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Revisional Civil Union of India Vs. Jage and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revision Appeal No. 354 of 1975
Judge
Reported inILR1976Delhi515; 1976RLR588
ActsCode of Civil Procedure (CPC), 1908 - Sections 115
AppellantRevisional Civil Union of India
RespondentJage and ors.
Advocates: R.M. Lal,; V.P. Nanda and; D.R. Dhamija, Advs
Cases Referred(Shivdeo Singh v. State of Punjab
Excerpt:
.....- sections 115 & 151--order under section 19, land acquisition act reviewed by the additional district judge--validity of--inherent jurisdiction under section 151, c.p.c. illegally exercised--order of review set aside in revision.; on an application made under section 18 of the land acquisition act, reference was made by the collector under section 19 to the additional district judge. the schedule of land, attached to the application, listed only some of the field acquired. at the end of the schedule, however, appeared the words 'etc. etc.'. a preliminary objection, by the union of india, that the applicant should state the meaning of 'etc' was dismissed because the counsel for the claimants admitted the correctness of section 19, statement sent by the collector with regard to the..........petition reference was made by the collector by sending a statement to the court of the additional district judge under section 19 of the land acquisition act. in this statement only those fields were included which had been listed in the schedule attached to the application under section 18. in the proceeding before the additional district judge, the union of india filed preliminary objections to the reference. the relevant objections were that firstly the claimants had not mentioned their shares in the fields a list of which had been attached to the petition under section 18. the claimants should, thereforee, be called upon either to admit the statement sent by the collector under section 19 or to file an amended reference petition staling their shares individually. secondly, in the.....
Judgment:

V.S. Deshpande, J.

(1) This revision under section 115 Civil Procedure Code is directed against the order of the Additional Districl Judge passed on 18th February, 1975 purporting to alow the application of Ram Kumar and seven other persons made on 16-1-1971 under sections 151 to 153 Civil Procedure Code in the following circumstances.

(2) Certain fields belonging to Ram Kumar and others were acquired under the Land Acquisition Act and an award was made by the : Collector offering certain compensation to the owners. Ra,m Kumar and others along with certain other persons whose lands also had been acquired made an application under section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act to the Land Acquisition Collector staling that the land belonging to them as per schedule attached to the application under section 18 had been the subject of the Land Acquisition Collector's Award No. 2024. The schedule of land belonging to the petitioners and attached to the petition, however, did not give a complete list of all the fields which had been acquired but listed only some of them. At the end of the schedule, however, appear the words 'etc. etc.'. In paragraph 9 of the petition it was stated that the petitioners claim compensation for the whole of their land. On this petition reference was made by the Collector by sending a statement to the court of the Additional District Judge under section 19 of the Land Acquisition Act. In this statement only those fields were included which had been listed in the schedule attached to the application under section 18. In the proceeding before the Additional District Judge, the Union of India filed preliminary objections to the reference. The relevant objections were that firstly the claimants had not mentioned their shares in the fields a list of which had been attached to the petition under section 18. The claimants should, thereforee, be called upon either to admit the statement sent by the Collector under section 19 or to file an amended reference petition staling their shares individually. Secondly, in the schedule attached to the reference petition, the petitioners ga,ve a list of certain fields and then ended by saying 'etc. etc.'. The words 'etc. etc.' have no legal entity. The claimants may, thereforee, be called upon to state the fields included in the word 'etc.'. The Additional District Judge on 11-4-1968 asked the counsel for the claimants to examine the preliminary objections made by the Union of India and to make a statement about it on 7-6-1968. Accordingly on 13-11-1968 the counsel for the claimants admitted the correctness of section 19 statement sent by the Land Acquisition Collector with regard to the area, shares etc. The Additional District Judge thereupon dismissed the preliminary' objections made by the Union of India, against the reference petition by the claimants. The Additional District Judge made an award as to the enhancement of the compensation payable only for those fields which were included in the statement by the Collector under section 19 on the strength of the schedule attached to the reference petition. The award of the Addition^ District Judge did not consider any other fields which could be included in the word 'etc.' at the end of the schedule of the reference petition in view of the statement made by the claimants' counsel admitting the correctness of section 19 statement sent by the Collector. After the award, however, an application under sections 151 to 153 Civil Procedure Code was made by the claimants for a review and amendment of the award made by the Additional District Judge and for an order that the Land Acquisition Collector should amend the statement which he had sent under section 19 by including therein other fields of the claimants which had not been listed in the schedule attached to the reference petition but which were included in the word 'etc.' The review petition was allowed by the Additional District Judge. Hence this revision against the said order allowing the review petition.

(3) The questions for decision in the revision petition are as follows: (1) Whether sections 151 to 153 Civil Procedure Code apply and enable the Additional District Judge to allow the review petition and (2) Whether the said order allowing the review petition was an illegal exercise of his jurisdiction by the Additional District Judge and is as such liable to be set aside in the revision petition Question NO. 1 :

(4) Under section 12 of the Land Acquisition Act, the award consisting of the offer made by the Collector to the person whose land has been acquired becomes final subject to the provisions of sections 18 and 30 of the Act. Section 18 gives a, person interested in the compensation the right not to accept the award and to make a, written application to the Collector that the matter be referred to the civil court for deciding his objections to the measurement of the land, the amount of compensation, the persons to whom it is payable or the apportionment of the compensation among the persons interested. It is to be noted that the right to dispute the correctness of the award and to seek the decision of the civil court as to matters relating to compensation, etc. is given only to the person interested in the payment of the compensation who has not accepted the award. It follows that no other person has such a. right. The Collector, thereforee, could not have made a reference to the civil court suo motu.

THEpower of the Collector to make the reference is derived solely from the written application which a claimant may make under section 18. It would follow, thereforee, that the power of the Collector to make the reference is restricted to what is stated in the claimant's application for reference under section 18 and does not extend beyond it. There is no presumption that a claimant must be dissatisfied with the whole of the award of the Collector. He may dispute, for instance, the compensation offered by the Collector only in respect of some fields but not in respect of other fields. It is competent for the claimant to make an application for reference only in respect of some land but not all the land for which compensation is offered by the Collector. It is in this context that the duty of the Collector to make a statement under section 19 and to forward it to the civil court is to be understood. The duty of the Collector there under corresponds to the power derived by him from the reference petition. Just as the reference by the Collector is confined to the matters mentioned in the reference petition, the statement by the Collector under section 19 cannot go beyond these matters. If the claimant, thereforee, does not include some field in his reference petition, the Collector cannot include it in the statement under section 19.

(5) The emphasis laid in Union of India v. Sher Uddin, (1970)72 P.L.R.D. 22 (S. K. Kapur, J.) and in Ram Singh v. Union of lndia(2), Civil Writ Petition No. 1223 of 1973 decided on 8-2-1974 (S. N. Shankar, J.) on the duty of the Collector to include in the statement the whole subject-matter of the award has to be understood in this context. The Collector will not be under any duty to include any matter in the statement under section 19 which is not disputed and which is not included by the claimant in his reference petition under section 18.

(6) In Union of India v. Sher Uddin (1), referred to above, there was no doubt that the claimant had asked for enhancement of the compensation for the whole of the land. In Ram Singh's(2) case cited above, the claimants had originally asked for enhancement of compensation in respect of both the pieces of land. But he only misdescribed the Khasra number of one of the two pieces of land. Misdescription could have been easily corrected and there was no question of his not claiming enhancement of compensation for the land originally misdescribed.

(7) Curiously enough, the claimant did not correct the misdescription and on the other hand said that he would confine his claim only to one piece of land which had been correctly described. If the reference petitioner himself did not want to extend his claim for enhancement of compensation beyond one piece of land, the Collector also was bound to make a reference under section 19 only in respect of one piece of land. It would appear that the enhancement of compensation only in respect of one piece of and was considered by the Additional District Judge. In staling the facts the learned Single Judge had made a reference to this. But in deciding the case attention of the learned Single Judge does not seem to have been invited to the fact that it was not because of any mistake on the part of the Collector but because of the deliberate choice made by the claimant that one of the two fields of the claimant was left out of consideration. The learned Single Judge does not give any finding or any opinion about this aspect of the case. It is not known, thereforee, as to what the decision would have been if this matter had been taken into consideration by the learned Single Judge. The decision is not, thereforee, an authority for the proposition that even if the claimant deliberately excludes some of his land from the purview of the reference, the Collector is bound to include the whole of the land in the reference. It would be against the scheme of the Act and common sense to expect the Collector to do some thing which the claimant himself does not want him to do.

(8) Shri D. R. Dhamija, learned counsel for the respondents in the present case referred to paragraph 6 of the order under revision. The learned Additional District Judge has observed therein that the incorrect and the wrong admission of the counsel for the respondents that the statement under section 19 was correct could not form an estoppel in the way of the claimants and that it was the statutory duty of the Collector to include the entire land of the petitioners in the statement under section 19. It is difficult to understand how the learned Additional District Judge could say that the admission by the counsel was incorrect and wrong. It was for the counsel of the petitioners to consider what admission he should make. There is nothing wrong or incorrect if he wanted to confine the claim for enhancement only to the fields which were actually described and did not want to include any other fields in the reference. The opportunity given to him by the court to include any other fields if he wanted to do so was not availed of. The view taken by the learned Additional District Judge, thereforee, that, the admission was wrong or incorrect was, with respect, totally unsound. An admission can be wrong if it was made under a misapprehension. It may not have much weight if it is shown that it was based on some such misapprehension or mistake of fact or of law. Unless this is done, the admission operated as a weighty piece of evidence which would counter-balance many other kinds of evidence. Since it has not been stated in the case before me that the admission by the counsel was based on a mistake of fact or of law and since no attempt has been made to explain away the admission, the said admission clearly stands against the claimants and had to be given effect to.

(9) In the original reference petition under section 18 by the claimants the adjective 'whole' was used in relation to the land of the claimants and the words 'etc.' were also used in the schedule. At the same time, certain fields of the claimants which were the subject-matter of the Collector's award were not included in the reference petition. There was certainly an ambiguity as to the intention of the claimants as expressed by the reference petition. The counsel for the Union of India was, thereforee, justified in requesting the Additional District Judge to call upon the claimants either to admit the statement sent by the Collector under section 19 or to file an amended reference petition staling their shares individually. The Additional District Judge was also justified in asking the counsel for the claimants to examine the preliminary objections and to make a statement. The power of the Court to call upon the counsel for the claimants to make a statement was derived from Order X Civil Procedure Code. Under rule 2 of Order X, the Court had power to examine a party or his pleader a,nd to record his answer in relation to any material question relating to the reference before it. Under Order Xiv rule 3, the materials on which issues had to be framed by the Court included such statements made by the pleaders of the parties under Order X. Accordingly, we find that the learned Additional District Judge used the statement made by the counsel for the claimants as the basis for dismissing the preliminary objections advanced by the Union of India. The counsel for the claimants had authority to make the statement which he did. The Supreme Court has recently pointed out in Smt. Jamilabai v. Shankar Lal Gulabchand, : AIR1975SC2202 , that the implied authority of the counsel extends not only to make such a statement but even to compromise a suit or to admit a, claim. Had the counsel for the claimants not made the statement there that the Collector's statement under section 19 is correct, the Additional District Judge would have been bound to call upon the claimants to clarify the schedule to the reference petition so that the Court could know precisely the fields in respect of which enhancement of compensation was claimed. It is beca,use the claimants' counsel asked the Court to take the Collector's statement under section 19 as correct that the Court decided to investigate only the correctness of the compensation regarding those fields.

(10) Curiously enough the learned Additional District Judge did not take the trouble of mentioning the particulars of the fields of the claimants in respect of which the reference under section 18 was made. He framed general issues as to what was the market value of the land, well and trees on the date of the notification under section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act and to wha,t enhancement of the compensation the plaintiffs were entitled. He also dealt with the compensation regarding the land falling in Block A and Block B without referring to any particular fields. But in the operative part of the judgment, namely, in paragraph 3, the enhancement of the compensation was restricted to the land in dispute falling in Block A and Block B. The enhancement, thereforee, related not to the whole of the land falling in Block A and Block B but only to the land in dispute. In giving the finding as to enhancement in paragraph 10 of the judgment, the Additional District Judge restricted it to the land in dispute falling in Block A and Block B. The question is whether the Additional District Judge intended to enhance the compensation payable for the whole of the land falling in Block A and Block B. This is neither the contention of the claimants nor of the Union of India. The only conclusion possible, thereforee, is that the enhancement was restricted to the land in dispute. What was the land in dispute This could only be that land in respect of which reference was demanded by the claimants. This land was ambiguous in the reference petition. But the ambiguity was removed by the statement of the claimants' counsel under Order X Civil Procedure Code by which the Court was asked to take the statement made by the Collector under section 19 as correct. thereforee, the Collector restricted the payment of the enhanced compensation according to the judgment of the Additional District Judge only to those fields which were mentioned in the statement under section 19.

(11) A review under section 151 Civil Procedure Code (sections 152 and 153 not being relevant) can be made only if there is an obvious error in the judgment (Shivdeo Singh v. State of Punjab, Air 1963 S.C. 1909. It cannot be said that there was any such error in the judgment of the Additional District Judge. It was based on the statement made under section 19 of the Land Acquisition Act at the instance of the claimants themselves. No review of the judgment could, thereforee, be called for by the claimants. Question NO. 2 :

(12) The inherent jurisdiction under section 151 was illegally exercised by the Additional District Judge when he purported to order the land Acquisition Collector to furnish a correct statement under section 19 of the Land Acquisition Act regarding the land which had been acquired from the claimants. Firstly, a review under section 151 had to be only of the judgment which had been delivered by the Additional District Judge. Secondly, under section 151 Civil Procedure Code, the Additional District Judge could not order the Collector to correct the statement filed by him under section 19 of the Land Acquisition Act. Lastly, there was no error either in the judgment or in the statement filed under section 19 and no question of review could arise.

(13) For the above reasons, the revision petition is allowed and the order of the Additional District Judge dated 18th February, 1975 is set aside. The costs of the revision shall be borne by the parties as incurred.


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