1. This is first appeal by the Union of India defendant against four brothers, Teja Singh, Mohinder Singh, Ram Singh and Sampuran Singh, plaintiffs. Facts leading to the appeal and the plea of its abatement raised on behalf on the respondents are as under:--
2. Notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, hereinafter called 'the Act' was issued on February 17, 1961 to acquire 649 bighas 19 biswas belonging to the respondents. This notification was followed by a notification under Section 6 of the Act. It was issued on May 24, 1961. The Collector gave a joint award on December 28, 1961 in favour of the four brothers. According to that award, the Collector directed that sum of Rs. 5,394.04 be paid as compensation to the respondents for their land acquired by the Government. Objections under Section 18 of the Act were entered on behalf of the respondents before the District Judge claiming enhanced compensation. Second Additional District Judge, to whom the objections were entrusted for disposal, by judgment dated May 15, 1964, increased the compensation already awarded by the Collector by Rs. 4,886.25. Feeling aggrieved of the judgment of the Additional District Judge, the appellant filed appeal in the High Court on August 20, 1964. During the pendency of the appeal, Teja Singh died on August 18, 1970. On behalf of his surviving brothers, the other three respondents, application was filed in the High Court on November 17, 1970 praying for Smt. Gurdial Kaur wife of Teja Singh, Hakam Singh and Jarnail Singh sons of Teja Singh and Smt. Balwant Kaur, Smt. Kirpal Kaur and Smt. Gurnam Kaur, daughters of Teja Singh being brought on record as his legal representatives. On September 15, 1971, order was passed that this application be heard along with the appeal.
3. Shri S. K. Aggarwal appearing on behalf of the respondents has raised the objection that no application having been made by the appellant within the period of limitation of ninety days as provided in Article 120 of the Limitation Act, 1963 and the application made on behalf of the respondents being barred by time, the appeal had abated and deserved dismissal. It is urged by him that the land was jointly owned by all the four brothers, including Teja Singh deceased and that their interests being not severable, the appeal abates in toto and not to the extent of any share of the deceased. The counsel for the appellant neither denies the fact of the application to bring on record the legal representatives of the deceased being barred by time nor the fact of no attempt having been made on behalf of the appellant to bring on record the legal representatives of the deceased and further the fact that the agricultural land acquired by the Government is jointly owned by all the four brothers. There being one consolidated assessment of the price of the land to determine compensation, to which all the four brothers, including Teja Singh deceased, were jointly entitled, such assessment does not admit of severability of any specified interest of each of the brothers. A joint decree passed for payment of compensation in pursuance of such assessment in favour of all the four brothers could not be sought to be avoided in appeal without the legal representatives of the deceased brother, dying during the pendency of the appeal, being brought on the record within the period of limitation prescribed therefor: under the circumstances, the consequence of abatement of the appeal in toto must follow. In this view of the matter, I am reinforced by the judgment of the Supreme Court given in State of Punjab v. Nathu Ram, AIR 1962 SC 89. Their Lordships observed as follows:--
'The result of the abatement of the appeal against Labhu Ram is, therefore, that his legal representatives are entitled to get compensation on the basis of this award, even if they are to be paid separately on calculating their rightful share in the land acquired, for which this compensation is decreed. Such calculation is foreign to the appeal between the State of Punjab and Nathu Ram. The decree in the appeal will have to determine not what Nathu Ram's share in this compensation is, but what is the correct amount of compensation with respect to the land acquired for which this compensation has been awarded by the arbitrator. The subject-matter for which the compensation is to be calculated is one and the same. There cannot be different assessments of the amounts of compensation for the same parcel of land. The appeal before the High Court was an appeal against a decree jointly in favour of Labhu Ram and Nathu Ram,. The appeal against Nathu Ram alone cannot be held to be properly constituted when the appeal against Labhu Ram had abated. To get rid of the joint decree, it was essential for the appellant, the State of Punjab, to implead both the joint decree-holders in the appeal. In the absence of one joint decree-holder, the appeal is not properly framed. It follows that the State appeal against Nathu Ram alone cannot proceed.'
4. The facts of this case being identical with the facts of that case, ratio decidendum therein fully covers it. In the result, the appeal is dismissed as having abated in toto. There will, however, be no order as to costs.
5. Appeal dismissed.