G.K. Misra, C.J.
1. 56.96 acres of land of one Ramadhin Dube were acquired by the State of Orissa (opposite party No. 3) in 1951. On 30-4-1956 Rs. 17,103.00 was received by the objector. On 11-9-1963 the Arbitrator passed an award, the substantive portion of which runs thus:--
'The objector should accordingly get compensation for the acquired raiyati lands at 16 years net yield of the lands and it is left to the L. A. O. to assess the net yield in accordance with the results of crop cutting experiments recorded in the Hamid Settlement report. The objector would, besides, get additional 15 per cent. compensation over the compensation to be fixed by the aforesaid method by the L. A. O. The objector should also receive interest at 6 per cent. per annum from the date of dispossession.'
The State of Orissa came up in appeal in M. A. No. 1 of 1964 to the High Court and the award was affirmed on 16-2-1970. On 18-11-70/26-3-71 petitioner No. 2, a srn of deceased Ramadhin, was paid the balance amount of Rs. 1,14,278.06 as the objector was ill. This amount was received without any protest. The objector filed a petition (Annexure-1) for recalculation of the compensation as it should have been valued at a higher rate. The rate of one maund of paddy was calculated at Rs. 6.40 while the objector claimed at the rate of Rs. 7.94. This prayer was rejected on 30-8-1971. but the same was not intimated to the objector who died on 8-6-1972. After coming to know that the petition has been rejected, petitioner No. 2 obtained a copy of the order on 15-11-1973 and filed an application before the Arbitrator on 18-2-1974, for recalculation. The Arbitrator rejected the petition by the following cryptic order:--
'Since the award was pronounced on 11-9-1963 and has already become final, the present petition is rejected.' It is to quash Annexures 1 and 3 that this writ application has been filed by the petitioners who are the legal representatives of deceased Ramadhin under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution.
2. Mr. Patra, learned Standing Counsel, appearing for the State says that the ex-godown price of paddy during the relevant period was Rs. 7.94 per maund while the average price of different varieties of paddy at which the producers had to sell was Rs. 7.27 per maund He, however, contends that as the petitioners accepted the compensation on 18-11-1970/26-3-1971 without any protest, they are estopped from claiming higher compensation.
3. Two questions arise for consideration:--
(1) What was the price of paddy during the relevant period
(2) Whether any theory of estoppel applies against the petitioners
4. It is not disputed before us now that during the relevant period the price of paddy at which the petitioners would have been given compensation was Rs. 7,27 per maund. Mr. Mohapatra claimed at the higher rate of Rs. 7.94 alleging that on previous occasions not only the Land Acquisition Officer but also the Arbitrator and the High Court granted compensation at the same rate., He brought to our notice some of such decisions. We are satisfied that on earlier occasions compensation was granted at the rate of Rs. 7.94 per maund of paddy. These decisions, however, are not binding on us since the matter was not argued fully and the real question was not examined. Rs. 7.94 is the ex-godown price, and it is not the price payable to producers from whom paddy is procured. The petitioners are entitled to compensation at the rate of 16 times of the net yield multiplied by the prevailing market price. The prevailing market price would be the price prevailing at the time of acquisition and not the ex-godown price. The petitioners are therefore entitled to be paid at the rate of Rs. 7.27 per maund which was the prevailing market price at the relevant time.
5. The next question for consideration is whether the petitioners are precluded from claiming compensation at the higher rate as they accepted the compensation on 18-11-1970/26-3-1971 without any protest. We have not been shown any law whereunder estoppel would apply to such a case. The only difficulty that might have been in the path of the petitioners would be the law of limitation. There is no such limitation in this case. By mistake a lesser amount was paid. The objector raised protest within three months of the payment and subsequently carried on the objection in the appropriate forum without any delay except when they were not informed about the factum of refusal of their prayer by the Land Acquisition Officer. nO question of limitation arises in this case. We are somewhat surprised that the State itself would take such a plea after being fully aware that they granted higher compensation to several people at the rate of Rs. 7.94 per maund. We overrule this objection raised by the learned Standing Counsel.
6. The learned Arbitrator said that the award had become final in the year 1963. In fact it was not final. The award clearly laid down the principles and directed the Land Acquisition Officer to compute the compensation. It is only after the compensation was calculated that the petitioners could know the amount to which they were entitled. It was the duty of the arbitrator when complaint was made to him to see whether the calculation made was correct or not. He retained jurisdiction to determine correct calculation.
7. In the result, the writ application is allowed with costs. Hearing fee of Rs. 200/- (two hundred). The petitioners would be granted compensation on 15544 maunds at the rate of Rs. 7.27 per maund which comes to Rs. 1,13,004.88. Any amount already paid would be deducted from this as directed by the Arbitrator. Petitioners would be entitled to 15 per cent solatium on the aforesaid amount and interest at 6 per cent. as directed by the Arbitrator.
S.K. Ray, J.
8. I agree.