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Land Acquisition Collector Vs. Gajpal Singh - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberLetter Patent Appeal Nos. 129 and 136 of 1972
Judge
Reported in1980RLR634
ActsLand Acquisition Act - Sections 3
AppellantLand Acquisition Collector
RespondentGajpal Singh
Advocates: U.L. Watwani, Adv
Cases Referred(Sse Dr. G.H. Grant v. The State of Bihar.
Excerpt:
property - compensation - section 11 of land acquisition act - award of collector challenged on ground that no compensation awarded - duty of apportionment cast upon collector by statute cannot be left unperformed - provision is mandatory - collector cannot refuse to apportion compensation - statutory duty cast by section 11 not performed - award liable to be set aside. - - the compensation of all such cases referred to above shall be paid to the persons concerned if they come to any amicable settlement and in case of their failure the matter shall be referred to the addl. for this purpose he has to be satisfied from the title deeds'etc. if they agree, well and good. if they do not agree, he will try to apportion to the best of his judgment on the materials before him, leaving it to..........to compensation of the land acquired by the government, (3) in due course the collector made the award (award no. 2058). he left the question of apportionment of compensation open. he said this : 8. 'apportionment. the owners and other interested persons shall be paid compensation according to the latest entries in the revenue record of the land now under acquisition, the names of the persons who have newly constructed houses over most of the areas now under acquisition do not stand in the revenue record. the compensation of all such kh. nos, which are now under houses and stand in hie revenue record in the names other than those who have filed claims regarding those khaara nos. shall be kept under dispute. similarly the compensation of all these khasra nos.- the compensation of which.....
Judgment:

Avadh Behari, J.

(1) The Collector must determine this. It is his mandatory duty to do so and he must mention this in the award. He cannot leave matters to a future determination.

(2) Land in Village Jafrabad was acquired by Govt. for planned development of Delhi by notification dt/ 13.11.59 issued u/s 4 of Land Acquisition Act Notification u/s 6 was issued on 7/1th July, 66. In 1967 notices were issued to Respondents u/s 9 calling upon them to appear before Land Acquisition Collector. Respondents filed their claims before the Collector, but none of the owners of the land from whom the respondents had purchased the same for constructing houses filed any claims. The respondent claimed to be owners of certain areas of land situated in Khasra No. 87 on which they had constructed houses and of which they were paying house tax to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi. They claimed that they were entitled to compensation of the land acquired by the Government,

(3) In due course the Collector made the award (Award No. 2058). He left the question of apportionment of compensation open. He said this : 8. 'Apportionment. The owners and other interested persons shall be paid compensation according to the latest entries in the revenue record of the land now under acquisition, The names of the persons who have newly constructed houses over most of the areas now under acquisition do not stand in the revenue record. The compensation of all such Kh. Nos, which are now under houses and stand in Hie revenue record in the names other than those who have filed claims regarding those Khaara Nos. shall be kept under dispute. Similarly the compensation of all these khasra Nos.- the compensation of which has been claimed by persons other than those recorded in the revenue record, shall also be kept under dispute. The compensation of all such cases referred to above shall be paid to the persons concerned if they come to any amicable settlement and in case of their failure the matter shall be referred to the addl. District Judge for adjudication. Moreover the 'compensation of the area which is now under houses and for which the transfer of possession has been stayed under the orders of High Court shall be paid to the rightful persons only after the vacation of stay orders.'

(4) The respondents brought a writ petition challenging the Collector's award on the ground that no compensation had been awarded to them or to any body else and hence the award was invalid. They prayed that the award be quashed on the ground that it did not decide all the necessary questions required to be determined by the Collector under the Act. The learned single judge accepted this contention. He quashed the award of the Collector in so far as it related to the respondents. He issued a writ of mandamus directing the Collector to make an apportionment of the compensation between the respondents and other persons who may be interested in the land. From his decision the appellants, the Land Acquisition Collector and the Lt. Governor, have brought these appeals.

(5) The real question in these appeals is whether the Collectar was entitled to make an award without making any apportionment of compensation among the persons interesed and whether he could leave this for supplementary proceedings. Section 11 of the Act reads:

'11.On the day so fixed, or on any other day to which the enquiry has been adjourned, the Collector shall proceed to enquire into the objections (if any) which any person interested has stated pursuant to a notice given under section 9 to the measurements made under section 8, and into the value of the land at the date of the publication of the notification under section 4, sub-section (1) and into the respective interests of the persons claiming the compensation, and shall make an award under his hand of- (i) the true area of the land: (ii) the compensation which in his opinion should be allowed for the land; and (iii) the apportinment of the said compensation among all the persons known or belived to be interested in the land, of whom, or of whose claims, he has information, whether or not they have respectively appeared before him.'

(6) The third duty on the Collector under section 11 is the duty to apportion the compensation according to 'the respective interest of the persons claiming the compensation', to use the words of the Act. This is an essential duty since under section 16 of the Act the land has to vest in the Government after acquisition free from all encumberanccs This cannot happen unless all the interests on the land are ascertained and compensation js appropriately distributed amongest them all. Private rights should all cease on acquisition : (See Municipal Comissioner v. Damodar Brothers, 2nd 45 Bom 725). The compensation determined by the Collector has to be apportioned and distributed amongast the various persons interested.

(7) The Collector's enquiry comprises the determination of what persons are entitled to compensation or any portion of it. For this purpose he has to be satisfied from the title deeds'etc. to be filed by the parties, that they own the title they claim and for this purpose he is given the power to enforce attendance of witnesses and production of documents, (See section 14). Where there are several persons interested whether as co-owners, mortgagees, lessees, tenants or sub-tenants, easement possessors, beneficiaries and so forth, he has to examine their respective claims and determine how the total amount is to be apportioned amongst them. If they agree, well and good. If they do not agree, he will try to apportion to the best of his judgment on the materials before him, leaving it to the disputants either to settle amongst themselves (see s. 29) or to take the matter to court by reference under section 18 or himself refer it under, section 30. Section 11(3) says that apportionment of compensation is to be made among all the persons known or believed to be interested in the land. The term 'person interested' is denned in Section 3(b) as under: 'the expression 'person interested' includes all persons claiming an interest in compensation to be made on account of the acquisition of land under this Act ; and a person shall be deemed to be interested in land if he is interested in an easement affecting the land;'.

(8) The definition of 'person interested' is an inclusive definition and must be liberally construed so as to embrace all persons who may be directly or indirectly interested either in the title to the land or in the quantum of compensation. It is not necessary that in order to fall within the definition a person should claim an interest in land which has been acquired. A person becomes a person interested if he claims an interest in compensation to be awarded. As long as a person claims an interest in the compensation he is a person intested within the meaning of that expression. (See the latest decision of the Supreme Court in this : Himalya Tiles and Marbles (P) Ltd. v. F.V. Countinbo Air 1880 SC. 1118

(9) It seems to us that the respondents were persons interested within Section 3(b) of the Act because they claimed an interest in the compensation and it was the duty of the Collector to see whether any or all of them were entitfed to compensation and in what proportion. Apportionment means distribution of compensation amongst the claimants in proportion to the value of their interest. It is in essence a rateable distribution amongst the claimants or between them.

(10) The Collector cannot omit from his award the name of any person who has made a claim for he is a person interested within the meaning of. section 3(b), although the Collector finds him not entitled to any compensation and would award nil for him, unless such person withdraws his claim. Similarly he cannot omit persons who are known or believed by him to be interested but who do not put forward any claim and do not appear before him. This is clear from the section which says that apportionment has to be made amongst all persons known or believed to be interested in the land, of whom, or of whose claims, he has information, 'whether or not they have appeared before him,'

(11) The enquiry by the Collector into the interests of the various persons interested in the land must necessarily be made before giving the final award. Any such adjudication after the award is without jurisdiction. (See Bago v Roshan Beg, Air 1926, Lahore. 321). When the officer does not carry out the duties laid down under section 11 the High Court can interfere under Article 226 of the Constitution (See Ganesh Navak v, L.A. Collector 65, Cal. Weekly Notes 908).

(12) thereforee, the Collector's duty is to apportion the total sum awarded as compensation amongst the various persons who may be interested in the land whether or not they have appeared before him, If the Collector does not decide the question of apportionment and leaves it in the 'air', as he has done in the present case, the respondents will not get any compensation. Nor will anybody else get it. This. will reatiy amount to expropriating the owners of the land without any compensation. Sections 11 and 12 cast a statutory duty on the Land Acquisition Collector to make an enquiry into the valuation of the land and into respective interests of the persons claiming compensation and then to make an award in respect of ail the matters specified in section 11.

(13) The duty of apportionment cast upon the Collector by the statute cannot be left unperformed. The provision is mandatory, The Collecto cannot refuse to apportion the compensation. It is true that his decision on apportionment is not final. The dispute can be taken to court either in a reference under section 18 or under section 30 or by way of separate suit (Sse Dr. G.H. Grant v. The State of Bihar. : [1965]3SCR576 ). .

(14) In these cases the Land Acquisition Collector has failed to decide the question of apportionment. He has left it 'in the air', as the learned judge put it. The Collector should have considered the rights of the parties who were actually present before him. That is the respondents'main grievence. He should have ascertained whether the respondents were the owners or whether the persons whose names were entered in the revenue record continued to be the owners or had some interest in the land. He should have distributed the compensation in the way he thought proper on the matterial placed before him. It was not in his power to ask the parties to come to an ''amicable settlement' outside court or to leave the whole question to be settled in future at his own discretion. 'To say that compensation shall be paid to the persons concerned if they come to any amicable settlement and in case of their failure the matter shall be referred to the additional district judge for adjudication', does not amount to making an award of apportionment of compensation. This tantamounts to deciding nothing and leaving everything to a future day. We agree with the learned single judge that the Collector has failed to perform the statutory duty cast upon him by section 11 and that &uch; an award as he has made is no award in the eye of law. Appeals dismissed.


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