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Bihari Lal Vs. Harinder Singh and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Case NumberFirst Appeal No. 13 of 1966
Judge
Reported inAIR1977P& H165
ActsPunjab Security of Land Tenures Act, 1953 - Sections 18, 18(1), 18(2) and 18(4); Land Acquisition Act, 1894 - Sections 16 and 17
AppellantBihari Lal
RespondentHarinder Singh and ors.
Appellant Advocate H.L. Sarin, Sr. Adv. and; M.L. Sarin, Advs.
Respondent Advocate K.C. Puri,; R.C. Puri,; S.P. Jain and;
DispositionAppeal partly allowed
Cases ReferredGovind Deo Ji Maharaj v. Rang Ji Maharaj
Excerpt:
.....will lie against a judgment/order/decree passed by a single judge in exercising powers of superintendence under article 227 of the constitution. - but, in one respect, in respect of the right to purchase given to him by section 18, he was in a better position than a permanent or occupancy tenant......kanals and two marias of land acquired by the government of haryana under the provisions of the land acquisition act pursuant to a notification issued on 3-4-1961 under section 4 of the act. the appellant was the tenant and the respondent was the owner of the land prior to acquisition. six months before the date of the notification, the appellant-tenant, on 3-2-1961, had applied to the assistant collector for the purchase of certain land, including the present acquired land, of which he was the tenant, under section 18 of the punjab security of land tenures act, 1053. on 4-3-1963, assistant collector allowed the application and determined the price to be paid by the tenant on an appeal by the present respondent, the collector upheld the right of the tenant to purchase the land but.....
Judgment:

O. Chinnappa Reddy, C.J.

1. The appeal concerns the apportionment of the compensation awarded in respect of an extent of twenty-five Kanals and two Marias of land acquired by the Government of Haryana under the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act pursuant to a notification issued on 3-4-1961 under Section 4 of the Act. The appellant was the tenant and the respondent was the owner of the land prior to acquisition. Six months before the date of the notification, the appellant-tenant, on 3-2-1961, had applied to the Assistant Collector for the purchase of certain land, including the present acquired land, of which he was the tenant, under Section 18 of the Punjab Security of Land Tenures Act, 1053. On 4-3-1963, Assistant Collector allowed the application and determined the price to be paid by the tenant On an appeal by the present respondent, the Collector upheld the right of the tenant to purchase the land but remanded the matter to the Assistant Collector for redetermination of the price to be paid by the tenant. On 20-9-1968, the Assistant Collector re-determined the price of the land after excluding the acquired land. An appeal preferred by the tenant claiming that he was also entitled to purchase the acquired land, which really meant that he was entitled to the compensation awarded for the acquisition of the land, was accepted by the Commissioner and the matter is now said to be awaiting final decision in a writ petition in the High Court. Neither of the parties desired that the writ petition might be heard along with this appeal though whatever I say here is bound to affect the result of the writ petition. To continue the narration of facts, the Land Acquisition Collector, in the meanwhile took possession of the land on 4-10-1961, apparently under Section 17(1) of the Land Acquisition Act. He made the award on 14-10-1961 determining the compensation and also holding that the appellant-tenant was entitled to the whole of the compensation by virtue of of his right to purchase the land under Section 18 of the Punjab Security of Land Tenures Act. At the instance of the respondent-landowner a reference was made to the learned Additional District Judge, Gurgaon, who held that the tenant did not become the owner of the land until the Assistant Collector made an order and as the land had been acquired in the meanwhile, the tenant was not entitled to any compensation. The tenant has appealed.

2. Shri Sarin learned counsel for the appellant, submitted that the tenant should be considered to have become the owner of the land as soon as he filed an application under Section 18 of the Punjab Security of Land Tenures Act, if he fulfilled the qualifications prescribed by Sub-section (1) of Section 16. This submission is without substance. While Section 16 (1) prescribes the qualifications which a tenant seeking to purchase land which is in his tenancy has to fulfil. Section 18 (2) requires him to make an application to the Assistant Collector who shall then determine the value of land on the basis of the average price prevailing during the ten years prior to the application. Section 18 (3) stipulates that the purchase price shall be three-fourth of the value of the land so determined. Section 18 (4) (a) provides that the purchase price shall be paid in a lump sum or in six monthly instalments. Section 18 (4) (b) declares that as soon as the purchase price or the first instalment is deposited, the tenant shall be deemed to have become the owner of the land. It is clear from these provisions that a tenant cannot be considered to become the owner of the land by the mere filing of an application under Section 18 (1). He may abandon the application at any time. The application may be dismissed for non-prosecution. The purchase price determined by the Assistant Collector may be too high for the tenant to buy the land. He may not be able to deposit the first instalment within time. The tenant will be considered to be the owner of the land not until he deposits the first instalment. That is expressly provided in Section 18 (4). In the present case, the Assistant Collector allowed the application under Section 16 (d) on 4-3-1863 only and the tenant could not possibly be considered to have become the owner by 3-8-61, the date of the notification under Section 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act. Sections 16 & 17(1) of the Land Acquisition Act provide that on the Collector taking possession of the land, it shall vest in the Govt. free of all encumbrances. Here, the Collector took possession of the land on 4-10-1961. Therefore, the land vested in the Government absolutely on that date and from that date both landowner and tenant ceased to have any interest in the land. After the vesting of the land in the Government, there was no question of the Assistant Collector making an order under Section 18 (1) of the Punjab Security of Land Tenures Act in respect of that land. To that extent, the application under Section 16 (1) must be considered to have suffered statutory abatement.

3. That the tenant had not become the owner of the land by the date of acquisition does not fully solve the problem before me. His tenancy rights require to be valued. The appellant was not a permanent tenant. He was not en occupancy tenant. But he was not a tenant without rights. He had far-reaching rights under the Punjab Security of Land Tenures Act. He could not be evicted from the land except upon the grounds specified in Section 9 of the Act. He could purchase the land if he fulfilled the qualifications prescribed by Section 18 (1). His position was not, therefore, that of a mere tenant at will or a tenant for a fixed term. In many respects his position was inferior to that of a permanent or occupancy tenant. But, in one respect, in respect of the right to purchase given to him by Section 18, he was in a better position than a permanent or occupancy tenant. How then, to put a value upon his rights? Where the tenant is an occupancy tenant, compensation is generally apportioned between landlord and tenant, in Allahabad, in the ratio of 10 : 6 vide Shiam Lal v. Collector of Agra, ILR 55 All 897 : (AIR 1934 All 239) (F.B). In Madras it is apportioned in the ratio of 2 : 3 vide Bommadevara Venkata v. Subbarayadu. (1913) ILR 36 Mad 395. In Punjab it is apportioned roughly in the ratio which the malikana paid by the tenant to the landlord bears to the land revenue, vide Ram Kishen v. Jati Ram, AIR 1931 Lah 649, where the tenant is a permanent tenant, the rule generally adopted is to give the landlord, the capitalised value of the rent and something more on account of the right of reversion vested in him and to give the balance to the permanent tenant, vide Govind Deo Ji Maharaj v. Rang Ji Maharaj, 1963 All LJ 587. However, as I said, the tenant here is neither a permanent tenant nor an occupancy tenant. The decisions, therefore are of assistance in, but, a very little way. But, I think the Punjab Security of Land Tenures Act itself appears to afford some guidance in the matter. Section 18 (3) prescribes the purchase price to be paid by the tenant at three-fourths of the value of the land as determined by Section 18 (2). It means that the interest of the landowner is assessed at three-fourths and the interest of the tenant is assessed at one-fourth. The value of the land as determined under Section 18 (2) may be more or less than the value of the land on the date of the notification of acquisition. But that makes no difference. What is important is that the interests of the landowner and the tenant are fixed at three-fourths and one-fourth of the value of the land. On that basis, I direct the apportionment of the compensation between the appellant and the first respondent in the ratio of 1 : 3. The appeal is allowed to that extent only. There will be no order as to costs.


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