1. In this petition under Article 226 of the Constitution, the petitioner impugns the award of the Tribunal constituted under the Punjab Town Improvement Act, 1922 (for short, the Act), on the grounds:
(i) that the method of assessing the value of the property in question (residential building) separately for the land underneath it and the break-up value of the construction is untenable in Law;
(ii) that the Court has wrongly held that the petitioner was not in adverse possession of the building constructed in khasra No. 100 (annexure P. 3); and
(iii) that the non-issuance of any notice to the petitioner under Section 9 of the Land Acquisition Act vitiates the entire proceedings subsequent to that stage.
2. Having heard the learned counsel for the parties at length I, however, find that the petition deserves to be dismissed.
3. No doubt, it is true in the light of the authoritative pronouncement of the final court in State of Kerala v. P. P. Hassan Koya, AIR 1968 SC 1201 that in determining compensation payable in respect of land with buildings, compensation cannot be determined by assessing the value of the land and the break-up value of the building separately. Though it is more so in the case of buildings used for business purposes yet even in the case of. residential buildings what a willing vendor might reasonably expect to receive from a willing purchaser generally depends upon a variety of circumstances including the nature of construction, its age, situation, other amenities available, its special advantages and a host of other. circumstances. But in the instant case even if this stand of the learned counsel is accepted and the impugned award is set aside on that account still: to my mind he cannot take any benefit out of that. As a matter of fact, the only evidence he has led before the Tribunal in support of .his claim for compensation: of the building in question is the statement of one Mehar Singh AW 24, Retired Engineer, who has again evaluated this building on the basis of the same method, i. e., assessing the market value of the land underneath the building and the cost of the superstructure separately. It is the conceded position that no other evidence has been led by the petitioner in that regard. So if the method adopted by the Tribunal has to be disapproved and the impugned award is to be set aside on that account, the petitioner's own evidence has also to be discarded on that very score. Mere setting aside of the award by this Court cannot possibly entitle the petitioner to lead any fresh or more evidence before the Tribunal. Undisputably, the proceedings before the Tribunal under the Land Acquisition Act are in the nature of civil proceedings in a civil court and the petitioner-claimant has the status of a Plaintiff. The onus of the issue as to what was the market value of the property in question was concededly on the petitioner and he had led no other evidence except examining Mehar Singh AW 24. Thus, I am satisfied that in case the impugned award has to be set aside and the case has to be sent back that is the maximum the petitioner can claim if his above-noted argument is accepted--it will be an exercise in futility as merely on account of the setting aside of this award the petitioner would not be in a position to lead any further evidence in the case.
4. So tar as the contention mentioned at (ii) is concerned, the same obviously entails appreciation or re-appraisal of the evidence on record. This Court, in these proceedings, obviously not being a Court of Appeal cannot possibly adopt that approach and upset the findings of fact recorded by the Tribunal on appraisal of evidence before it. This proposition of law has decently been settled by a Division Bench of this Court on C. W. P. No. 3209 of 1982 (Jullundur Improvement Trust v. Improvement Trust. Tribunal, Jullundur) decided on 29th March, 1983.
5. so far as the third and the last contention of the petitioner, as noticed above, is concerned his learned counsel squarely relies on an earlier judgment of this court in Mani Ram v. state of Punjab, ILR (1976) 1 Punj 651: (AIR1975 Punj 135) wherein it has been held that the non-service of a notice under Section 9(3) of the Land Acquisition Act on a person in occupation of the acquired land, vitiates the entire proceedings subsequent to that stage .The Tribunal undisputably has held that no notice under Section 9(3) of the Act had been served on the petitioner. It is in the light of this finding and the above-noted pronouncement that his learned counsel urges with some amount of vehemence that all proceedings taken in this case--including the award of the Tribunal--subsequent to the stage of service of the notice under section 9 on him stand vitiated. Having gone through the above-noted judgment I find that it does not lay down any such proposition .In that case what had been impugned were the proceedings before the Collector including the publication of the notifications under sections 4 and 6 of the Land Acquisition Act. Undoubtedly these proceedings are administrative in nature. As against this the proceedings before the Tribunal though originate from a reference under Section 18 of the Act yet are undisputably in the nature of civil proceedings before a civil count in which the claimant has the status if a plaintiff. These are wholly independent of the proceedings before the Collector under the Act. These, to my mind, cannot be taken to be within the scope or meaning of 'subsequent proceedings' as used in this judgment. As a matter of fact, the learned counsel has not been able to bring to my notice even a single judgment in which on account of any flaw in the proceedings before the Land Acquisition Collector the proceedings before the Tribunal or the Land Acquisition Court have been held to have vitiated or in any way rendered illegal or nugatory. Thus, I am satisfied that the ratio of the above-noted judgment in Mani Ram's case (supra)does not cover the facts of this case.
6. In the light of above, this petition fails and is dismissed but with no order as to costs.
7. Petition dismissed.