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Ram Singh and ors. Vs. Punjab State Now Haryana State - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Case NumberFirst Appeal Nos. 535 and 548 of 1966
Judge
Reported inAIR1976P& H205
ActsLand Acquisition Act, 1894 - Sections 4(1), 18, 18(2), 23 and 54
AppellantRam Singh and ors.
RespondentPunjab State Now Haryana State
Appellant Advocate Ram Singh Bindra,; D.S. Chahal and; Lakhwinder Singh
Respondent Advocate Ram Lal Aggarwal and; O.P. Hoshiar Puri, Advs.
DispositionAppeals partly accepted
Cases ReferredIn Special Land Acquisition Officer v. T. Adinarayan Setty
Excerpt:
- sections 100-a [as inserted by act 22 of 2002], 110 & 104 & letters patent, 1865, clause 10: [dr. b.s. chauhan, cj, l. mohapatra & a.s. naidu, jj] letters patent appeal order of single judge of high court passed while deciding matters filed under order 43, rule1 of c.p.c., - held, after introduction of section 110a in the c.p.c., by 2002 amendment act, no letters patent appeal is maintainable against judgment/order/decree passed by a single judge of a high court. a right of appeal, even though a vested one, can be taken away by law. it is pertinent to note that section 100-a introduced by 2002 amendment of the code starts with a non obstante clause. the purpose of such clause is to give the enacting part of an overriding effect in the case of a conflict with laws mentioned with the.....pritam singh pattar, j.1. by this judgment the following two regular first appeals which are directed against two separate awards dated august 29, 1966, of the additional district judge, ambala will be disposed of, as common questions of law and fact are involved in these appeals: --(1) r. f. a. no. 535 of l966 -- ram singh and others v. punjab state. 2. r. f. a. no. 548 of 1966 -- chhotu and others v. punjab state. 2. in pursuance of the punjab government notification no. 1448-ft-iv-63/744, dated march 12, 1963. under section 4 of the land acquisition act, 1894, and declaration issued vide notification no 1782-fi-iv/63/898. dated march 18, 1963, under section 6 of that act, the government acquired 108 acres of land in v. khudalisher and 2099 acres of land in village kansal. tehsil.....
Judgment:

Pritam Singh Pattar, J.

1. By this judgment the following two regular first appeals which are directed against two separate awards dated August 29, 1966, of the Additional District Judge, Ambala will be disposed of, as common questions of law and fact are involved in these appeals: --

(1) R. F. A. No. 535 of l966 -- Ram Singh and others v. Punjab State.

2. R. F. A. No. 548 of 1966 -- Chhotu and others v. Punjab State.

2. In pursuance of the Punjab Government Notification No. 1448-Ft-IV-63/744, dated March 12, 1963. under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, and declaration issued vide Notification No 1782-FI-IV/63/898. dated March 18, 1963, under Section 6 of that Act, the Government acquired 108 acres of land in V. Khudalisher and 2099 acres of land in village Kansal. Tehsil Kharar, District Ambala. at a public expense and for a public purpose, namely, for the execution of soil conservation and other importantworks in the Catchment Area of Sukhna Lake, Chandigarh and for raising a green belt around the Capital. Land measuring 513 Bighas 11 Biswas belonging to Ram Singh, Hari Singh and Bhajan Singh appellants of Appeal No. 535 of 1966, situated in village Kansal was acquired by these notifications. Land measuring 308 Bighas and 13 Biswas belonging to Chhotu and others appellants of appeal No. 548 of 1966 situated in village Kansal was acquired by the same notifications for the same purpose. The Land Acquisition Collector awarded compensation at the rate of Rs. 50/- per acre for this land. Feeling aggrieved, Ram Singh, Hari Singh and Bhajan Singh appellants filed an application under Section 18 of the Land Acqui-silion Act fo the Collector for making a inference to the District Judge alleging that the compensation awarded to them v as very meagre, that the price of Banjar Qadim land should have been assessed at Rs. 500/- per Bigha and Rs. 150/- per Bigha for Ghair Mumkin land. It was also urged that the Collector did not award them any compensation for the trees standing in the land, which belonged to them. They maintained that they used to derive considerable income by selling Eabar grass growing on this land, but no compensation was also allowed to them for that. The Collector made a reference under Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act to the District Judge for deciding the objections of Ram Singh and others appellants. The Punjab State contested the objections of the appellants. It was pleaded that the trees standing on the land belonged to the Forest Department as that area was under the management of that Department. All the allegations made in the petition of the appellants were controverted. This reference was entrusted for decision to the Additional District Judge, Ambala, by the District Judge. On the pleadings of the parties, the following issues were framed by the Additional District Judge: --

(1) Whether the trees standing on the acquired land are not the property of the petitioners and what is the proper amount of compensation payable for them, if they are the property of the petitioners ?

(2) Whether the compensation awarded by the Collector in this case i.s inadequate and if so, what is the proper amount of compensation, payable to the petitioners for the property acquired ?

(3) Relief.

3. Chhotu and others, appellants of Appeal No, 548 of 1966 also filed anapplication under Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act before the Collector. Practically on the same allegations and a reference was made by the Land Acquisition Collector to the District Judge for deciding those objections. In that case also the Punjab State contested the allegations made in the petition, and on the pleadings of the parties the following issues were framed by the Additional District Judge: --

(1) Whether the trees standing on the acquired land are not the property of the petitioners and what is the proper amount of compensation payable for them, if they are the property of the petitioners ?

(2) Whether the compensation awarded by the Collector in this case is inadequate and if so, what, i.s the proper amount of compensation payable to the petitioners for the property acquired ?

(3) Relief,

4. The Additional District Judgegave separate awards dated August 29, 1966, in both these cases. On issue No. 1, he decided that the trees standing on the acquired land belonged to the appellants and they were entitled to compensation for the same. Since the Collector had not assessed any compensation for the trees, the Additional District Judge held that the Collector should give a supplementary award about the compensation due to the appellants about the trees standing on the acquired land. He directed the appellants to approach the Collector to make an award regarding the value of the trees. On Issue No. 2 it was held that the appellants failed to prove that the compensation awaided to them by the Land Acquisition Collector was inadequate and he decided Issue No. 2 against the appellants. As a result, he rejected the objections filed by the appellants and maintained the award of the Collector regarding the price of the land. Feeling dissatisfied, Ram Singh and others filed Regular First Appeal No. 535 of 1966, alleging that the decision of the Additional District Judge is wrong and incorrect and it may be set asjde and they may be awarded additional compensation of Rs. 1,25,000/- for the value of the trees and the land. They pleaded that the Additional District Judge ought to have determined and awarded the compensation for the trees.

5. Chhotu and others filed separate Regular First Appeal No. 548 of 1966 on the same grounds. They claimed Rs. 85,000/- as additional compensation for the trees and the land,

6. At the outset Mr. Ram Lal Aggarwal, the learned counsel for the respondent-Punjab State raised a preliminary objection that the applications under Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, were made by the appellants long after the expiry of the period of limitation and that the order of reference made by the Collector was bad and consequently the awards of the Additional District Judge are invalid and both these appeals may be dismissed on this short ground. In support of this contention he relied on a Full Bench judgment of this Court reported as M/s. Swatantra Land and Finance Private Ltd. v. State of Haryana, AIR 1975 Punj and Har 52 (FB), wherein it was held as under:--

'The District Judge in a reference under Section 18 can go behind the reference and determine whether the reference made to him was valid or not, that is, whether the conditions precedent prescribed in Section 18 had been complied with, one of which is that the application to the Collector for reference to the District Judge should have been made within the prescribed time. If it has been made beyond time and the Collector does not reject it, the District Judge will be bound to adjudicate on the matter in case an objection is raised by the respondent and to reject the reference if it is found that the application to the Collector was made beyond the time prescribed in the proviso to Sub-section (2) of Section 18. While adjudicating on the objection of the respondent, the Dist. Judge does not go behind the reference but determines the objection of the respondent as to its validity and maintainability so as to defeat the claim of the applicant to any enhancement in the amount of compensation or modification of the award in any other way.It is well known principle of law that any provision of law, which authorises a competent authority to receive an application and to take action thereon if it is made within time, gives an inherent power to that authority to reject the same and not to act thereupon if it is made beyond time. The Collector has not been given any authority to condone the delay and therefore, any reference made on a time-barred application will be illegal and not in accordance with the provisions of the Act. The fact that the Collector forwarded the time-barred applications to the Civil Court does not take away the jurisdiction of the Court to consider the contention of the State that the reference applications were barred by limitation,'

7. However, this decision is distinguishable and is not applicable to the facts of this case. In the instant case, the Land Acquisition Collector pronounced his award on 28-10-1963. Notices under Section 12(2) of the Land Acquisition Act were issued to the owners of the land and the appellants, who were not present, on October 28, 1963 and they were asked to receive the compensation amount on December 28, 1963. Applications under Section 18(1) of the Act were made by the appellants of both the appeals to the Collector on January 27, 1965, requiring him to refer the matter for the determination of the amount of compensation to the District Judge. Sub-section (2) of Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act reads as follows:--

'The application shall state the grounds on which objection to the award is taken:

Provided that every such application shall be made-

(a) if the person making it was present or represented before the Collector at the time when he made his award, within six weeks from the date of the Collector's award.

(b) in other cases, within six weeks of the receipt of the notice from the Collector under Section 12, Sub-section (2), or within six months from the date of the Collector's award, whichever period shall first expire.'

8. The applications under Section 18(1) of the Land Acquisition Act were admittedly filed one year and three months after the pronouncement of the award. However, it is undisputed that the appellants of both the appeals were not present before the Collector at the time when he pronounced his awards on October 28, 1963. There is also no proof on the file to show whether notices under Section 12(2) of the Act were sent to the appellants and when the same were served upon them. According to proviso (b) of Sub-section (2) of Section 18 of the Act, the appellants could make the applications under Section 18(1) of the Act to the Collector 'within six months from the date of the Collector's award'. Having regard to the scheme of the Land Acquisition Act a literal and mechanical construction of these words, 'six months from the date of the Collector's award' would not be appropriate and the knowledge either actually or constructively of the party affected by the award is an essential requirement of fair play andnatural justice. Therefore, this expression used in the proviso must mean the date when the award is either communicated to the party or is known by him either actually or constructively. If the award was never communicated to the party, the question is when did the party know the award. Knowledge of the award does not mean a mere knowledge of the fact that the award has been made and it must mean the knowledge of the essential contents of the award. If the award is communicated to a party under Section 12(2) of the Act, the party must be obviously fixed with knowledge of the contents of the award whether he reads it or not. Similarly when a party is present in Court either personally or through his representative when the award is made by the Collector, it must be presumed that he knows the contents of the award. The knowledge must relate to the essential contents of the award either actually or constructively, vide State of Punjab v. Mst. Qaisar Jehan Begum, AIR 1963 SC 1604 and Raja Harish Chandra Raj Singh v Deputy Land Acquisition Officer, AIR 1961 SC 1500.

9. In the instant case the appellants were not present when the award was pronounced by the Collector on October 28, 1963. There is also no proof on the file when the notices under Section 12(2) of the Act were served upon them. In para. No. 7 of their application under Section 18, it was averred by the appellants that they came to know of the award only when they appeared before the District and and Sessions Judge, Ambala, and that they did not know about this award prior to that date. In its reply, the respondent-State alleged that notices under Section 12(2) of the Land Acquisition Act were served on the appellants asking them tc check and obtain their compensation from the Land Acquisition Collector, but it was not mentioned when those notices were issued and when the same were served. The issues in this case were framed by the Additional District Judge on February 19, 1966, and no other issue was claimed by the parties. In other words, the respondent gave up the plea regarding the alleged knowledge of this award of the appellants within six months of the pronouncement of the award. There is no proof on the file when the appellants had knowledge of this award. Thus, it is clear that this question regarding the limitation was given up by the respondent-State before the Additional District Judge. The question of limitation is a mixedquestion of law and fact, and, therefore, it cannot be allowed to be raised for the first time in appeal. Before deciding this point, the parties shall have to lead evidence to prove on what date the appellants of both these appeals came to know of the award. In this connection if any authority is needed, reference may be made to Gopal Fateh Singh v. Sis Ram, AIR 1949 East Punj 283 and Anwarul Hasan Khan v. Ali Mohammad, AIR 1961 All 558. Therefore, this preliminary objection, which is a mixed question of law and fact is not permitted to be raised for the first time in appeal.

10. The land in dispute of boththe appeals is situated in village Kansal. In the notification issued under Section 4(1) and Section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act, the total area of the acquired land in village Kansal was mentioned as 2099 acres. However, in the award of the Land Acquisition Collector, the area of the acquired land of this village Kansal is stated to be 2007.67 acres, and its break-up is as follows:--

Barani land 5.60 acres

Banjar Qadim 3.28 acres

Ghair Mumkin 1998.79 acres

________________

Total:- 2007.67 acres

________________

11. Land measuring 513 Bighas and 11 Biswas, which comes to about 107 acres, belonging to Ram Singh and others, appellants of Appeal No. 535 of 1966, was acquired for the aforesaid purpose vide notifications mentioned above. Land measuring 308 Bighas and 13 Biswas, which comes to about 64.35 acres, belonging to Chhotu and others, appellants of Appeal No. 548 of 1966, was acquired for the same purpose. Section 23(1) of the Land Acquisition Act lays down that in determining the amount of compensation to be awarded for land acquired under this Act, the Court shall take into consideration the following facts -

First, the market-value of the land at the date of the publication of the notification under Section 4, Dub-section (1); Secondly, the damage sustained by the person interested, by reason of the taking of any standing crops or trees which may be on the land at the time of the Collector's taking possession thereof?

thirdly .......................................

fourthly .......................................

fiithly .......................................

sixthly .......................................

Sub-section (2) of Section 23 of that Act says that in addition to the market-value of the land, as above provided, the Court shall in every case award a sum of fifteen per centum on such market-value, in con-jsideration of the compulsory nature of the acquisition.

12. In Smt. Tribeni Devi v. Collector, Ranchi, AIR 1972 SC 1417, it was held as under :--

'The compensation payable to the owner of the land is the market value which is determined by reference to the price which a seller might reasonably expect to obtain from a willing purchaser, but as this may not be possible to ascertain with any amount of precision, the authority charged with the duty to award compensation is bound to make an estimate judged by an objective standard. The land acquired has, therefore, to be valued not only with reference to its condition at the time of the declaration under Section 4 of the Act but its potential value also must be taken into account, The sale deeds of the lands situated in the vicinity and the comparable benefits and advantages which they have, furnish a rough and ready method of computing the market value. This, however, is not the only method. The rent which an owner was actually receiving at the relevant point of time or the rent which the neighbouring lands of similar nature are fetching can be taken into account by capitalising the rent which according to the present prevailing rate of interest is 20 times the annual rent. But this also is not a conducive method. The methods of valuation to be adopted in ascertaining the market-value of the land on the date of the notification under Section 4(1) are: (i) Opinion of experts, (ii) the price paid within a reasonable time in bona fide transaction of purchase of the lands acquired or the lands adjacent to the lands acquired and possessing similar advantages; (iii) a number of years' purchase of the actual or immediately prospective profits of the lands acquired. These methods, however, do not preclude the Court from taking any other special circumstances into consideration, the requirement being always to arrive as near as possible at an estimate of the market value. In arriving at a reasonably correct market value, it may be necessary to take even two or all of those methods into account inas-much as the exact valuation is not always possible as no two lands may be the same either in respect of the situation or the extent or the potentiality nor is it possible in all cases to have reliable material from which that valuation can be accurately determined.'

To the same effect was the law laid down in Special Land Acquisition Officer. Bangalore v. T. Adinarayan Setty, AIR 1959 SC 429,

13. Having stated the law on the point, I proceed to discuss the evidence adduced by the parties in this case to determine the market value of the land in dispute at the date of the publication of the notification under Section 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act. The notification under Section 4(1) of the Act in this case was published on March 12, 1963. The Land Acquisition Collector in his award dated October 28. 1963, allowed compensation for the acquired land at the following rates:--

Barani land Rs, 744/- per acre

Banjar Qadim Rs. 100/- per acre

Ghair Mumkin Rs. 50/- per acre

14. The parties produced oral anddocumentary evidence to prove their respective allegations. The appellants produced seven witnesses besides Ram Singh appellant appeared as his own witness. None of those witnesses deposed regarding the market value of the land in dispute. Ram Singh A. W. 5 in his statement dated May 23, 1966, deposed that the market value of the entire land was Rs. 500/- per Bigha at the time of the acquisition, Shri Gurdip Singh, Land Acquisition Collector, was examined by the respondents as R. W. 2, and he deposed that the compensation regarding this land was assessed by him on the basis of mutations and other factors. None of the other witnesses of the respondents stated a word regarding the market value of this land on the date of the issuance of the notification under Section 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act. The oral evidence adduced by the parties is not cogent and convincing to fix the market value of the land in dispute.

15. To prove the market value of the land in dispute on March 12, 1963, the date of issuance of the notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, the appellants produced copies of mutation orders, Exhibits P-l to P-5. Ex-hibit P. 1 is a copy of mutation No. 406 attested on November 26, 1959, of sale of 15 Bighas 11 Biswas of Ghair Mumkin Pahar land situated in village Kharak Mangauli, Tehsil Kharar. This land was sold for Rs. 2,000/- on the basis of registered sale deed dated August 12, 1959, Exhibit p. 2 is a copy of mutation order No. 363 attested on December 9, 1957, pertaining to the sale of 1 Bigha 10 Biswas Banjar Qadim land situated in village Kharak Mangauli sold for Rs. 900/-on the basis of registered sale deed dated August 10, 1957. Exhibit p. 3 is a copy of mutation No. 366 attested on 19-2-1958, relating to sale of 10 Biswas of Ghair Mumkin land situated in village Kharak Mangauli sold for Rs. 700/- on the basis of registered sale deed dated October 19, 1957. These mutation orders pertained to land situated in another village Kharak Mangauli. There is no proof on the file what is the distance between village Kansal where the land in dispute is situated and village Kharak Mangauli and what is the distance between the land in dispute and the land sold on the basis of these mutation orders. It is also not proved that the land sold on the basis of these mutation orders was of the same and similar type as the land in dispute. These are not sales of lands situated in the vicinity and having comparable benefits and advantages and, therefore, these do not furnish a rough and ready method of computing the market value of the land in dispute. Moreover, the mutation orders Exhibits P-2, and P-3 pertain to sales which took place more than five years prior to the notification issued under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act in the instant case. In the case of Exhibit P-l, the sale took place about four years prior to the issuance of the notification under Section 4 of the Act. Thus, these mutations Exhibits P-l to P-3 are not relevant to determine the market value of the land in dispute and Were rightly ignored by the Additional District Judge.

16. Exhibit P-4 is a copy of the mutation order No. 667 attested on 11-4-1958, relating to the sale of 10 Biswas of Barani land situated in village Kansal. This land was sold for Rs. 1,500/- on the basis of a registered sale deed dated September 25, 1957. Exhibit P-5 is a copy of mutation Order No. 675 attested on January 27. 1957, and relates to the sale of 15 Biswas of Barani land situated in village Kansal. This land was sold for Rs. 2,500/- on thebasis of a registered .sale deed dated September 3, 1958. The respondent-Punjab State produced a plan showing that the small pieces of Barani land sold vide mutation orders Exhibits P-4 and P-5 are situated near the village abadi of village Kansal, whereas the acquired land in dispute is situated far away from the village. The registered sale deeds of these two sales have not been produced for reasons best known to the appellants. From the sale deeds it could be ascertained for what purpose the land was purchased by the vendees and how the sale price was paid. The sale in Exhibit P-4 took place more than five years and sale in Exhibit P-5 took place more than 4 1/2 years prior to the issuance of the notification under Section 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act in the instant case. Further, the land sold vide mutations Exhibits P-4 and P-5 was Barani and was situated near the village abadi and it was sold for the purpose of constructing houses, and. therefore, these sales cannot furnish any criteria for fixing the market value of the land in dispute, which is situated far away from the village abadi and is Ghair Mum-kin Pahar land consisting of sleep and inaccessible hills. It is well-settled law that the value fetched for small pieces of land is no criterion to determine the market value for large area acquired. Large area of land cannot possibly fetch a price at the same rale at which small plots are sold. void. Collector of Lakhimpur v. Bhuban Chandra Dutta. AIR 1971 SC 2015 and Harbansh Narain Singh v. State of Bihar, AIR 1974 Pat 224 (supra), Velayu-dam Chettiar v. Special Tahsildar for Land Acquisition, AIR 1959 Mad 462 and N. C. John's Trust v. State of Kerala, AIR 1958 Ker 166,

17. Therefore, for the reasons given above and in view of the law laid down in these decisions, these mutation orders Exhibits P-4 and P-5 have to be ignored being irrelevant to determine the market value of the land in dispute.

18. Exhibit P-6 is a copy of the award dated November 20, 1964, of the Additional District Judge, Ambala, pertaining to land situated in village Dara Kharauni, Tehsil Kharar. In that case land measuring 1518.72 acres situated in that village was acquired by the State of Punjab at & public expense for the establishment of cantonment at Chandigarh, for the Union of India. Notification to acquire this land under Section 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act was published on February 17, 1962. The acquired landconsisted of Barani, Banjar Jadid, Aabi and Ghair Mumkin land situated in village Dara Kharauni. The learned Additional District Judge after considering the oral and documentary evidence of the parties fixed the market value of the Ghair Mumkin land at the rate of Rupees 500/- per acre. This village Dara Kharauni is situated at a distance of about a mile from village Kansal, where the land in dispute is situated. The distance between the acquired land and the Ghair Mumkin land mentioned in Exhibit P-6 is not much. It was stated at the bar by the counsel for the parties that an appeal against this award filed in this Court was dismissed. The land acquired in that case is situated in the vicinity and had similar benefits and advantages and this award in my opinion is the best instance in fixing the market value of Ghair Mumkin land in dispute. Therefore, I hold that the market value of the Ghair Mumkin land in dispute must be fixed in accordance with the price fixed in Exhibit p. 6 at the rate of Rs. 500/- per acre.

19. The respondent Punjab State produced copies of four mutations of sales of Barani land situated in village Kansal to prove the market value of the Barani land and these are Exhibit R-6 to R-9. Exhibit R-6 is a copy of mutation No. 682 and on its basis land measuring 3 Bighas 4 Biswas was sold for Rs. 500/- on the basis of a registered sale deed dated June 22, 1966. Exhibit R-7 is a copy of mutation No. 676 and on its basis Barani land measuring 8 Bighas 13 Biswas was sold for Rs. 200/- on the basis of a registered sale deed dated October 10, 1958. Exhibit R-8 is a copy of the mutation Order No. 677 and on its basis Barani land measuring 9 Bighas was sold for Rs. 200/-on the basis of a registered sale deed dated October 10. 1958. Exhibit R-9 is a copy of the mutation Order No. 678 and on its basis land measuring 20 Bighas 13 Biswas was sold for Rs. l,000/- on the basis of registered sale deed dated October 28; 1958. The land sold on the basis of Ext, R-9 was partly Ghair Mazruha and partly Barani land and the area of the Ghair Mazruha land was 8 Bighas, 10 Biswas. It is evident that the sale referred to in Ext R-6 took place about seven years prior to the issuance of the notification under Section 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act in the instant case while the sales in the other mutation orders Exhibits R-7 to R-9 took place about 4 1/2 years prior to the issuance of the notification. Moreover, these mutation ordersExhibits R-6 to R-9 pertained to Barani land and, therefore, these are not relevant for fixing the value of Ghair Mum-kin land in dispute. The Land Acquisition Collector fixed the market value of Barani land in dispute at Rs. 744/- per acre and this decision was confirmed by the Additional District Judge in his award. This valuation was not contested before us by the counsel for the parties. Therefore, the decision of the Additional District Judge on this point is confirmed and the market value of the Barani land is fixed at Rs. 744/- per acre.

20. There is not much differencein the value of Ghair Mumkin land and the Banjar Qadim land. Therefore, we propose to fix the value of the Banjar Qadim land also at the rate of Rs. 500/-per acre.

21. Mr. Ram Singh Bindra, the learned counsel for the appellants, then contended that besides the market value of the land in dispute the appellants are also entitled to the additional price on account of potential value of this land. There is neither any allegation nor any evidence on the file what was the potential value of this land. In Raghubans Narain Singh v. Uttar Pradesh Government, AIR 1967 SC 465, it was held as under:--

'Market value on the basis of which compensation is payable under Section 23 of the Act means the price that a willing purchaser would pay to a willing seller for a property having due regard to its existing condition, with all its existing advantages, and its potential possibilities when laid out in its most advantageous manner, excluding any advantages due to the carrying out of the scheme for the purposes for which the property is compulsorily acquired.'

22. In Vallabhdas Naranji v. Collector, AIR 1929 PC 112, the facts were that the land acquired was an irregularly shaped piece by the sea and was covered by the tide at various times and for ordinary purposes was practically useless. It was, however, capable of being used for salt works. On these facts, it was held as under:--

'that the present market value of that potentiality would decide the amount of compensation.'

In Smt. Tribeni Devi's case (AIR 1972 SC 1417) (supra) it was observed that thevalue of the acquired land has to be fixed not only with respect to its condition at the time of the declaration under Sec. 4 of the Act but its potential value also must be taken into account. In Special Land Acquisition Officer v. T. Adinarayan Setty, AIR 1959 SC 429, it was held that the purpose for which the land was acquired, is extraneous consideration which has no bearing on the question of valuation of the land. Section 24 of the Land Acquisition Act says that the Court shall not take into consideration-

firstly .......................................

secondly .......................................

thirdly .......................................

fourthly .......................................

fifthly, any increase to the value of the land acquired likely to accrue from the use to which it will be put when acquired;sixthly, any increase to the value of the other land of the person interested likely to accrue from the use to which the land acquired will be put; orseventhly .................................'

23. from the above-mentioned decisions it is clear that the potential value of the land in dispute at the time of the publication of the notification under Section 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act is to be taken into account and not thereafter. Any advantages due to the carrying out of the scheme for the purposes for which the property is compulsorily acquired are not to be taken into consideration in determining the potential value of the land in dispute. Practically Ihe whole of the land in dispute is Ghair Mumkin full of steep and inaccessible hills and it had no potential value at all. Therefore, this contention of the learned counsel for the appellant is rejected as devoid of force.

24. For the reasons given above it is held that the market value of the land at the date of the publication of the notification under Section 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act is fixed at the following rates:--

Barani land Rs. 744/- per acre

Banjar Qadim Rs. 500/- per acre

land

Ghair Mumkin Rs. 500/- per acre

Land

The decision of the Additional District Judge regarding the price of BanjarQadim and Ghair Mumkin land on issue No. 1 is modified as mentioned above.25-28. The Additional District Judge in his award held that the tree standing on the acquired land belonged to the appellants and the other proprietors of the land and this finding has not been contested in this appeal. The respondent State of Punjab did not file any appeal against this decision nor they filed any cross-objections. So this decision regarding the ownership of the trees standing on the acquired land is binding on the parties. The Land Acquisition Collector did not give any award regarding the price of the trees standing on this land because he held that the trees were not acquired and that the same belonged to the State. The Additional District Judge, therefore, held that it was incumbent on the Collector to make his supplementary award about the price of the trees and that the petitioners should apply to the Collector to make an award regarding the trees and if they are dissatisfied with the price fixed by him then they could approach the competent Court. It is undisputed that thereafter a petition was made by the appellants and other proprietors of the village to the Land Acquisition Collector, who gave his award on October 19, 1967. After considering the evidence produced by the parties he held that on average 150 trees per acre were standing in the acquired land at the time of the issue of notification under Section 4(1) of the Lund Acquisition Act. He valued the price of these trees at Rs. 1/- per tree and he thus fixed the price of the trees in the land at Rs. 300, 310.50. After adding the compulsory acquisition charges at the rate of 15 per cent, on this amount, the total value of the trees fixed by him was Rs. 3,45,357/-. A copy of the award was produced before us during arguments.

(After discussing some evidence with regard to number of trees standing on the land His Lordship proceeded:)

29. It may be pointed out that this acquired land and other land of this village was under the management of the Forest Department since the year 1940 till the date of the issuance of the notification under Section 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act. The Punjab Government in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 3 of the Punjab Land Preservation (Chos) Act, 1900, issued notification dated September 23, 1914, Exhibit R-l, with a view to preserve this land from the action of the Chos etc. In exercise of thepowers conferred by Section 4 of the said Act the following restrictions as given in Exhibit R-l were imposed on the owners of this land: --

(a) The clearing or breaking up or cultivating of land noi ordinarily under cultivation prior to the publication of the said notification.

(b) The quarrying of stone or burning of lime at places where such stone or lime has not ordinarily been so quarried or burnt prior to the publication of the said notification.

(c) The cutting of trees and the collection or removal of timber for sale as a means of profit, income or livelihood, or for any other purpose, not bona fide domestic or agricultural.

(d) The setting on fire of trees, timber or forest produce.

(e) The admission, herding, pasturing or retention of sheep or goats.

Similarly, notifications under Sections 3 and 4 of the Punjab Land Preservation Act, 1900, regarding the land situated in this village Kansal and other lands were issued subsequently by the Punjab Government and these are Exhibit R-2, dated February 1953. Exhibit R-3 dated March 13. 1957, and Exhibit R-4 dated May 17, 1961. From the year 1914 upto the date of issuance of the notification under Section 4(1) of the Punjab Land Acquisition Act, the proprietors had no right to cut the trees and to collect or remove timber for sale as a means of profit, income or livelihood, or for any other purpose, not bona fide domestic or agricultural. All these restrictions on the rights of the owners to cut trees etc., have to be taken into consideration in determining the price of the trees. According to Surinder Nath A. W. 1 examined by the appellants, the avarage number of trees per acre came to 200. But, according to the award dated October 19, 1967. of the Land Acquisition Collector referred to above, there were about 150 trees per acre. However, the Collector worked out the price of the trees in this land at the rate of Rs. 1/- only per tree, which is ridiculously low. Taking into consideration the restrictions imposed on the rights of the owners-appellants and other proprietors to deal with the trees vide notifications Exhibits R-l to R-4, and other factors, including that there were only shrubs and not trees in a large area and also the size of the big and smalltrees, I think the price of the trees worked out at the rate of Rs. 2/- per acre would be just and proper. I, therefore, assess the value of the trees per acre to be Rs. 300/- per acre. The appellants are thus entitled to get the price of the trees at the rate of Rs. 300/- per acre from the respondent-State of Punjab. The decision of the Additional District Judge on issue No, 1 is modified to the above extent.

31. For the reasons given above, both the appeals are partly accepted and it is held that the appellants of these appeals are entitled to get compensation at the following rates: --

(1) For Barani land @ Rs. 744/- per acre

(2) For Banjar Qadimland @ Rs. 500/- per acre

(3) For Ghair Mumkinland @ Rs. 500/- per acreBesides this, they are also entitled to the price of the trees situated in the acquired land at the rate of Rs. 300/- per acre. It is further held that in addition to the market value of the land as provided above, the appellants are also awarded a sum of 15 per cent. On the enhanced amount of compensation in consideration of the compulsory nature of the acquisition vide Dub-section (2} of Section 23 of the Land Acquisition Act. The appellants are also awarded interest on the enhanced amount of compensation at the following rates for the following periods: --

(a) From the date of taking of possession of the land till 30-6-1967 at the rate of 4 per cent, per annum. (The rate of interest was reduced to 4 per cent, by Punjab Act No. II of 1954 with effect from 9-1-1954).

(b) With effect from 1-7-1967 till the date of payment of the enhanced amount at the rale of 6 per cent, per annum, (The rate of interest was enhanced to 6 per cent. w. e. f. 1-7-1967 with retrospective effect by Punjab Act No. VII of 1969). Under the circumstances of these appeals, there will be no order as to costs in both the appeals.

D.S. Tewatia, J.

I agree.


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