1. The land of the respondents was compulsorily acquired by the Government under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 hereinafter called the Act, presumably for some public purpose. The Land Acquisition Collector gave his award regarding the said land on 30th October, 1970. Dissatisfied with the award, the State of Punjab moved an application under Section 18 of the Act on 28th April, 1971, for making a reference to the Civil Court for the reduction of the compensation amount. This application was rejected by the Land Acquisition Collector on 3rd May, 1971, on the ground that it had been filed beyond limitation. Against that order, the present petition under Article 227 of the Constitution has been filed by the State of Punjab on 22nd November, 1971.
2. A preliminary objection has been taken by the learned counsel for the respondents that the petitioner should have filed a revision petition under Section 115, Code of Civil Procedure, against the impugned order, as provided in Section 18(3) of the Act. The limitation for filing such an application is, admittedly, 90 days under Article 131 of the Limitation Act, 1963. The said limitation being over, the State Government has, therefore, chosen to make a petition under Article 227 of the Constitution.
3. I find merit in this contention. Section 18(3) of the Act reads:--
'18(3). Any order made by the collector on an application under this section shall be subject to revision by the High Court, as if the collector were a Court subordinate to the High Court within the meaning of Section 115 of the Code of Civil Procedure.'
4. A bare reading of this provision will show that the Act itself has provided a remedy for the party, whose application under Section 18 has been rejected by the Land Acquisition Collector. Consequently, the State of Punjab Should have filed an application under Section 115, Code of Civil Procedure in this Court. The limitation for such an application is admittedly 90 days. That limitation in the instant case, ended on 2nd August, 1971, the certified copy of the impugned order. Presumably finding themselves in a difficulty on the ground of limitation, the State of Punjab thought of moving this Court under Article 227 of the Constitution and that petition was made in this court on 22nd November, 1971. When a specific remedy has been provided by the statute itself, that should have been availed of by the petitioner. Simply because the petitioner was negligent in no doing so, it cannot be permitted to by-pass the statute by moving a petition under Article 227 of the Constitutional this belated stage. On this ground alone, I decline to interfere with the impugned order, especially when I am informed by the learned counsel for the respondents that the petitioner did not pay the compensation amount even assessed by the Land Acquisition Collector to his clients, in spite of the fact that it had dispossessed them and taken possession of their lands.
5. I would, therefore, reject this petition with costs.
6. Petition rejected.