1. Briefly, the facts of the case are that some land of the petitioners situated in village Chhattera, District Sonepat, was acquired by the State Government under the Land Acquisition Act. the award was given by the Collector on Sept. 13, 1961. They were not satisfied with the award of the Collector and they got the matter referred to the Civil Court under S. 18 of the Act. It dismissed the application on 28th Jan., 1963, and maintained the award of the Collector. They came up in appeal to this Court. The Court increased the compensation with respect to Ghahi land but did not grant the interest on the enhanced amount. They have filed the application under Ss. 151, 152 and 153 of the Code of Civil Procedure, praying that they should be granted interest on that amount.
2. The only question that arises for determination is as to whether the petitioners can claim the interest on the enhanced amount after a lapse of about eight years. Section 28 of the L. A. Act provides that if the sum which, in the opinion of the Court, the Collector ought to have awarded as compensation is in excess of the sum which the Collector did award as compensation, the award of the Court may direct that the Collector shall pay interest on such excess at the rate of six per centum per annum from the date of which he took possession of the land to the date of payment of such excess into Court. From a perusal of the section, it is evident that the interest is an integral part of the compensation which is to be given by the Court. It has been enacted to compensate the owner if the payment is delayed by the State. Section 152 of the Code entitles the Court to rectify clerical or arithmetical mistakes in judgments or errors therein from any accidental slip or omission at any time. The above mistake is an accidental slip and, according to the section, can be rectified at any time. In the aforesaid view, I get support from the following observations of the Division Bench in Jayakrishan Mangaraj Mohapatra v. State of Orissa, (AIR 1976 Orissa 203 at page 204):--
'Statutory interest provided under S. 28 of the Land Acquisition Act is an integral part of the decree to be passed by the Court and the Court, while determining compensation under the Act, has to award the same. An omission to award statutory interest is an error which can be cured by the Court in exercise of its power under S. 152, Civil P. C.; for an application under S. 152, Civil P. C. there is no period of limitation prescribed under the law and unless a third party has acquired an interest in the decree without knowing that there is an accidental slip or omission in it such accidental slip or omission can be rectified under S. 152.'
I am in respectful agreement with the abovesaid observations.
3. It may be mentioned that prior to 1st July, 1967, the interest provided under S. 28 of the L. A. Act was 4 per cent per annum and thereafter it was enhanced to 6 per cent per annum. The petitioners are, therefore, entitled to interest at the rate of 4 per cent per annum from the date of taking over of the possession of the land by the State up to 30th June, 1967 and at the rate of 6 per cent per annum thereafter till the compensation was paid.
4. Consequently, I accept, the application, modify the judgment and grant interest accordingly. No order as to costs.
5. Application accepted.