1. This is an appeal from the judgment of the Additional District Judge of Puri rejecting a reference made by the appellant-claimant, under Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act against the award of the Collector of Puri. .252 acres of homestead lands of the appellant appertaining to plot Nos. 1712, 1713 and 1714 in the town of Bhubaneswar close to the famous temple of Lord Lingaraj were acquired by the Collector for the improvement of another Temple known as Chitrakarani Temple which lies adjacent to the acquired plots.
The said Temple is under the management of the Archeological Department of the Government of India. The acquisition was made in two instalments. The first one was on 10th November 1947 when 126 acres were acquired and the second one was on the 14th September 1949, when the remaining 126 acres were acquired. The claimant had used the plots for the purpose of storing sugar-cane presses which he used to let out on hire to cultivators. There was a stone wall on one side with wooden planks on three sides.
The Collector, in giving his award estimated the compensation at Rs. 7000/- per acre for homestead and Rs. 900/- for the structures standing on the plots including the stones. He also awarded the additional statutory compensation at 15 per cent and thus fixed the amount awarded at Rs. 3063-10-6. The appellant claimed compensation at Rs. 31,000/-at the rate of Rs. 1/- lakh per acre and also additional compensation for some other items such as loss of business etc.
2. During the hearing of the appeal two main contentions were raised on behalf of the appellant by Mr. S.K. Ray. Firstly he urged that the potential value of the plots arising out of their proximity to the Chitrakarani Temple should have been estimated separately and added to the compensation amount. Secondly he urged that, in any case, the estimate of Rs. 7000/- Per acre fixed by the Collector was arbitrary and was not supported by the materials collected by the Land Acquisition Officer.
3. Where the award of the Collector is challenged the burden undoubtedly lies primarily on the claimant to show that the Collector's estimate was wrong. The appellant has not been able to give satisfactory evidence about the value of house sites close to the acquired sites during the years in question. He relied on a sale deed of 1951 which was rightly rejected. It is notorious that the value of house sites in Bhubaneswar was steadily increasing year by year after the War especially after the commencement of construction of the New Capital and the value of such, sites in 1951 will therefore give no indication of their value in 1947 or 1949.
The appellant also relied on another sale deed dated 24th April 1949 but from the map it appears that the plot covered by the sale deed was situated on the main road and had exceptional advantages which were not present in the case of the plots in question. Hence that sale deed also cannot be taken as a basis for estimating the value of the plots acquired in 1949.
4. The Collector had before him the sale statements from 1945 to 1949 prepared by the Kanungo. The appellant is justified in adversely commenting on the action of the Collector in taking into consideration the sale statements for 1945 and 1948. Though under normal conditions sale prices over a period of years prior to the date of acquisition may be taken into consideration for fixing the average price, this principle cannot be applied to a place like Bhubaneswar which was rapidly growing in importance owing to the construction of the New Capital, or to a place like Rourkela where the land values are increasing enormously due to the construction of the Steel Factory.
In such places the prices went up abnormally from year to year on account of their Browing importance. Hence, in estimating the average price the sale deeds of the years in which the acquisition took place should alone be taken into consideration. Therefore in respect of the first acquisition the sale deeds of 1947 should alone have been considered. The statements of the Kanungo showed that the prices varied from Rs. 4000/- to Rs. 47,000/- per acre during 1947.
The Land Acquisition Officer therefore made a local inspection and recorded in his order-sheet on the 4th August 1952 that the Kanungo omitted to estimate the value of the house site as distinct from the value of the pucca and kutcha buildings standing thereon. After making due allowance for the structures the Land Acquisition Officer noted in the order-sheet that the average sale price for house sites in the locality for 1947 may be put at Rs. 4789-13 but it appears that he himself was not satisfied with the correctness of this estimate and he therefore fixed the compensation at Rs. 7000/-per acre which according to him represented double average sale price from 1945 to 1949.
I have already shown that the average of the sale prices from 1945 and 1946 should be ignored in ascertaining the sale price for the year 1947. As the Land Acquisition Officer himself felt that the figure of Es. 4789/- given by him was not a correct estimate, I think a fair estimate would be to Put the figure at double this estimate, namely at Rs. 9500/- per acre for the year 1947.
5. For the year 1949 also there is some difficulty inasmuch as the sale statements show violent fluctuations in the prices not only of house sites but also of the pucca and kutcha structures standing thereon. Any estimate must therefore be only approximate. But considering the rapid expansion of Bhubaneswar as New Capital from 1947, I think it fair to hold that in 1949 the prices of house sites increased by 50 per cent. Hence we would estimate the Price of houses in 1949 in the locality at Rs. 9500/- plus half that figure (Rs. 4750/-) or about Rs. 14,200/- per acre.
6. As regards potential value also, I think Mr. Ray's contention must prevail. In the well known case of Narayana Gajapatiraju v. Revenue Divisional Officer, Vizagapatam reported in AIR 1939 PC 98 the Privy Council laid down that in fixing the market value the potential value should also be estimated even though the prospective buyer may be only one person. ''Potential value' will depend on the nature of the land acquired.
But in the aforesaid Privy Council case their Lordships cited with approval the decision of the King's Bench in Inland Revenue Commissioners v. Clay, (1914) 3 KB 466 in which a house whose market value was only 750/- was acquired by the Trustees of the adjacent building which was a Nurses' Home for 1000. The Trustees were anxious to acquire the building because of its proximity to the Nurses' Home and the advantages that they would derive by extending their premises.
Their Lordships held that the difference of 250/-represented the 'potential value' of the house. This decision is fully applicable to the present case. The ordinary market value of a house site would be the value that any willing buyer would offer for the purpose of using the site for building a house. But here the authorities in charge of the Chitrakarani Temple wanted to acquire these plots which were adjacent to the Temple, for the Purpose of effecting improvements to that Temple.
They must be held to be willing to pay more than what an ordinary buyer would pay for the construction of a house on the same plots. The difference between the two would be the potential value of the plots in question arising out of their proximity to the Chitrakarani Temple. The fact that the authorities of the Temple are the sole purchasers and that they have compulsory Powers of acquisition would make no difference. It is of course difficult to estimate even approximately what the potential value in this case would be. The appellant has led no evidence and has left the matter entirely to us.
We feel that 25 per cent of the site value as estimated above, would be a fair estimate of the potential value. This extra 25 per cent should be added to the value as calculated in the preceding paragraphs. In addition the appellant would be entitled to 15 per cent of the total value as statutory compensation and also to the value of the stones and structures which has been fixed at Rs. 900/-. The appellant will also be entitled to interest at 6 per cent per annum on the excess amount awarded by this Court, over that awarded by the Collector, from the date on which possession was taken, namely the 1st September, 1953,
7. The appeal is allowed to the extent indicated above. Let a decree be prepared accordingly, bearing in mind the Calculations made above. But there will be no order for costs.
8. I agree.