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Sham Dass Vs. the Financial Commissioner Revenue, Punjab and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Writ No. 1636 of 1965
Judge
Reported inAIR1973P& H50
ActsPunjab Security of Land Tenures Act, 1953 - Sections 18 and 18(2); Punjab Tenancy Act, 1887; Constitution of India - Article 226
AppellantSham Dass
RespondentThe Financial Commissioner Revenue, Punjab and ors.
Cases ReferredCity of Chicago v. Vaccarro
Excerpt:
.....for determining the value. of a like nature or kind. somewhat like; 93 a 2d 667, 668. the word 'similar' in its primary sense means nearly corresponding, resembling in many respects, somewhat like, having a general likeness. , ne 2d 289, 291, 339 iii app 404. the term 'similar' does not mean 'identical' as respects degree of similarity that must exist between property sold and that condemned to make evidence of the sale admissible but means having a resemblance and property may be similar though each possesses various points of difference. from the above reproduced definitions of the word 'similar' it is clear that the land has to be somewhat like or resembling in many respects. that being the position, i fail to see how in the concluding part of his judgment he gave the..........locality during the 10 years immediately preceding the date on which the application is made. the word 'similar' has no reference to the future use of the land. it means the same kind of land and the same kind of land may be put to different uses in the future. the use to which an owner puts the land will depend on various conditions and circumstances, but unless the owner happens to be imprudent or philanthropist, he may be expected to choose the use which will bring him the maximum benefit, with the establishment of a mandi next door to the lands in question urban development will necessarily follow and there will be a keen demand for plots by people who want to settle in the locality. this fact must be taken into account while assessing the market value of the land and the obvious.....
Judgment:
ORDER

1. This order of mine would dispose of Civil Writs Nos. 1636 and 1637 of 1965 as common question of law arises in both these petitions.

2. The only point involved in these petitions relates to the valuation of the land sought to be purchased under Section 18 of the Punjab Security of Land Tenures Act, 1953 (hereinafter referred to as the Act). The valuation of the land is to be determined under Sub-section (2) of Section 18 which reads as under:--

'18(2). A tenant desirous of purchasing land under sub-section (1) shall make an application in writing to an Assistant Collector of First Grade having jurisdiction over the land concerned and the Assistant Collector, after giving notice to the land-owner and to all other persons interested in the land and after making such inquiry as he thinks fit, shall determined the value of the land which shall be the average of the prices obtaining for similar land in the locality during 10 years immediately preceding the date on which the application is made.'

The Assistant Collector, First Grade, allowed the purchase application of the petitioner-tenant and determined the value of the land at Rs. 280.60 Paise per Bigha and the purchase price as Rupees 210.40 Paise per Bigha, being 3/4th of the value of the land. This decision of the Assistant Collector was affirmed on appeal by the Collector and a revision before the Commissioner also failed. On a further revision by the land owners private respondents, the learned Financial Commissioner observed thus:--

'The accepted method for the assessment of market price is to take into account sales of similar land in the locality for the last 10 years, According to Section 18(2), the value of the land shall be the average of the prices obtaining for similar land in the locality during the 10 years immediately preceding the date on which the application is made. The word 'similar' has no reference to the future use of the land. It means the same kind of land and the same kind of land may be put to different uses in the future. The use to which an owner puts the land will depend on various conditions and circumstances, but unless the owner happens to be imprudent or philanthropist, he may be expected to choose the use which will bring him the maximum benefit, with the establishment of a Mandi next door to the lands in question urban development will necessarily follow and there will be a keen demand for plots by people who want to settle in the locality. This fact must be taken into account while assessing the market value of the land and the obvious manner in which this can be achieved is to take note of the prices fetched for the plots sold by Government, I am therefore, constrained to accept both petitions and to remand the cases to the Assistant Collector for a fresh determination of the value of the land in the light of the above observations.'

On the basis of the above mentioned finding, the revision was allowed and the case was remanded to the Assistant Collector for a fresh determination of the value of the land. It is in these circumstances that these petitions have been filed by the tenants calling in question the legality and propriety of the order of the Financial Commissioner, dated 4th May, 1965. (Copy Annexure 'D' to the petition)

3. Mr. Gupta, learned counsel for the petitioner, contended that while determining the value of the land the average of the prices obtaining for similar land in the locality was to be taken into consideration. According to the learned counsel, the word 'land' indicated the various kinds of land, for example, Nehri, Chahi. Barani etc. and that it connoted only agricultural land. According to the learned counsel the average price of land which was agricultural in nature, and was somewhat like the land to be purchased, could be taken into consideration for determining the value. It was also contended by the learned counsel that the learned Financial Commissioner erred in law in observing that while assessing the value of the land, the value of the plots sold by the Government was also to be taken into consideration. On the other hand Mr. Mittal, learned counsel for the private respondents,. contended that value of any land situated in the locality could be taken into consideration while determining the value under sub-section (2) of Section 18 of the Act irrespective of the quality or kind of the land. In support of his contention, the learned counsel placed reliance on a Single Bench decision of this court in Ram Ditta v. Financial Commr. 1964 Pun LJ 196.

4. After giving my thoughtful consideration to the entire matter, I am of the view that there is considerable force in the contention raised by the learned counsel for the petitioner. Under Sub-Section (2) of Section 18, the Assistant collector, before determining the value of the land, is required to find out the average of the prices obtaining for similar land in the locality during the ten years immediately preceding the date on which the application is made. The important words which would help in finding out the correct answer are 'similar land'. The definition of the word 'land' as given to the Act, reads as under:--

''land' and all other terms used but not defined in this Act, shall have the same meaning as are assigned to them in the Punjab Tenancy Act, 1887 (XVI of 1887).'

From this definition it is clear that the definition of 'land' as given in the Punjab Tenancy Act of 1887, has been adopted 'Land' in that Act has been defined thus:--

'Land means land which is not occupied as the site of any building in a town or village and is occupied or has been let for agricultural purposes or for purposes subservient to agriculture or for pasture, and includes the sites of buildings and other structures on such land.'

The word 'similar' has not been defined in the Act. However, its meaning as given in the Oxford English Dictionary Volume IX, of the definition, reads as under:--

'Having a marked resemblance or likeness; of a like nature or kind.'

In words and Phrases, volume 39, this word has been defined as under:--

''Similar' means nearly corresponding, resembling in many respects; somewhat like; having a general likeness. Royer v. Brown N. H. 93 A 2d 667, 668. The word 'similar' in its primary sense means nearly corresponding, resembling in many respects, somewhat like, having a general likeness. Rubenstein v. Firemen's Fund Ins. Co., NE 2d 289, 291, 339 III App 404.

The term 'similar' does not mean 'Identical' as respects degree of similarity that must exist between property sold and that condemned to make evidence of the sale admissible but means having a resemblance and property may be similar though each possesses various points of difference. City of Chicago v. Vaccarro, 97 NE 2d 766, 773, 408 III 587.'

As earlier observed, the average of the prices has to be of land and that too which is similar. From the above reproduced definitions of the word 'similar' it is clear that the land has to be somewhat like or resembling in many respects. In the instant case, according to the decision of the learned Financial Commissioner, the price of the plots sold by the Government for acquiring the agricultural land, has also to be taken into consideration, though in the earlier part of the judgment it is observed by him that the word 'similar' has no reference to the future use of the land and correctly so. That being the position, I fail to see how in the concluding part of his judgment he gave the following direction:--

'With the establishment of Mandi next door to the lands in question, urban development will necessarily follow and there will be a keen demand for plots by people who want to settle in the locality. This fact must be taken into account while assessing the market value of the land and the obvious manner in which this can be achieved is to take note of the prices fetched for the plots sold by the Government.'

This directing is in direct contradiction with the legally right observation in the earlier part of the judgment that the word 'similar' has no reference to the future use of the land. When the word 'similar' has no reference to the future use of the land, then the value of the plots sold by the Government could not legally be taken to consideration because the plots sold apparently do not fall in the definition of land, nor can they be termed similar to the land in dispute. By converting the user, the nature of the land was changed and it ceases to have any resemblance or likeness with the land sought to be purchased. If the value of the plots sold by the Government is taken into consideration while determining the price of the land then that would mean taking into consideration of the price of such plots as have no resemblance with the land sought to be purchased. I do not agree with Mr. Mittal, learned Counsel for the private respondents that it is only the vicinity of the land which has to be taken into consideration. Vicinity or in other words locality is a factor to be taken into consideration; but the average price has to be determined taking into consideration the price of the land which is similar to that vicinity.

The decision in Ram Ditta's case on which reliance was placed by Mr. Mittal, learned counsel for the private respondents is distinguishable as it proceeded on its peculiar facts and the learned Judge after accepting the finding of the Commissioner and the Collector that the land in dispute was similar to the land on the basis of which the value was determined, refused to interfere in exercise of his power under Article 226 of the Constitution in this view of the matter. I hold that while determining the value under sub-section (2) of Section 18, the average price to be taken into consideration has to be of the land as defined in the Act and that the land has to be somewhat like or resembling in many respects with the land sought to be purchased.

5. No other point was urged.

6. For the reasons recorded above, I allow these petitions and quash the impugned order of the learned Financial Commissioner dated 4th May, 1965 (copy Annexure 'D' to the petition). In the circumstances of the case I make no order as to costs.

7. Petitions allowed.


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