this view of the matter, the statement of D.M. Garg, D.W.2 examined on behalf of the Parishad showing papers to indicate market value @ Rs. 3.28 (Rs. three and paise twenty eight) per sq. ft. was rightly referred to by the D. J. concerned. However, no other oral evidence exists in this case.
42. In F.A. No. 892 of 1991, L.A.R. No. 224 of 87, the statement of Sudhir Gupta is available on record. He has referred to the exemplars and has said that the compensation awarded was insufficient. D.M. Garg was examined by the Parishad.
43. In F.A. No. 893 of 1991, L.A.R. No. 24 of 88, Madan Mohan was examined and D.M. Garg, Junior Engineer was examined on behalf of the Parishad who has said that the circle rate of the area was Rs. 350 to 400 per sq. m. on the day of acquisition and further that some trees were in existence which have been cut away by the Parishad. In cross-examination, he has denied that he had not made complaint about trees or had demanded its compensation.
44. In F.A. No. 984 of 1991, L.A.R. No. 25 of 88, no separate evidence was recorded because entire evidence was taken in the leading case L.A.R. No. 27 of 88.
45. In F.A. No. 895 of 1991. L.A.R, No. 250 of 88, the statement of Sudhir Gupta exists. Reference about his statement in connected matter isbeing made elsewhere, hence it is not and said that the land was nearrepeated here. urban area.
46. In F.A. No. 897 of 1991. L.A.R. No. 6 of 88, the statement of Smt. Kamla Devi was recorded. She has said that the price of the land in the area started going up since 1982. She has not talked about any rate.
47. In F.A. No. 898 of 1991. L.A.R. No. 220 of 87, the statement of Subash Chandra has been recorded. Reference about his statement is already appearing elsewhere, hence it is not repeated.
48. In F.A. No. 899 of 1991. L.A.R. No. 229 of 87, the statement of Ram Das has been recorded. He has said that there was boring in his land and has filed three exemplars apart from the statement in another reference arising out of the said acquisition. In cross-examination, he has admitted that his L.T.I, does not exist on the claim petition.
49. In F.A. No. 900 of 1991. L.A.R. No. 28 of 88, separate statement was recorded as it was connected with L.A.R. No. 27 of 88, reference about which has been made hence it is not repeated.
50. In F.A. No. 901 of 1991, L.A.R. No. 5 of 88, Indra Prakash Gupta was examined as P.W.I who has estimated the price to be Rs. 400 per sq. m. and was himself ready to pay Rs. 300 per sq. m. in the year 1982. In this case also D. M. Garg was examined by the Parishad, D.W. No.1.
51. In F.A. No. 903 of 1991, L.A.R. No. 251 of 88, Sudhir Gupta was examined as P.W.I. reference about which exists elsewhere hence it is not repeated.
52. In F.A. No. 904 of 1991. L.A.R. No. 225 of 87. Prem Singh was examined as P.W.I who has said about exemplars filed by him and has further said that there were about 27 factories in the near about area.
53. In F.A. No. 906 of 1991. L.A.R, No. 8 of 88. Jagram was examined as P.W.l. He claimed compensation @ Rs. 600 per sq. m. and said that the land was near urban area.
54. In F.A. No. 916 of 1991. 18, L.A.Rs. were connected. Discussion about the L.A.Rs. exist elsewhere and omitted here.
55. In F.A. No. 668 of 1992, L.A.R. No. 223 of 87. Sohan Singh P.W. 1 was examined who also said that Rs. 300 to Rs. 400 was the circle rate and filed copy of the relevant papers.
56. In F.A. No. 706 of 1991, L.A.R. 28 of 88. The District Judge relied upon the statements of the witnesses in the connected L.A.R. No. 27 of 88 which was the leading case and reference about which has been made elsewhere hence it is not repeated.
57. In F.A. No. 791 of 1992. L.A.R. No. 12 of 88, no oral statement was recorded and exemplars filed before the Special Land Acquisition Officer were relied upon, reference about which exists elsewhere hence are not repealed.
58. In F.A. No. 792 of 1992. L.A.R. No. 17 of 88, Naubat Singh, P.W.I and Lakshmi Narain as P.W. 2 were examined who have said that purchasers @ Rs. 300 per sq. m. were available in the year 1982 and filed copies of the rate list, i.e., circle rate.
59. In F.A. No. 793 of 1992. L.A.R. No. 22 of 87, no oral evidence ' was led by the Parishad. Ram Singh examined himself as P.W.I and said that his land would be about 100 yards from the main road and the circle rate was about Rs. 350 per sq. m. He relied upon exemplars filed by him. In cross-examination he has said that there was no transaction between him and any purchaser.
60. In F.A. No. 774 of 1993, L.A.R. No. 242 of 88. Ramesh Chandra Mehta was examined as P.W. 1 who said that there were factories, shops and petrol, pumps near-about the acquired plot and he has some talks of sale and purchase of land in the area @ Rs. 400 per sq. m.
61. In F.A. No. 637 of 1995, L.A.R. No. 29 of 88, Dharrnatma Saran, P.W. 1 has been examined who has said about a factory being established there along with a petrol pump and has said about circle rate and relied upon the exemplar. He has admitted that there was notice to him issued from the Urban Ceiling Authority.
62. This is the entire oral evidence produced by the landowners in all the references. In most of the cases. D. M. Garg was examined by the Parishad to prove that the value of the land according to him was only Rs. 3.50 per sq. m.
63. It may further be pointed out that from the statement of some of the witnesses, it transpires that the notices to the landowners for declaration of surplus land under the Urban Land Ceiling Act were issued.
64. It has also been noted above that the circle rate which was made permissible being the basis for compensation in the land acquisition cases was later on left aside.
65. By and large, therefore, the landowners relied upon the exemplars filed by them before the S.L.O. As noted elsewhere, the S.L.O. picked up only the exemplar at SI. No. 22 as the basis for determining the market value of the acquired land on the day of notification under Section 4 of the Act.
66. The only other point to be mentioned here is that whichever reference the District Judge relied upon the judgment of the earlier reference of the same acquired land was seriously criticised by Shri Singhal saying that it was not open to the District Judge to take help from the same judgment which were subjudice in the First Appeal in this Court.
67. Emphasis was, however, laid by the learned counsel for the landlords on the admitted fact that Sudhir Gupta, examined as P.W. 1 in L.A.R. No. 250 of 1988 was himself a purchaser of land in the acquired area. It is alleged by him in his statement that he had purchased the plot No. 293 at the rate of Rs. 10 persq. ft. in the year 1975. In proof of the aforesaid statement, Sudhir Gupta has filed a photostat copy of the registered sale deed as Ex. No. I in the record of the said award and reference.
68. It is true that the number of the plots mentioned in the exhibited sale deed is 223. While Shri Singhal wanted to argue that this should be taken to be contradiction in the statement of witness Sudhir Gupta because plot No. 223 is not included in the acquisition area. Shri K. K. Arora, learned counsel appearing for the land owners vehemently argued two points in this connection. First, that plot Nos. may have undergone some change between the year 1975 when it was purchased and the year 1982 when the Notification under Section 4 of the present acquisition proceeding was issued and, therefore, no capital can be made out by the alleged discrepancy in the number of the plot as spoken by Sudhir Gupta in his statement and as is noted in the sale deed exemplar. Second even if it is taken to be correct that the number of the plot which was purchased by Sudhir Gupta was 239 which was not included in the acquisition proceeding, it was pointed out from the site plan that the aforesaid plot lies quite close to the acquisition area, therefore, it could and should be used as an exemplar for determining the market value.
69. It was rightly pointed out by Shri Arora from the site plan which has admittedly been filed by Shri P. K. Singhal that plot No. 223 is adjacent to the National highway which is close to the acquired plot No. 293 with the only difference that plot No. 223 is on south of the highway while 293 is on the north.
70. In view of what has been stated above, the sale deed filed by Sudhir Gupta and his statement are enough proof and evidence of the market rate of the first belt in the year 1975. It is, therefore, safe to conclude that on the basis of the aforesaid exemplar and the statement of Sudhir Gupta, the price of the land per sq. .m. comprising the first belt will be around Rs. 107 per sq. m. isrounded up to Rs. 110 per sq. m. as in the year 1975.
71. Having thus reaching the point, i.e.. market value of the area comprising in the first belt as in the year 1975 was Rs. 110 per sq. m., the Court has to determine the value for the year 1982. The lapse of 7 years between the date of purchase and the date of acquisition must end in appreciation of the real estate value. In this connection, learned counsel for the land owners argued that so far as liquid cash is concerned, it doubles in 5 or 6 years and, therefore, if the said principle is applied to the real estate, the value should be around Rs. 220 per sq. m. in the year 1982.
72. Shri P. K. Singhal, on the other hand, contended that value of the real estate does not double in 5 or 6 years. It may be noted that availability of liquidity In the capital market may be determinative of the appreciation of capital value of real estate, There is force in the argument of Shri Singhal that the principle of doubling of cash amount in about 5 or 6 years should not be applied considering also the fact that the land in question which was purchased by Sudhir Cupta was small area and same price may not be available for a particular large area. After considering all the arguments, it will be safe to conclude that in the year 1982, the market value of the acquired area for the first belt will be Rs. 200 per sq. in., i.e., about 10% less than double in 6 or 7 years period. Therefore, the first belt's market value is accepted as Rs. 200 per sq, m. in the year 1982.
73. It has already been held that the value of land falling in the second belt will have to be reduced proportionately from the value in the first belt which is close to the area abutting the National highway. A deduction of Rs. 50 per sq. m. will be reasonable for the land falling in the second belt, i.e., of the plots falling in second belt were having market value of Rs. 150 per sq. m. in the year 1982.
74. Coming now to the remotest plots in the acquired area, it may bereduced by another sum of Rs. 50 sq. m. land thus it is hereby held and concluded that the market value for the land in the third belt will be Rs. 100 per sq. m. in the year 1982.
75. In view of the aforesaid discussion, the conclusion is repeated here that in the year 1982, for the land comprising the first belt, the market value was Rs. 200 per sq. m. for the land comprising the second belt it was Rs. 150 per sq. m. and for the land comprising the third belt it was Rs. 100 per sq. m. in the year 1982.
Question No. 3.--Is Development-Deduction permissible and if yes, at what rate? Would different rates of deductions be applied for different belts?.
76. Coming now to the question of deductions, it may be pointed out that while Shri P. K. Singhal argued that 33% deduction should be made from the compensation payable to all the land owners, the land owners argued that no deduction should be made because the Parishad under the Adhiniyam has the power to realise development charges from the persons to whom it sells the land. They further argued that since some of the plots were having constructions, tubewells, boundary wails and some have small units of production, it would not be permissible to make any deduction from the compensation payable to these land owners.
77. It is common knowledge that the Parishad does develop the area after acquiring land for housing schemes and in the colonies that the Parishad constructs, it has to carve out places for parks, markets, hospitals, schools, play grounds, etc. which were otherwise not available in the concerned villages. It has further been provided in the Adhiniyam that the entire area shall be developed and thereafter the settlement with buyers or purchasers of land or house or flat shall be entered into. It was rightly argued by Shri Singhal that the development activity for making the land useful as urban area necessarily involves expenditure and what ischarged from prospective settlers is hardly a little portion of the expenses incurred.
78. It has already noted above that the S.L.O. has deducted 25% from the compensation payable to all the land owners. Likewise the reference courts have in some matters directed deduction of development charges @ 25%, in some cases it has directed deduction of development charges @ 20% and in several cases It has not passed any order in this regard.
79. It may be appropriate at this stage to refer some of the relevant decisions cited at the Bar which are applicable on the two points discussed above and third point discussion about which to appear soon hereinafter. One of the latest decisions of the Hon'ble Supreme Court is to be found in U. P. Auas Evam Vikas Parishad v. Jainul Islam and another, 1998 (2) SCO 467. It has been held therein that the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act are applicable for acquisition under the Adhiniyam and, therefore, the provision under the Adhiniyam has to be construed so as to make them consistent with the Constitution and further that by referring to Section 55 of the amendments introduced in the year 1984 by the State Legislature enacting Sections 23 (I-A). 23 (2) and 28, as amended are to apply to acquisitions for Parishad.
80. In Jainul Islam (supra), it has further been held in paras 25 to 31 that the amendment in the Act as relating to determination and payment of compensation as amended by Amendment Act, 1984, would be applicable to acquisition for the purpose of Parishad under Section 55 of the Adhiniyam.
81. In Jainul Islam (supra), it has again been held that deduction of one third of the value of the land towards cost of development may be justified on certain facts. H may be pointed out that similar deduction from the market value compensation was made permissible in three other decisions of the Apex Court in Basant Kumar v. Union of India, 1996 (II) SCO, 542 in S. I. A. O. v. V. K. Vein, 1996 (2)SCC 538 and Triueni Devi v. Collector. 1972 (1) SCC 480.
82. This Court has deemed necessary to apply one modification to rule that development deductions are deductable. The said modification is that in large acquired area where belling has been done paying more compensation to those land owners who have their land close to National highway than others whose land fall behind and those whose fall in the remotest area. It is hereby held that development charges should be proportionate to the compensation payable to those land owners falling in respective bells. It will be equilable to deduct development charges at a given rate from the land owners getting higher compensation, little lesser rate to those getting less compensation and lowest rate for those who are getting lowest amount of compensation 'one who gets more by way of compensation should pay more towards development charges' can be a very safe principle to be applied for deducting development charges from compensation payable to the land owners where belting system is followed.
83. While it is true that in Jainul Islam. 33% deduction was made permissible because the land acquired was about 4 to 5 feet below the road level, there is no such allegation in the instant case. Moreover, no belting of the area was applied in Jainul islam which on the fact and circumstances of the case has been applied on the acquired area in these cases.
84. After considering the facts and circumstances and hearing learned counsel for the parties, it is safely concluded that 20% development deduction from the land owners of belt No. 1, 15% development deduction from the land owners of belt 2 and 10% development deduction from the land owners of belt 3 shall be justifiable and legal, therefore, it is hereby directed that while making payment of compensation, 20% development deduction shall be made from the compensation payable to the land owners of the land in belt 1, 15%from the land owners of belt 2 and 10% from the land owners of belt 3.
85. Coining now to the rate of solatium and rate of interest to all the land owners, it has been already noticed above that admittedly both the questions arc answered by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in U. P. Avas Evam Vikas Parishad v. Jainul Islam (supra). It has been held therein that the amount of solatium as also the rate of interest payable stand enhanced by the Amending Act, 1984, through Section under Sections 23 (1A), 23 (2) and 28 which are applicable to the acquisition proposal made under the Adhiniyam. In paragraphs 41 and 43 of the aforesaid judgment, it has been held as follows :
'Para 41, it has been pointed out that while passing the said 'orders the High Court has proceeded on the basis that the provisions of the L. A. Act, as amended by the 1984 Act, are applicable and enhanced solatium @ 30% and interest @ 9% and 15% is payable in respect of acquisition of lands by the Parishad on the basis of notifications published under Section 28 of the Adhiniyam'.
Para 43. The ground on which the validity of the said provisions is challenged is that under the provisions of the earlier Act as amended by the 1984 Act solatium is payable at the rate of 30% under Section 23 (2) as amended and interest at the rate of 9% and 15% under Section 28 as amended, while under the earlier Act as modified by the Adhiniyam solatium is payable at a lower rate of 15% and interest at a lower rate of 6% and this amounts to denial of right to equality and is violative of the provisions of Article 14 of the Constitution, in view of the constructions placed by us on the provisions of the Adhiniyam relating to acquisition of land for the purposes of the Adhiniyam, these writ petitions do not survive and they are, therefore, dismissed. No costs.'.
86. In Shri Vijay Cotton and Oil Mills v. State of Gujarat, 1991 (1) WCC262, it has already been laid down that award of interest is obligatory and consequential and therefore it can be claimed even in the appeals filed by the State and it is not necessary to file a separate appeal or cross-objection.
87. In view of the aforesaid legal position, all the land owners are entitled to solatium @ 30%. Similarly, they are also entitled to interest @ 15% for one year and 9% for the subsequent years.
88. Therefore, the appeals filed by the Parishad succeed. The cross-appeal, cross-objections and the applications of respective land owners fail in so far as claim of further enhanced compensation is concerned but succeed to the extent as directed above in so far as payment of solatium and interest are concerned.
89. All the appeals, the cross-appeal, the cross-objections and the applications stand finally disposed of with the aforesaid directions while the First Appeal No, 211 of 1996 is delinked for the reasons mentioned in the body of the judgment.
90. The parties will bear theirown costs.