Shamsher Bahadur, J.
1. This is a rule directed against the order of the Collector declining to make a reference under sub-section (1) of Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act.
2. Land of the aggregate area of 15 acres, 1 Kanal and 9 Marias in village Balabgarh of Gurgaon district was acquired for the public purpose of setting up a steel fabricating industry. There were various claimants for compensation of this land and by the award of the Collector dated the 14th June, 1961, overall compensation at the rate of Rs. 3,300/- per acre was determined. The total compensation was computed at the figure of Rs. 50,098.13 nP. and after adding 15 per cent compulsory charges on the cost of land and interest, the aggregate award amounted to Rs. 59,292.28 nP. Thereafter an application was made on behalf of the 75 claimants that the amount awarded in compensation was inadequate and that apportionment should be made amongst them. Under Sub-section (1) of Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act.
'any person interested who has not accepted the award may, by written application to the Collector, require that the matter be referred by the Collector for the determination of the Court, whether his objection be to the measurement of the land, the amount of compensation, the persons to whom it is payable, or the apportionment of the compensation, among the persons interested'.
The Collector by his order dated the 26th of July, 1961, directed that separate applications should be made on be-half of each petitioner stating the area acquired and other grounds as required under Section 18(1) of the Land Acquisition Act.
3. It has been contended by the learned counsel for the petitioners, who have challenged the order of Mis Collector in this petition for revision, that the Collector was bound to make reference for apportionment of compensation amongst the claimants and for enhancement of the award. There is, in my opinion, force in this submission. The land was taken as one parcel and at no stage has It been determined what separate interest in the (and each claimant had. In the circumstances, there must be a proper apportionment of the compensation and till that is done, it cannot be determined what portion of land eacrt claimant is entitled to. The Civil Court is empowered to g0 into this matter of apportionment of compensation under Section 18(1) of the Land Acquisition Act and there seems to be no valid prima facie reason for the Collector to have declined to make a reference. A person interested has been stated in Clause (b) of Section 3 of the Land Acquisition Act to include, 'all persons claiming an interest in compensation to be made on account of the acquisition under this Act', and it would be noted that any person interested has a right to ash for a reference from the collector for determination of the dispute with regard to apportionment of the compensation awarded by the Collector: That the 75 petitioners are persons interested admits of no doubt and this position has not been controverted by the learned Additional Advocate General, who opposes the rule. All that has been contended for on behalf of the State is that the petitioners should have made separate applications. As already indicated, the petitioners desire the Civil Court to apportion their shares and till this is done it is not possible for them to submit the applications as required by the impugned order of the Collector.
4. It would be well to advert to a Division Bench decision of the Bombay High Court (Chagla, C. J. and Tendolkar; J.) in G. J. Desai v. Abdul Mazid Kadri, AIR 1951 Bom 156, where it was held that if the Collector refuses to make a reference it would always be open to the claimants to come to Court under Section 45, Specific Relief Act and get the Court to compel the Collector to make a reference if they satisfy the Court that their application was within time. In my judgment, a wrong view has been taken by the Collector it is open to this Court to afford redress to the petitioners in the exercise of its revisional jurisdiction. It is now provided by Sub-section (3) of Section 18 that 'any order made by the Collector on an application under this section shall be subject to revision by the High Court under the power conferred on it under Section 115 of the Code of Civil Procedure.' This change has been brought about by the Punjab Amendment Act II of 1954.
5. The learned Additional Advocate-General submits that a Joint petition would not be desirable as some of the claimants may not choose to object to the compensation which has bean awarded. In a somewhat similar situation, it was held by a Division Bench of the Calcutta High Court (G. N. Das and Guha, JJ.) in Province of Bengal v. Radha Gobinda, AIR 1951 Cal 43, that where the claim of 4 brothers is not severable and the reference under Section 18 is made by all of them acting jointly, the Land Acquisition Judge is justified in making an award for the entire sum representing their interest in spite of the fact that one of them later withdraws from the reference. Even if some of the claimants in the present case do not desire to contest the award, the reference would still be justified. Recently, it has been ruled by a Division Bench of the Kerala High Court (Sanharan and T. K. Joseph, JJ.) in State v. Narayani Pillai Kuttiparu Amma, AIR 1959 Kerala 136, that where the award is in favour of several persons having no separate and distinct interest in the property acquired, all of them may be said to be interested in the objection raised by one or more of them to the award made by the Land Acquisition Officer. In such a case the objection may be deemed to have been made on behalf of all.
6. I would accordingly make this rule absolute and allow this petition for revision. The papers including the order of the 26th July, 1961, would be sent back to the Collector who would then proceed with the application presented to him in accordance with law.
7. There would be no order as to costs of this petition.