1. This revision application b against the order made by the Special Land Acquisition Officer on August 1, 1977 rejecting reference sought by the petitioner herein against the award of the Special Land Acquisition Officer dated Feb. 27, 1976 awarding compensation to her along with 16 other owners of land known as 'Bet Bhatha land' of S, Nos. 33/part, 32/part and 130/part situate in village Maktampore in Broach district, for purposes of construction of bridge across Narmada river near Jhadeshwar. It should be noted that the possession of the aforesaid three Pieces of land of the petitioner was taken over on June 15.
1973 by the Public Works Department of the State Government in pursuance Of private negotiations with, her in anticipation of the regular acquisition Proceedings. Notifications under Ss. 4 and 6 of the Land Acquisition Act in that behalf were issued on Dec. 20, l973 and Aug. 22, 1974, respectively. Notice to file compensation claim was issued on Sept. 3, 1974. It is common ground that the petitioner was served with the aforesaid notice under 5 9 and she had filed her statement of claim in respect of the three pieces of land in pursuance thereof. The Special Land Acquisition. Officer concerned made an award on Feb. 27, 1976 awarding compensation, inter alia, to the petitioner for the aforesaid three Pieces of land in the sum of Rs. 11,040/-. The Petitioner, being, arrived with the offer made by the Special Land Acquisition Officer, had sought reference under S. 18(T) of the Land Acquisition Act by her application of April 7, 1977 which was rejected by the Special Land Acquisition Officer by his aforesaid order of Aug. 1, 1977, because, according to him, she was not entitled to seek reference as the three pieces of land in question were forfeited to the Government by an earlier order of Aug. 14, IM for non-payment of the third installment of the occupancy price. This order of the Special Land Acquisition Officer of Aug. 1, 1-977 is the subject matter of this revision before me, which has been preferred under S. 18(3) of the Land Acquisitions Act, as amended by the State of Gujarat.
2. I am of the opinion that this revision must clearly succeed obviously for the following reasons:
The Special Land Acquisition Officer has acted in excess of jurisdiction, inasmuch as he rejected the reference application of the petitioner on some extraneous grounds to the effect that the petitioner has ceased to be interested in the land since it was forfeited for nonpayment of occupancy price. A few relevant sections of the Land Acquisition, Act should be referred to for purposes of understanding the challenge made in this revision application.
3. Section 11 of the land Acquisition Act provides for enquiry and award by Collector. Sub-section (I) of S. 11 enjoins the Collector to inquire into the objections on the day so fixed for that' purpose which any Interested person has filed pursuant to the notice under S. 9 to the measurements made under S. 8 and into the value of the land on the date of the notification under S. 4, and also to Inquire about the respective interest of the persons claiming compensation. The Collector would be making 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
(III) the an of the said compensation am all the parsons known or believed to be interested in the land. Of whom, or of whose claims, he has information, whether or not they have respective a aired before him.
Section 12 prescribes time when the award of the Collector is to assume finality Sub-section (1) of & 1% as U Is material f6r purposes of this revision, reads as under.
Such award shall be Med in the Collector's office and shall, except as hereinafter provided, be final and conclusive evidence, as between the Collector and the persons interested, whether they have respectively appeared Wore the Collector or not, of the true area and value of the limit and the apportionment of the compensation among the persons interested'
S. 12-A, which has been brought on the statute book by the Bombay Amendment Act 1953 (35 of 1953) provides for the amendment of award either suo motu by the Collector or on the application of the person interested. Sub section (1) of & 12-A reads as under:
'(1) Any clerical or arithmetical to take In an award or errors arising there-from, accidental slips or omissions may, at any time not later than six months from the date of the award, be corrected by the Collector either on his own motion or on the application of a person interested and the award so corrected shall be deemed to have- been amended accordingly.'
Sub-section (2) of S. 12-A provides for. Recovery of the overpayment made, if the amendment of the award so indicates. It is, surefire, clear that till the award is amended under S, 12-A. the award to mains final between the Collector and the persons interested, inter alia, about the true area and the value of the land and the apportionment of compensati0n amongst the persons interested, if there is any. On plain reading of S. 12-A, this power of amendment is available for limited purpose, namely, for correction ad award arising as a result of clerical or arithmetical mistake, or errors arising from accidental slips or omissions. Again, the power is to be exercised within a period of six months from the date of the award. In other words, the net effect of the combined reading of Ss. 11, 11-A and 12-A is that till the award is amended, it will operate as final and binding between the Collector and the persons interested, inter alia, as to the true area of the land, the value of the land and the apportionment of compensation amongst the persons interested.
4. In the long affidavit in reply filed on behalf of the Government, it has nowhere been claimed that this award in question made on Feb. 27, 1976 by the Special Land Acquisition Officer was amended, if at all it could- have been amended, within the prescribed period of limitation under S. 12-A of the Land Acquisition Act. If the award is not amended, as it does not seem to be, and since no reference is made to this Important fact in the affidavit-in-reply, nor has it been referred to or stated in the impugned order of Aug. 1, 1977, the Special Land Acquisition Officer has no power or authority to reject the reference application on the ground that the land was forfeited for the alleged breach of the condition of payment of the occupancy Prim
5. The learned Assistant Government Pleader invited my attention to the decision of Bombay High Court in Mahadeo Krishna Parkar v., Mamlatdar of Alibag, AIR 1944 Bom 200 that the Court to which a reference has been made has always a power to determine, whether It has Jurisdiction to hear the reference made to it by investigation as to whether the statutory conditions required for making a valid reference have been complied with or not. The learned Assistant Government Pleader wanted me, therefore, to consider that if as a result of the subsequent event taking place the land in question has been forfeited and the petitioner who claims herself to be the person interested in the land had ceased to have any interest in it, this Court can certain1v look into it and see whether these statutory conditions are satisfied for making a reference. as was sought by the Petitioner. I have not been able to appreciate how, in the But place, the decision of the Bombay High Court can be, of any assistance to the cause of the learned Assistant Government Pleader, because, it is for the Court to which the reference is made under S. 19 of the Land Acquisition Act, which has to determine whether it has jurisdiction in the matter do not. I am not called upon to exercise, that Power of the Court since I am not a Court of reference but I am hearing this revision application under S. U5 of The Civil P., C. against an order refusing to make the reference under S. 18(1) read with S. 18(3) of the Land Acquisition Act. There is also another reason for rejecting this contention of the learned Assistant Government Pleader that the award made under S. 11 of the Land Acquisition At continues to be final and Binding between the Government and the person's interested tin it is amended under S. 12-A for the limited reasons and on the grounds specified therein. It is to be recalled that it is nobody's case that the award in question was amended. If the award in question was not amended, it would continue to be final and binding to the parties and I cannot consider the alleged subsequent event that is said to have taken place. The Event on which reliance has been placed by the Special Land Acquisition officer is the forfeiture of the land in question to the Government and cesser of interest of the Petitioner therein for her failure in payment of the occupancy price. If this is the event, which has taken place, the Special Land Acquisition Officer should Have amended the award, if it was permissible for him to do so within the period of limitation prescribed under S. 12-A. If the amendment is not made as required by the Act, the award in question, where the petitioner is admittedly shown as a person interested in the three pieces of land and therefore entitled to compensation as awarded therein, I do not think that the Special Land Acquisition Officer can go behind the Award, consider certain subsequent events which are alleged to have taken place, and read the award as if it was amended without effecting the amendment as prescribed by law. To the extent to which he has done this, he has not only exceeded the Jurisdiction but also failed to exercise his jurisdiction, which is vested in him to make reference which is required by law.
6. The result is that this revision application is allowed and the impugned, order of the Special Land Acquisition Officer of Aug. 1. 1977 is set aside, and the matter should go back to the Special Land Acquisition Officer with the direction that he must make a reference under S. 18(1) to the Court of competent Jurisdiction with in two weeks from the date of receipt of the writ by him The Government shall pay costs to the Petitioner. Rule is made absolute accordingly.
7. Application allowed.