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Sabha Chand Vs. Union of India - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberRegular First Appeal Nos. 86D and 92D of 1966 and 154, 156, 378, 434 and 463 of 1969
Judge
Reported in1980RLR193
ActsLand Acquisition Act, 1894 - Sections 23
AppellantSabha Chand;maujiram;bham Ram;ram Singh;baldev Singh;nanhey
RespondentUnion of India;union of India;union of India;union of India;union of India;union of India
Advocates: H.L.Dutt and; Rekha Sharma, Advs
Cases ReferredIndia v. Ram Mehar
Excerpt:
.....to enhancement of compensation. - - both as regards the yield as well as the quality nehri land is far superior to rosli land. it is well supplied with water and is not dependent on the will of god. that the 'quantity of yield' and 'quality of soil' are the two marks of good agricultural land is clear from s. (11) the rules clearly show that nehri land is just double in value as compared to rosli land. (13) this consideration that the land of award 1672 is of 'better quality' from agricultural point of view than the land of awards 1459. 1460, 1461 1434 influenced the decision of ethe additional district judge mr. he summed up his conclusion in these words :in view of admittedly better quality of the land in dispute, the 'petitioners deserve to get compensation at a rate higher..........raised to rs. 3,000.00 per bigha in respect of land which was not on the rasta. for land on the rasta compensation was increased to rs. 3,500.00 per bjgha. this was the decision of mr. d.r. dhamija, adj. in the case of award no. 1672 another adj, mr. m. r. sikka made his own classification of land. he divided the entire acquired land of 2418 bighas and 11 bids was which was the subject matter of this award into two blocks - block 'a' and block 'b'. in block 'a' he adopted the following sub-division : 1. for land on the mettled road known as delhi-kanjhawala road- rs. 4,500.00 per bigha 2. for land on rasta - rs. 4,200.00 per bigha, 3. for land neither on road nor on rasta rs. 3,800.00 per bigha. in block 'b' he adopted this sub-division : 1. dug up land situated on rasta rs. 3,500.00.....
Judgment:

Avadh Behari Rohtagi, J.

(1) These are 7 appeals of owners from different judgments of Additional Distt. Judges. In all the common question is : What was market value of land in 1961 in revenue estate of Mangolpur Kalan 7. Question relates to the amount of compensation payable to the owners of the certain land situated in this village.

(2) The owner's land was acquired by the Government pursuant to two notifications dated October 24, 1961 and February 8, 1961, issued under s. 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (the Act). In due course the Land Acquisition Collector made five awards, namely, 1459, 1460, 1461, 1434 and 1672. In Awards 1459, 1460 and 1461 he awarded compensation at the rate of Rs. 1,500.00 per bigha. In Award No. 1434 he divided the acquired land in two blocks. Block 'A' consisted of land which had not been dug up. For this he awarded Rs. 1560.00 per bigha. Block 'B' consisted of land which had been dug up. He awarded Rs. 1,200.00 per bigha for this land. In respect of Award No. 1672. he divided the acquired land into three blocks. Block 'A' consisted of the land which was not categorised in block 'B' or block 'C' and for this he awarded Rs. 1,600.00 per bigha. Block 'B' consisted of fields from which earth had been dug up for making bricks. He awarded Rs. 1,300.00 for this block. Block 'C' consisted of gair mumkin land for which he made an award of Rs. 800.00 per bj

(3) The owners did not accept the collector's award. They were dissatisfied with bids valuation. On that ground they demanded that the matter should be referred to the court under s. 18 of the Act. On reference the Additional District Judge varied the award the collector. In respect of awards 1459, 1460, 1461 and 1434 compensation was raised to Rs. 3,000.00 per bigha in respect of land which was not on the rasta. For land on the rasta compensation was increased to Rs. 3,500.00 per bjgha. This was the decision of Mr. D.R. Dhamija, ADJ. In the case of Award No. 1672 another Adj, Mr. M. R. Sikka made his own classification of land. He divided the entire acquired land of 2418 bighas and 11 bids was which was the subject matter of this award into two blocks - block 'A' and block 'B'. In block 'A' he adopted the following sub-division : 1. For land on the mettled road known as Delhi-Kanjhawala Road- Rs. 4,500.00 per bigha 2. For land on rasta - Rs. 4,200.00 per bigha, 3. For land neither on road nor on rasta Rs. 3,800.00 per bigha. In block 'B' he adopted this sub-division : 1. Dug up land situated on rasta Rs. 3,500.00 per bigha, 2. Dug up land not situated on rasta Rs. 3,500.00 per bigha. The owners now appeal to this court for further enhancement.

(4) I will first take up the appeals which have been preferred from the orders of the Additional District Judge in references arising from Award No. 1672. These are R.F.A. Nos. 434/69, 378/69 and 493 of 1969. The orders in these three appeals were made by Mr. M.R. Sikka, ADJ. He adopted the division and sub-division I have described and increased the compensation in the manner indicated above. A number of judgments, sales and awards were tendered in evidence before him. It is not necessary to refer to all of them. The relevant evidence consisted of two transactions of sale and four judgments. The first is a sale deed dt. 30-12-58. This was a sale by Sahi Ram in favor of Karan Singh of 8 bids was of land in field No. 30/8 for Rs. 2,000.00. The rate works out to Rs. 5.00 per sq.

(5) The second sale is dt. 1-11-61. 10 bids was of land in field 26/8 was sold by Bhani Ram, Zile Singh and Attar Singh in favor of Joginder Singh for Rs. 3,500.00. The rate works out to Rs. 7.00 per sq. yard.

(6) Out of the four judgments which were relied upon two judgments related to this very village of Mangolpur where another Adj Mr. D.R. Dhamija in two cases of Sabha Chand v. Union of India, decided on 31-10-65 had raised the compensation from Rs. 1,500.00 to Rs. 3,500.00 per bigha, for lands situated on the rasta. The other two judgments related to a different revenue estate known as Seelampur Majra Madipur which is situated in close vicinity of Mangolpur Kalan. These were the judgments of Mr. F.S. Gilt. Adj (as he then was) in the case of Rattan Singh v. Union of India and Kundan Lal v. Union of India, both decided on 24 5 67. 6 b. Let me take the sales first. The two sale deeds are dt. 20-12-58 and 1-11-61. There can be no doubt about the genuineness of the sale deed dt. 20.12.58. It was made nearly 3 years prior to the notification dated October 24, 1961 under s. 4 of the Act. The price of a small plot of land in this village in 1958 was Rs. 5.00 per sq. yard. This is established by this sale. The other sale dt. 1.11.61 is a post- notification sale. It was made a few days after the publication of the notification of 24.10.61. The learned Additional District Judge doubted its genuineness for a number of reasons. He called it a 'manoeuvred' transaction. Possession of the land was not given by the vendors to the purchaser for about two years or so. The purchaser Joginder Singh who appeared in the witness box had stated that he had purchased it for dairy business was not believed because he never started dairy business in the land sold to him. In my opinion the judge was right in rejecting this sale because the possibility of inflating the price by this device cannot be ruled out.

(7) I now turn to the judgments. Mr. D.R. Dhamija, Additional District Judge in the two cases of Sabha Chand v. Union of India of this very revenue estate raised the compensation from Rs. 1,500.00 to Rs. 3,500.00 for the land in question before him. That land was situated on a rasta in the vicinity of the colonies. The (earned judge described (be situation of the land in these words : 'As regards the situation of the land in suit, there is the statement of Sabha Chand claimant that the Ordnance Depot Shakur- basti is at a distance of 125 yards from the acquired land. The distance of Multan Nagar Colony is about a furlong and a half. The colonies of Rani Bagh, Roop Nagar, Sat Nagar, Siri Nagar, Yadav Nagar. Pratap Nagar and Rishi Nagar which were all approved colonies were at a distance of 4 furlongs from the acquired land. The Delhi-Kanjhwala Road is about 3 furlongs away from the claiment's acquired land. A kacha rasta leads to his land from that road.' The learned judge examined the evidence and came to the conclusion that Rs. 3,500.00 was the proper compensation to award for the land on the rasta. For the land which was not situated on the rasta he awarded Rs. 3,000.00 per bigha in other cases.

(8) In the other two judgments relating to the revenue estate of Seelampur Majra Madipur the land was acquired pursuant to a notification dt. 24.10.61. The land of blocb 'A' in that village was assessed at the rate of Rs. 2,500.00 per bigha by the Land Acquisition Collector. This was raised to Rs. 3,000.00 per bigha by Mr. F.S. Gill, Additional District Judge. The estate of Seelampur is uery close to Mongolpur Kalan. But the land which was the subject of two decisions of Mr. Gill in the estate of Seelampur was rosli land. Rosli land is dependent on rain. These judgments, thereforee, establish that the market price of rosli land on the relevant date was Rs. 3,000.00 per bigha in the neighborhood.

(9) Now the acquired land under all the awards in this estate of Mongolpur Kalan is nehri land, that is, land irrigated by the tributaries of the Western Jamna Canal. That this land is nehri and is situated in a canal irrigated 'chak' is admitted by the Collector in the award. Both as regards the yield as well as the quality nehri land is far superior to rosli land. It is well supplied with water and is not dependent on the will of God. Now all elements of value that inhere in the property should be considered. And this quality which inheres iq the land is a true element of value,

(10) In the Delhi Land Reforms Rules 1951 framed under Delhi Land Reforms Act 1954 rule 1 shows that the nehri land is valued at 16 annas in a rupee per acre while barauni or rosli land is evaluated at 8 annas in a rupee per acre. This classification of the land has been made for the purpose of defining a standard acre. (See s, 3(20) of the Act). It appears that the land was first converted into money and then remeasured in terms of a new scale of measurement known as the 'standard arcre' invented by the Act. That the 'quantity of yield' and 'quality of soil' are the two marks of good agricultural land is clear from s. 3(2) of the Act. Judged by this standard there is unimpeachable evidence provided by the statute about the 'quality' and 'quantity' of this land. That both as regards its yield and soil nehri land is far superior to rosli cannot be contested.

(11) The rules clearly show that nehri land is just double in value as compared to rosli land. The Land Reforms Act recognises the valuable nature and the superior quality of the nehri land. This is a factor which much be kept in mind while deciding cases of compensation of this village Mangolpur where the land was all nehri as admitted by the collector.

(12) There is a positive finding by the judges that the acquired land is subject to the restrictions of the Land Reforms Act 1954 under which the land can be used only for agricultural purposes. It is also subject to other restrictions, for example, restrictions on alienation. thereforee, the land in dispute, covered as it is by the provisions of the Land Reforms Act, must principally be assessed as agricultural land. It has no potential as a building site for it cannot be used for purposes of building. No doubt the land is situated near Multan Nagar and Rani Bagh Colonies where the prices were increasing day by day. In Multan Nagar a transaction of re-sale of land in 1961 showed that the price of the developed land there was Rs. 27.00 per sq. yard. In Rani Bagh the price of the developed land on July 27, 1960 was found to be Rs. 12.50 per sq. yard. The sale deeds produced in evidence show this. But the land cannot be valued as a potential building site because it cannot be used for any other purpose except agricultural purpose.

(13) This consideration that the land of Award 1672 is of 'better quality' from agricultural point of view than the land of awards 1459. 1460, 1461 1434 influenced the decision of Ethe Additional District Judge Mr. M.R. Sikka. He relied upon the judgments of Seelampur Majra Madipur. He found that the value of the rosli land in that village had been fixed at Rs. 3,000.00 per bigha. He formed the view that the acquired land being much superior in quality the owners deserved to be awarded a higher compensation. He, thereforee, assessed the market value of the land in question at Rs. 3,800.00 per bigha. He summed up his conclusion in these words : 'In view of admittedly better quality of the land in dispute, the 'petitioners deserve to get compensation at a rate higher than Rs. 3,000.00 per bigha. They have, however, not brought on record any material to ascertain the degree of the superiority of the land in question to the land in Award No. 1459 and 1460. I have, thereforee, no alternative but to depend upon the opinion of the Land Acquisition Collector. Since he has assessed the market value of the land in dispute at Rs. 1,600.00 per bigha as against Rs. 1,500.00 per bigha relating to Award No. 1459 and 1460 it will be reasonable to allow proportionate increase to the petitioners over and above the rate of Rs. 3,500.00 per bigha fixed by the judgment (Ex. Al and A2). On this basis I a&sess; the market value of the land in dispute at Rs. 3,600.00 per bigha'. 'Since nehri land is more valuable than rosli land the value of the land in dispute at Rs. 3,800.00 per bigha will be commensurate- with the market value of the rosli land, that is, Rs. 3,000.00 per bigha situated in the adjoining village.' (Jai Bhagwan v. Union of India. L.A.C. 15/66 decided on September 27, 1968. (See R.F.A. 59 of 1969).

(14) Tnis, thereforee, appears to be the basis of Mr. Sikka's decision. He was prepared to allow some increment. But beyond Rs. 3,800.00 per bigha for the land which was not on the road or rasta he was not prepared to go.

(15) Mr. Sifcka's attention was obviously not drawn to the sale deed dt. 20.12.58. That sale shows the prevailing price in 1958 at Rs. 5.00 per sq. yard. If that was the price in 1958 it is difficult to accept the finding that the market price of nehri land situated on Delhi- Kanjhwala Road in this village in 1961 was Rs. 4,500.00 per bigha as determined by Mr. M.R. Sikka. The sale of December 20.12.58 was in respect of land situated on the main road. True it was a small piece of land. True a small piece of land fetches a higher price. But it has to be remembered that there was an interval of nearly three years between the sale of 20.12 58 and the notification of 24.10.61. It is common knowledge that prices during this period were increasing. The plots in the colonies were registering an upward trend in the prices. Sales in Multan Nagar and other colonies are clear evidence of a rising market The prices previling in the colonies cannot be accepted as a guide to the value of the agricultural land, this is true. But it cannot be denied as Mr. D.R. Dhamija has said in Sabha Chand's case, that 'proximity to a developed colony would result in some appreciation in the value of the land in neighborhood.'

(16) Neither Mr. Sikka nor Mr. Dhamija has given sufficient importance to the' superior value of the land. Mr. Dhamija in the two cases of Sabha Chand has not discussed this aspect. His judgment is founded on no ascertainable criteria. Mr. Sikka no doubt recognised the superior quality of the land but he thought that he had no scale of measurement with him to evaluate the 'better quality of the land', as he put it. Adopting the market value of Rs. 3,500.00 per bigha fixed by Mr. Dhamija in Sabba Chand's case as a rough and ready measure Mr. Sikka allowed an increase of Rs. 300.00 per bigha and determined the market value of land (neither on road nor rasta) at Rs. 3,800.00 per bigha. For land on rasta he fixed Rs. 4,200.00 per bigha. On the main Delhi-Kanjhawala Road he assessed the value of land at Rs. 4,500.00 per bigha. This was his decision,

(17) That nebri land is far superior to rosli land is a fact which has received statutory recognition in the Land Reforms Act and is, thereforee, beyond dispute. The market value of rosli land cannot, thereforee, be adopted for determining the value of the land in question which is canal irrigated or nehri land. It has to be evaluated much higher. The judges have not given due weight to this factor.

(18) It is the duty of the valuer to taice into consideration the intrinsic quality of the land and every instrinsic circumstance which tends to push the value up and down, just because it is relevant to the valuation and ought thereforee to be cast into the scales of the balance before he looks to see the resultant figure on the dial at which the pointer finally rests. (Per Scott L- J. in Robinson Brothers {Brewers) Ltd. v. Houghton and Chesterle Street Assessment Committee (1937) 2 K. B. 445 . This singular consideration of the intrinsic worth of the land enhances the value of the land by 100%. Rosli land is judicially evaluated at Rs. 3,000.00 per bigha. It is but reasonable and fair to assess the value of nehri land at Rs. 6,000.00 per bigha. The community has no right to enrich itself by deliberately taking away the property of any of its members in such circumstances, without providing adequate compensation for it. (See Union ofIndia v. Ram Mehar : [1973]2SCR720 This principle has been in force in India since Act I of 1894 (s. 23). There is equity behind the rule as the transfer of land is not voluntary but compulsory.

(19) Another fact which had not been noticed. is that in the adjoining village of Seelampur the collector had himself evaluated rosli land at Rs. 2,500.00 per bigha which on reference the judge raised to Rs. 3,000.00 per bigha. In Mongolpur Kalan the land is nehri. This is admitted on all hands. Here the collector valued the land only at Rs. 1,500.00 per bigha in the four awards and in the fifth award ('No. 1672) at Rs. 1,600.00 per bigha. The figure of Rs. 1,500.00 was increased to Rs. 3,000.00 and Rs. 3,500.00 per bigha in cases of awards 1459. 1460, 1461 and 1434. In the case of Award No. 1672 it was raised to Rs. 4,500.00 per bigha. This appears to me incongruous and in any case not consonant to the evidence adduced in the case.

(20) Now taking the awards Nos. 1459, 1460. 1461 and 1434 it has been seen that Mr. D. R. Dhamija fixed the value of land on rasta. The source of error in his value judgment is that he lost sight of the fact that the land in question was nehri. If rosli land was judicially valued at Rs. 3,000.00 per bigha for the same date i.e. October 24, 1961 in an adjoining village how absurdly incongruous is it to value superior land at the same price. Mr Dhamija's judgment was accepted by Mr. Sikka as a guide to the value of the land. He allowed a small increment over it. But if the guide is misleading one cannot hope to reach a correct conclusion.

(21) In my opinion the value of nehri land should be fixed at Rs. 6,000.00 per bigha. But counsel for Union of India says that the Land Reforms Rules are no guide to the market value of the land. I cannot agree. Rule I is a legislative judgment. It is a standard of value. Judicial conclusion can safely be rested on it. Suppose I am wrong and counsel is right. How then should I value the land in question Now it is established that land in 1958 in this village was Rs. 5.00 per sq. yard. Being on the main Delhi-Kanjhawala Road is a distinct advantage. It is safe to evaluate the land on the main road in 1961 at Rs. 6.00 per sq. yard, keeping the advantageous situation and the interval of time in mind. This is how I have balanced the competing considerations. And valuation is essentially a balancing process. On the question of market value opinions will always differ and no irrefutable reasons can possibly be given for any particular conclusion [ Nowroj Vs Govt. of Bombay ILR. 49. Bom

(22) The same is the value for the valution date of 5.8.61 as there is nothing to diffentiate between value on 24.10.61 and 8.2.61 on which dates the land was notified.

(23) As a result of the above I fix market value of land on Delhi-Kanjhawala Road at, Rs. 6,000.00 per bigha. Maintaining classification and sub-division of Mr. Sikka which he made in his judgment in Baldev Singh v. U O.I. in Award No. 972,1 fix the value as : Block 'A' 1. Land on Delhi-Kanjhawla Road Rs. 6,000.00 per bigha ; 2. Land on rasta Rs. 5,500.00 ; 3. Land neither on road nor on rasta Rs. 5,000.00 per bigha. Block 'B'. I. Land dug up but on rasta Rs. 3800.00 ; 2. Land dug up but not on rasta Rs. 4,700.00 per bigha.

(24) Awards S459, 1460, 1461, 1454 In these Mr. Dhamija observed the distinction of land being on rasta & land not on rasta. I maintain this. For land on rasta, I have fixed the value at Rs. 5500 per bigha in Award No. 1672. Same should be value in these awards. Where land is not on rasta, it should be Rs. 500.00 less, as was done by Mr. Dhamija. Land on rasta Rs. 5540; land not on vasta Rs. 5,000.00 per bigha. Now I take up appeals separately.

(25) Rfa 434/69. Appellant is allowed enhancement 1. For his land on the road (fields 28/21/2 ; 22, 18, 17,20/11,20/12)- Rs. 1,500.00 per bigha ; 2. For his land on rasta (fields 42/11. 42/21, 42/22)-Rs. 1300 per bigha ; 3. For land neither on road nor on rasta (the remaining land) Rs. 1200 per bigha, together with 15% solarium and 6% P.A. interest on enhanced compensation from date of dispossession to date of payment with proportionate costs. Appellant has 1/2 share and he will be entitled to compensation to the extent of his interest.

(26) R.F.A. 378/69. Appellant is allowed enhancement of compensation of Rs. 1700 per bigha in respect of his Khasra No. 46/20 & 46/21 together with 15% solarium and 6% P.A. interest on enhanced compensation from date of dispossession till date of payment & proportionate costs.

(27) R.F.A. 493/69. Appellant is allowed enhancement for 1. Fields 26/3, 26/4, 27/11, 27/12, 27/13, 28/15/3-Rs. 1,500.00 per bigha ; 2. Fields 56/7 Rs. 1,200.00 per bigha ; 3. Fields 26/2 Rs. 1,300.00 per bigha with 15% solarium and 6% P.A. interest on enhanced rate from date of dispossession to date of payment and proportionate costs

(28) Rfa 92. D/66, 86-D/66 154/69. Appellant is allowed enhancement of Rs. 2000/ per bigha with 15% solarium and 6% PA. interest from date of dispossession to date of payment & proportion costs.

(29) Rfa 156/69. Appellant is allowed enhancement of Rs. 1,500.00 per bigha with 15% solarium and 6% P.A. interest from date of dispossession to date of payment with proportionate costs.


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