J.C. SHAH, J.
1. A piece of land measuring 1,110 acres was leased out by the appellants to Respondents 1 and 2 on July 30, 1949, for a period of 20 years with a right of renewal for another period of equal duration. By Notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, dated September 1, 1951, the Government of Uttar Pradesh notified the entire area for acquisition. Possession of the land was taken under Section 17(1) of the Land Acquisition Act on November 23, 1951, and Respondents 1 and 2 were dispossessed of the land.
2. On inquiry the Land Acquisition Officer assessed the compensation for the land at Rs 81,851/7. Against the award three applications were filed for reference under Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act. The first numbered 7 was an application by the appellants; second and third numbered 8 and 9 were applications made by Respondents 1 and 2. By Reference No. 7 the appellants claimed compensation in addition to the amount awarded. By Reference 8 and 9 Respondents 1 and 2 claimed additional compensation and apportionment of the compensation awarded for the land. The learned Civil Judge, Bijnor, who exercised jurisdiction of a District Court under Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act, followed a somewhat curious procedure in dealing with the references on his file. He granted an application submitted by Respondents 1 and 2 for adjournment of the hearing of references 8 and 9 and took up for hearing Reference 7 and awarded an amount of Rs 24,415/3/6 in addition to the amount awarded by the Collector. The References 8 and 9 remained still to be decided. Respondents 1 and 2 then moved a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution before the High Court of Allahabad. The petition was rejected by Mr Justice J.K. Tandon. Against that order an appeal was preferred under the Letters Patent in the High Court. In appeal the High Court set aside the order passed by the Civil Judge and directed that the Court do consolidate References 7, 8 and 9 and hear all the parties interested in the land and the Collector and dispose of the three References in accordance with law.
3. This was in our judgment an essentially just and proper order. The appellants thereafter persuaded the High Court to grant a certificate under Article 133(1)(a) of the Constitution and this appeal is brought before this Court under that certificate.
4. It may be pointed out in the first instance that where the dispute between the parties is not decided on the merits and the case is remanded, the High Court has no power to grant a certificate under Article 133(1)(a) of the Constitution. An appeal lies to this Court by certificate from a judgment, decree or final order. The order passed by the High Court was not a judgment or decree and being an order remanding the case without expressing any opinion on the merits, was not a final order. The certificate of the High Court was plainly without jurisdiction.
5. Even on the merits there is no substance in the appeal. In References 7 and 8 the same question fell to be determined. In both these references the question was as to the appropriate compensation to be paid for the land. The Civil Judge decided Reference 7 and assessed the amount of compensation and did not decide References 8 and 9 in which the same question arose. The respondents had no opportunity of convincing the court that a larger amount should be awarded. By the award in Reference 7, References 8 and 9 became infructuous for at the hearing of these references the court could not award compensation different from what was awarded in Reference 7. If the court did so there would be inconsistent orders. The High Court was, in our judgment, therefore, right in holding that References 7, 8 and 9 had to be tried together and the amount of compensation payable for the land acquired determined in the presence of all the parties interested. The appeal fails and is dismissed with costs payable to Respondents 1 and 2.
6. It is necessary to point out that the Division Bench of the High Court appears to have considered the meaning of Clause 15 of the lease relying upon which Respondents 1 and 2 had claimed a share in the compensation. The High Court considered the matter and expressed some tentative opinion. We think having regard to the nature of the ultimate order passed by the High Court no such expression of opinion should have been made. In any case the Civil Judge in deciding the References will not be bound by the opinion, if any, expressed therein.