1. This judgment disposes of nine Regular First Appeals Nos. 488 to 492 and 977 to 980 of 1984 preferred by the landowners claimants as these pertain to the same acquisition proceedings initiated by the State Government with the publication of a notification under S. 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (for short, the Act) on Nov. 4, 1977. The land of the claimants is located in the revenue estate of Atmadpur and has been acquired to develop it into a residential area, i.e., Sector 30 of Faridabad Township. The Land Acquisition Collector treating it to be a purely agricultural land for determining its market value, awarded compensation at the rates varying from Rs. 20000/- to Rs. 30000/- per acre. As the claimants did not feel satisfied with the adequacy of this compensation, they sought respective reference under S. 18 of the Act and as a result thereof the Land Acquisition Court (District Judge, Faridabad) has allowed compensation at the rate of Rs. 18/- per square yard besides the statutory solatium and interest at 15% and 6% respectively. The claimants are still not satisfied with the award of the lower Court and have preferred these appeals.
2. For recording its above noted conclusion the lower Court has primarily relied upon various awards, such as, Exhibits P. 11, P. 13, P. 15, P. 17, P. 19, P.21 P. 22, P. 24 and P. 26, pronounced by it earlier for the acquisition of land in the adjoining village Mawai, for the same purpose, i.e. development of Section (Sector) 29 of the Township. The revenue estate of Atmadpur admittedly adjoins the lands of village Mawai. Vide all these awards which pertain to the acquisition effected in pursuance of a notification published under S. 4 of the Act on Oct. 1, 1973, the market value of that land was determined at Rs. 18/- per square yard. Following those awards the Court has awarded similar compensation in these cases. The learned counsel for the appellants is not in a position to find any fault with this approach of the lower Court. He, however, contends that the Court committed an error in not noticing the general upward trend in the prices of lands nearabout or around the developing towns and has wrongly disallowed the claim of the appellants for a higher rate of compensation on account of the time lag of about four years between the two acquisitions dated Oct. 1, 1973 and the present notification dated Nov. 4, 1977. This claim of the appellants has been turned down by the lower Court with the observation that the petitioners before him had 'failed to show whether there was any rise in price after 1973 and if so to what extent'. I find merit in the above noted submission of the learned counsel. By now it is well recognised that rise in prices of lands nearabout the developing towns is almost a continuous and unending phenomenon and the Court while determining the market value of the acquired lands have been taking judicial notice of it. There are number of judgments of the Court while determining the market value of the acquired lands have been taking judicial notice of it. There are number of judgments of this Court pertaining to the acquisition of land for Faridabad town itself wherein in similar situation rise in the market value of the acquired land at the rate of Re. 1/- per square yard per year has been allowed. A reference in this regard can be made to an earlier judgment of mine in R.F.A. No. 586 of 1981 (Raghbir Singh and others v. The State of Haryana and others) decided on November 30, 1984, vide which judgment the market value of the land acquired for the development of Section (Sector) 8 of this very complex was determined. In the light of that I am satisfied that the market value of the appellants' land had to be determined at Rs. 22/- per square yard, i.e., on account of the lapse of four years between the two acquisitions, i.e., the one to which the above noted awards relate and the present acquisition effected in pursuance of a notification under S. 4 of the Act published on Nov. 4, 1977. The learned counsel for the respondent authorities has nothing contrary to submit.
3. The next contention of the learned counsel for the appellants which of course has been seriously debated by the two sides is that the claimants besides being entitled to solatium and interest at the rate of 30% and 15% respectively in the light of the amended provisions of Ss. 23(2) and 28 of the Act, are also entitled to an additional amount at the rate of 12% per annum on the above noted market value in view of the newly added provisions of sub-section (1-A) to S. 23 of the Act, vide Act. No. 68 of 1984. This latter-mentioned sub-section reads as follows:--
'(1-A). In addition to the market value of the land, as above provided, the Court shall in every case award an amount calculated at the rate of twelve per centum per annum on such market value for the period commencing on and from the date of the publication of the notification under S. 4, sub-section (1), in respect of such land to the date of the award of the Collector or the date of taking possession of the land, whichever is earlier.
Explanation:--In computing the period referred to in this sub-section, any period or periods during which the proceedings for the acquisition of the land were held up on account of any stay or injunction by the order of any Court shall be excluded.'
So far as the claim of the appellants for the enhancement of solatium and interest in the light of the provisions of Ss. 23(2) and 28 of the Act is concerned, the matter has squarely been settled by their Lordships of the Supreme Court in Civil Appeal No. 1519-23 of 1985 (Bhag Singh v. Union Territory of Chandigarh) decided on August 14, 1984 (reported in AIR 1985 SC 1576), wherein it has been held that:--
'It is therefore clear that under S. 30, sub-section (2), the provisions of the amended S. 23, sub-section (2) and S. 28 are made applicable to all proceedings relating to compensation pending on 30th April 1982 or filed subsequent to that date, whether before the Collector or before the Court or the High Court or the Supreme Court, even if they have finally terminated before the enactment of the Amendment Act.'
In the face of this authoritative pronouncement neither the learned counsel for the respondents has anything to submit nor is there escape from the conclusion that the solatium and interest have to be allowed to the appellants in the light of the amended provisions of Ss. 23(2) and 28 of the Act.
4. With regard to the other claim in the light of sub-section (1-A) of S. 23, learned counsel for the respondents vehemently contends that in view of sub-section (1) of S. 30 of the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Act, 1984, i.e., Act No. 68 of 1984, the additional amount at the rate of 12% of the market value of the acquired land can only be allowed in cases where no award has been made by the Land Acquisition Collector prior to the 30th day of April, 1982, i.e., the date when the Amendment Bill was introduced in the House of the People. In order to appreciate the stand of the learned counsel, a detailed reference to S. 30(1) of this Act is necessary and the same is reproduced as under:--
'30. Transitional provisions:--
(1). The provisions of sub-section (1-A) of S. 23 of the principal Act, as inserted by Clause (a) of S. 15 of this Act,. shall apply, and shall be deemed to have applied, also to, and in relation to:--
(a) every proceedings for the acquisition of any land under the principal Act pending on the 30th day of April, 1982 (the date of introduction of the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill, 1982, in the House of the People), in which no award has been made by the Collector before that date;
(b) every proceeding for the acquisition of any land under the principal Act commenced after that date, whether or not an Award has been made by the Collector before the date of commencement of this Act.'
The learned Counsel contends that this sub-section governs the applicability of sub-section (1A) of S. 23 of the Act and since in the instant cases not only the notification under S. 4 of the Act was published prior to April 30, 1982 but even the award had been made by the Collector earlier to that, the provisions of S. 23(1-A) cannot be availed of by the appellants. To me this argument appears to be an argument of confusion. To my mind sub-section (1) of S. 30 only governs the applicability of S. 23(1-A) to the proceedings before the Collector and not before the Land Acquisition Court or the appellate Court. The words 'every proceeding for the acquisition of any land under the principal Act' occurring in clauses (a) and (b) of sub-section (1) of S. 30 have only reference to the proceedings before the Collector and not to the proceedings in a reference or in appeal against the judgment of the Land Acquisition Court. To my mind, acquisition proceedings terminate or come to an end with the passing of the award or the taking of the possession of the acquired land by the Collector under the Act. In terms of S. 16 of the Act, the moment the Collector takes possession of the acquired land after making an award under S. 11 of the Act, the same comes to vest absolutely in the Government and the acquisition proceedings come to an end. The land stands acquired. The subsequent proceedings as a result of the reference under S. 18 of the Act are independent proceedings and are in the nature of trial of a suit under the Civil P.C. The scope of these proceedings--may be before the Land Acquisition Court or the Appellate Court--is limited only to the four points indicated in the section, i.e., (i) to the measurement of land; (ii) the amount of compensation; (iii) the persons to whom it is payable and (iv) the apportionment of the compensation among the persons interested, and cannot be extended to other issues, such as, validity of the notification issued for the acquisition or want of jurisdiction in making the award. Therefore, what sub-section (1) of S. 30 of Act. No. 68 of 1984 ordains is that in those acquisition proceedings before the Collector which were either pending on the 30th day of April, 1982 and in which proceedings no award had been made by the Collector before that date or such proceedings which have been commenced after that date whether or not an award had been made by the Collector, prior to the commencement of the Act w.e.f. 24-9-1984, the additional amount in terms of sub-section (1-A) of S. 23 of the Act is to be awarded by the Collector. So far as the proceedings in Court--may be as a result of the reference under S. 18 of the Act or at the appellate stage--are concerned, the mandate of sub-section (1-A) is that the Court shall in every case award an amount calculated at the rate of twelve per centum per annum of such market value (i.e., the market value fixed under sub-section (1) of S. 23) for the period commencing on and from the date of the publication of the notification under S. 4, sub-section (1), in respect of such land to the date of the award of the Collector or the date of taking possession of the land, whichever is earlier'. I thus see no merit in the contention of the learned counsel for the respondents that the additional amount as envisaged by S. 23(1-A) is not to be awarded to the appellants as the award in the instant cases had been pronounced on Aug. 28, 1981.
5. The net result of the above discussion is that besides the payment of market value of the acquired land at the rate of Rs. 22/- per square yard, the appellants would also be paid the additional amount under S. 23(1-A) of the Act as indicated above along with solatium at 30% of the market value and interest at the rate of 9% per annum for the first year from the date of taking possession of the acquired land from them and at the rate of 15% for the subsequent period till the date of payment of the enhanced amount of compensation. they would also have the proportionate costs of their appeals.
6. Order accordingly.