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Gamansinghji Vs. N.V. Vaniker and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtGujarat High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSpecial Civil Appln. No. 1015 of 1962
Judge
Reported inAIR1968Guj242; (1968)0GLR486
ActsTenancy Law; ;Bombay Merged Territories and Areas (Jagirs Abolition) (Amendment) Act, 1953 - Sections 13, 14 and 15; ;Land Acquisition Act, 1894 - Sections 11(1) and 26; ;Constitution of India; Code of Civil Procedure (CPC), 1908; Bombay Maleki Tenure Abolition Act, 1949; Bombay Bhil Naik Inmas Abolition Act, 1955
AppellantGamansinghji
RespondentN.V. Vaniker and ors.
Appellant Advocate S.B. Vakil and; M.A. Syed, Advs.
Respondent Advocate K.H. Kaji, Actg. Adv. General and; K.L. Talsania, Addl. Govt. Pleader
Cases ReferredBharat Bank v. Employees of Bharat Bank
Excerpt:
civil - jurisdiction - section 11 (1) of land acquisition act, 1894 and sections 13 and 14 of bombay merged territories and areas (jagirs abolition) (amendment) act, 1953 - power of collector to pass award under sections 13 and 14 - section 11 (1) applicable to such proceedings - collector bound to seek governmental approval prior to passing of award. - - (1) the short but interesting question of law which arises in this petition is whether the collector is entitled to make an award under section 13 and 14 of the bombay merged territories and areas (jagirs abolition) act, 1953, (hereinafter referred to as the act) without the previous approval of the state government. on these contentions the petitioner sought to repel the applicability of the proviso the section 11 sub-section (1).....bhagwati, j.(1) the short but interesting question of law which arises in this petition is whether the collector is entitled to make an award under section 13 and 14 of the bombay merged territories and areas (jagirs abolition) act, 1953, (hereinafter referred to as the act) without the previous approval of the state government. the determination of the question depends upon the whether the proviso to section 11, sub-section (1) of the land acquisition act, 1894, applies to the making of an award under sections 13 and 14. the question is rather an important one and was ably debated before us by the learned advocates appearing on behalf of the parties. in order to appreciate the arguments which have been advanced before us, it is necessary to set out briefly the facts giving rise to the.....
Judgment:

Bhagwati, J.

(1) The short but interesting question of law which arises in this petition is whether the Collector is entitled to make an award under Section 13 and 14 of the Bombay Merged Territories and Areas (Jagirs Abolition) Act, 1953, (hereinafter referred to as the Act) without the previous approval of the State Government. The determination of the question depends upon the whether the proviso to Section 11, sub-section (1) of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, applies to the making of an award under Sections 13 and 14. The question is rather an important one and was ably debated before us by the learned advocates appearing on behalf of the parties. In order to appreciate the arguments which have been advanced before us, it is necessary to set out briefly the facts giving rise to the petition. The petitioners are the former Jagirdars of Virampur Jagir which was situate in Palanpur Taluka of Banaskantha District. The Jagir was admittedly a proprietary Jagir and it was so held by an order dated 17th November 1955 passed by the Jagir Abolition Officer under Section 2 (4) of the Act. Since the rights of the petitioners as Jagirdars in respect of the Jagir were extinguished by reason of the provisions of the Act, the petitioners were entitled to claim compensation from the Government under Section 11 of the Act. The petitioners accordingly made an application tot he Collector on 31st July 1956 under Section 13 sub-section (1) of the Act for determining the amount of compensation payable to the petitioners under Section 11 of the Act. The hearing of the application took place on several days commencing from 17th March 1960 and according to the petitioners, the hearing ended on 2nd June 1960 and thereafter all that remained to be done was the making of an award by the Collector under Section 13 sub-section (2). The petitioners alleged that a draft of the award was thereafter prepared by the Collector and submitted by him to the Government. The petitioners on coming to know that the Collector had submitted a draft of the award to the Government, carried on correspondence with the secretary, Revenue Department, which established beyond doubt that the papers of the case had been forwarded by the Collector to the Government. In or about the beginning of 1962, the petitioners learnt that the Forest Department had started re-enumeration of the trees situate in the Jagir in connection with the claim for compensation in respect of the trees made by the petitioners. The petitioners expressed their surprise that the work of re-enumeration should have been started by the Forest Department after the inquiry into the claim of the petitioners for compensation was concluded and nothing further remained to be done by the Collector except to make an award under Section 13 sub-section (2). But the petitioners were told that re-enumeration of the trees was started in pursuance of a further inquiry directed by the Government. The petitioners, therefore, preferred the present petition challenging the action of the Collector in proceeding to hold further inquiry by re-enumeration of the trees pursuant to the directions of the Government and seeking relief restraining the Collector from holding and/or completing the inquiry under or pursuant to any orders, directions or directives of the Government. The government in the affidavit filed by the Under Secretary, Revenue Department, in reply to the petition did not dispute that the further inquiry in the shape of re-enumeration of the trees in the Jagir was started by the Collector pursuant to the direction of the Government but the contention of the Government was that since the proviso to Section 11 sub-section (1) of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, applied to the making of an award under Section 13 or 14, the Collector was not entitled to make an award under Section 13 or 14 without the previous approval of the Government and the Government was, therefore, competent to direct that a further inquiry should be held by the Collector before it gave its approval to the award to be made by the Collector.

(2) The main question which, therefore, arises on the petition is whether the Collector is bound to obtain the previous approval of the Government before making an award under Section 13 or 14 of the Act. Now the requirement of the previous approval of the Government to the making of an award under Section 13 or 14 of the Act was sought to be imported by reference to the proviso to Section 11 sub-section (1) of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 and the argument of the State was that by reason of Section 15 of the Act, proviso to Section 11 sub-section (1) of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, was applicable to the making of an award under Section 13 or 14. Section 11 sub-section (1) of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 was in the following terms:-

'11. (1) On the day so fixed, or 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 apportionment of the said compensation among all the persons known or believed to be interested in the land, of whom, or of whose claims, he has information, whether or not they have respectively appeared before him:

Provided that no award shall be made by the Collector under this section without the previous approval of the state Government or of such superior officer as the State Government may authorise in this behalf.

xx xx xx xxand Section 15 of the Act on which reliance was placed on behalf of the state for attracting the applicability of the proviso to Section 11 sub-section (1) of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, provided as follows:-

'15. Provisions of Land Acquisition Act, 1894 applicable to Award:- Every award made under Section 13 or 14 shall be in the form prescribed in Section 26 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (I of 1894), and the provisions of the said Act shall, so far as may be, apply to the making of such award'. The proviso to Section 11 sub-section (1) of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, was merely and indubitably a provision in regard to the making of an award by the Collector under Section 11 sub-section (1) and this provision, it was submitted on behalf of the state, was by force of Section 15 of the Act, applicable to the making of an award under Section 13 or 14 of the Act. The petitioners agreed that it was no doubt true that by reason of Section 15 of the Act, the provisions of Land Acquisition Act, 1894, were made applicable to the making of an award under Section 13 or 14 of the Act, but their contention was that the provisions which were thus made applicable were not the provisions relating to the making of an award by the Court in a reference. The petitioners submitted that two different kinds of awards were contemplated by the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, one was an award by the Collector under Section 11 sub-section (1) and the other was an award by the Court in a reference and since an award under Section 13 or 14 of the Act was in its nature and characteristics more akin to an award of the Court in a reference than to an award of the Collector under Section 11 sub-section (1), the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, relating to the making of an award which were made applicable by Section 15 of the Act were the provisions relating to the making of an award by the Court in a reference and not the provisions relating to the making of an award by the Collector under Section 11 sub-section (1). The petitioners also relied on the first part of Section 15 of the Act and pointed out that just as this part of the Section had reference only to an award of the Court in a reference, the second part of the Section must also be held to refer only to an award of the Court in a reference. It was also urged on behalf of the petitioners that the proceeding before the Collector under Sections 13 and 14 of the Act were quasi-judicial proceedings and the award to be made in such proceedings was a quasi-judicial decision and the requirement of previous approval of the Government to the making of an award being inconsistent with a quasi-judicial proceeding or decision, the applicability of the proviso to Section 11 sub-section (1) of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, was excluded by the words 'so far as may be' in Section 15 of the Act. On these contentions the petitioner sought to repel the applicability of the proviso the Section 11 sub-section (1) of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894.

(3) The question arising on these rival contentions is clearly a question of construction and if we bear in mind the well recognised principles applicable in construction of statutes, it is not difficult to arrive at a correct determination of this question. Section 15 consists of two parts; the first part declares that every award made under Section 13 or 14 shall be in the form prescribed in section 26 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894. Section 26 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, is incorporated in Section 15 by reference and the legal effect is as if that Section were actually written in Section 15 and formed part of Section 15. Now when we turn to Section 26 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, we find that it prescribes the form of the award to be made by the Court in a reference and it says that every such award shall be in writing signed by the Judge, and shall specify the amount awarded under the first clause of Section 23 sub-section (1), and also the amounts (if any) respectively awarded under each of the other clauses of the same sub-section, together with the grounds of awarding each of said amounts. An award under Section 13 or 14 of the Act, must therefore, comply with this requirement of form set out in Section 26 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894. The second part of Section 15 then proceeds to state 'the provisions of the said Act' i.e., the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 shall 'so far as may be, apply to the making of such award'. I.e., an award under Section 13 or 14. The question is: what is the true meaning and effect of this provision. Now in order to arrive at the true meaning of any statutory provision, the primary rule and also the safest one is to construe the words used by the Legislature according to their plain natural sense and to give full effect to the words without attempting to add anything to them or to subtract anything from them. On a plain natural construction of the words used in Section 15, the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, which are made applicable to the making of an award under Section 13 or 14 are all the provisions which can on their language apply. There is no limitation or restriction placed on the generality of the words 'the provisions of the said Act'. Of course there is one limitation or restriction inherent in the nature of the provision itself namely, that only those provisions are made applicable which can on their language apply to the making of an award but barring this limitation or restriction, there is nothing else which in any way cuts down the width and amplitude of the words 'the provisions of the said Act'. We do not see why the words 'the provisions of the said Act' should be so read as to exclude Section 11 sub-section (1) together with its proviso. Section 11 sub-section (1) and its proviso relate to the making of an award by the Collector and they can be applied to the making of an award under section 13 or 14 without doing violence to their language. It is no doubt true that the words 'so far as may be' qualify the applicability of the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, but those words are introduced in Section 15 merely for the purpose of emphasising that the provisions of the Land acquisition Act, 1894, shall be applied to the making of an award under Section 13 or 14 to the extent to which, having regard to their language they can be made applicable. Section 11 sub-section (1) of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, and its proviso can, consistently with their language, be applied to the making of an award under Section 13 or 14 and the words 'so far as may be' do not in our opinion exclude the applicability of these provisions. The argument by which the petitioners sought to exclude the applicability of Section 11 sub-section (1) together with the proviso was that the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, which were made applicable by Section 15 were provisions relating to the making of an award by the Court in a reference and not provisions relating to the making of an award by the Collector and, therefore, Section 11 sub-section (1) and the proviso which related to the making of an award by the Collector were not applicable to the making of an award under Section 13 or 14. We do not see any justification for this argument. To accede to this argument would mean adding words in Section 15 which are not there. We would have to add some such words as 'relating to the making of an award by the Court in a reference' after the words 'the provisions of the said Act' in Section 15. These words are not there in the Section and it would not be right for us to cut down the generality of the expression 'the provisions of the said Act' by introducing these words. We must construe the words used by the Legislature as they stand and so read, they clearly and indubitably refer to all provisions of the Act which can according to their language apply to the making of an award under Section 13 or 14 and since Section 11 sub-section (1) and the proviso are such provisions, they must be held to apply to the making of an award under Section 13 or 14.

(4) It is no doubt true that the proceeding before the Collector under Section 11 sub-section (1) is not a quasi-judicial proceeding and the award made by the Collector under Section 11 sub-section (1) is also not a quasi-judicial decision but only an offer made on behalf of the Government which the owner of the land may accept or refuse while the proceeding under Section 13 or 14 is a quasi-judicial proceeding and the award under Section 13 or 14 is a quasi-judicial decision and the nature of the proceeding and the award in the two cases, is, therefore, fundamentally different, but that cannot in our view be a valid consideration for rejecting the applicability of Section 11 sub-section (1) together with the proviso, if on a true construction of the language of Section 15, we find that these provisions are applicable to the making of an award under Section 13 or 14. The proceedings and the award under Secs. 13 and 14 are certainly more akin to the proceedings and the award of the Court in a reference that to the proceedings and the award of the Collector under Section 11 sub-section (1), but that again can be no ground for limiting the applicability of the words 'the provisions of the said Act' in Section 15 to the provisions relating to the making of an award in a reference and excluding the provisions relating to the making of an award by the Collector under Section 11 sub-section (1) when no such words are used by the Legislature. The determination of the question must depend upon the construction of the language of Section 15 and not upon what may appear to us to have been a reasonable provision to make. We cannot speculate as to the intention of the Legislature on the basis of what we might consider to be reasonable and then try to interpret the language of the Section so as to effectuate such intention. The intention of the Legislature must be gathered from the language used and if the language is susceptible of the one and only one meaning, there is no reason why that meaning should not be given effect to and a narrow and limited interpretation placed by adding words in the Section so as to carry out some supposed intention of the Legislature.

(5) The first par of Section 15 incorporates the requirement of form prescribed in Section 26 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, and that is certainly the form prescribed but it would not be right to conclude from this provision that the second part of the Section also is intended to incorporate the requirement prescribed by the provisions of the Act for the award of the Court in a reference. What the first part of Section 15 does is merely to incorporate Section 26 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, by reference and as pointed out by us above, the legal effect is as if that Section had been written in Section 15 and enacted as part of Section 15. The first part of Section 15, therefore, prescribes the form of an award under Section 13 or 14 and instead of setting out in so many words what that form shall be, it refers to Section 26 and says that the form shall be that prescribed in Section 26 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894. The form of the award under Section 13 or 14 having been prescribed in the first part of the Section, the second part makes a further provision in regard to the making of such award and declares that 'the provisions of the said Act shall, so far as may be, apply to the making of such award'. There is no reason or justification for reading the words 'the provisions of the said Act' in a limitative or constricted manner merely because the form prescribed for the award under Section 13 or 14 is that of an award of the Court in a reference. This contention of the petitioners must, therefore, be rejected.

(6) It is also not possible to accept the contention of the petitioner that having regard to the nature of the proceeding under Section 13 or 14, Section 11 sub-section (1) and the proviso must be held inapplicable to the making of an award under Section 13 or 14. The requirement of the previous approval of the Government prescribed by the proviso to Section 11 sub-section (1) is in our view not inconsistent with the proceeding before the Collector under Section 13 or 14 being a quasi-judicial decision. No authority is necessary for this proposition but if any were needed, it is to be found in Rex v. Electricity commissioners, (1924) 1 KB 171. We may usefully quote the following passage from the judgment in that case:--

'It is necessary, however, to deal with what I think was the main objection of the Attorney-general. In this case he said the Commissioners come to no decision at all. They act merely as advisers. They recommend an order embodying a scheme to the Minister of Transport, who may confirm it with or without modifications. Similarly the Minister of Transport comes to no decision. He submits the order to the Houses of Parliament, who may approve it with or without modifications. The Houses of Parliament may put anything into the order they please, whether consistent with the Act of 1919, or not. Until they have approved, nothing is decided, and in truth the whole procedure, draft scheme, inquiry, order, confirmation, approval, is only part of a process by which parliament is expressing its will, and at no stage is subject to any control by the Courts. It is unnecessary to emphasize the constitutional importance of this contention. In the provision that the final decision of the Commissioners is not to be operative until it has been approved by the two Houses of Parliament I find nothing inconsistent with the view that in arriving at that decision and within those limits. It is to be noted that it is the order of the Commissioners that eventually takes effect; neither the Minister of Transport who confirms, nor the Houses of Parliament who approve, can, under the statute, make an order which, in respect of the matters in question, has any operation. I know of no authority which compels be to hold that a proceeding cannot be a judicial proceeding subject to prohibition or certiorari because it is subject to confirmation or approval, even where the approval has to be that of the Houses of Parliament. The authorities are to the contrary.'

This passage was quoted with approval by the Supreme Court in Bharat Bank v. Employees of Bharat Bank, AIR 1950 SC 188, vide paragraph 10 in the judgment of Fazl Ali J. and paragraph 29 in the judgment of Mahajan J. The inquiry under Section 13 or 14 is to be held by the Collector and the award under Section 13 or 14 is also to be that of the Collector and in holding the inquiry and making the award the Collector is under a duty to Act judicially; but that is not inconsistent with the applicability of Section 11, sub-section (1), proviso, for all that the proviso requires is that before making the award, the Collector must obtain the previous approval of the State Government. Where a draft award is submitted by the Collector to the State Government for its approval, the State Government may take the view that a particular line of inquiry has not been followed or that a particular aspect has not been considered and the State Government may on that ground refuse to accord its approval to the award and direct the Collector to follow that particular line of inquiry or to consider that particular aspect. The Collector, while doing so, would of course have to act judicially and after following that line of inquiry or considering that aspect, he would have to come to his own decision, again acting judicially and he would then have to obtain the approval of the State Government and then make his award. The award contemplated by Sections 13 and 14 being the award of the Collector and the only right of the State Government being the right to give previous approval to the making of the award, the State Government cannot direct the Collector to follow a particular process of reasoning in decision-making or to arrive at a particular decision. The decision must be of the Collector without any interference by the State Government in the making of the decision. We do not, therefore, see any reason why the requirement of previous approval of the Government cannot be incorporated so as to apply to the making of the award under Section 13 or 14.

(7) As a matter of fact, the scheme of the various Land Tenure Abolition Acts passed by the Legislature from time to time shows that the Legislature did not regard the requirement of previous approval of the Government as something inconsistent with the holding of a quasi-judicial inquiry for the purpose of determining the amount of compensation payable to the persons whose rights were extinguished by one or the other of the Land Tenures Abolition Acts and the legislative intent was that the award determining the amount of compensation payable to such persons should have the previous approval of the State Government or some superior officer of the State Government. The Land Tenure Abolition Acts are divisible broadly into two categories from this point of view. The first category consists of the Bombay Talukdari Tenure Abolition Act, 1949, the Bombay Merged Territories (Baroda Mulgiras) Tenure Abolition Act, 1953 and the Bombay Merged Territories Miscellaneous Alienation Abolition Act, 1955. In all these Land Tenure Abolition Acts, we find a provision similar to Section 15 of the Act making the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, applicable so far as may be the making of an award under the said Acts. The second category consists of the remaining Land Tenure Abolition Acts and since they are many, we will mention only a few of them, namely, the Bombay Maleki Merged Territories (Ankadia Tenure Abolition) Act, 1953, the Bombay Merged Territories Matadari Tenure Abolition Act, 1953 and the Bombay Bhil Naik Inams Abolition Act, 1955. These Acts originally did not prescribe the form of the award by reference to Section 26 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, nor did they make the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, applicable, so far as may be, to the making of an award under these Acts. But by the Bombay Land Tenure Abolition (Amendment) Act, 1958, all these Land Tenure Abolition Acts were amended and a section was introduced in each of these Land Tenure Abolition Acts requiring the previous approval of the Collector, the Commissioner or the State Government depending on the amount awarded, before an award could be made by the Collector and providing that the award shall be in the form prescribed in Section 26 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894. No provision was, however, introduced making the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, applicable to the making of an award under any of these Land Tenure Abolition Acts. Two points become immediately noticeable on a consideration of the Land Tenure Abolition Acts comprised in this second category. The first point is that even though the inquiry for determination of the compensation payable to the claimant under each of the Land Tenure Abolition Acts comprised in the second category would be a quasi-judicial inquiry and the award a quasi-judicial determination, the Legislature introduced the requirement of previous approval of the Collector, the Commissioner or the State Government according as the amount awarded exceeded or did not exceed a particular figure. The Legislature did not regard the requirement of previous approval of the Collector, the Commissioner or the State Government as a provision inconsistent with the holding of a quasi-judicial inquiry or the making of a quasi-judicial determination. The requirement of previous approval of the Government to the making of an award under Section 13 or 14 of the Act cannot, therefore, be regarded as something so extraordinary or unusual in relation to a quasi-judicial inquiry and a quasi-judicial determination that we should refuse to read the language of Section 15 of the Act according to its plain natural sense and violating all canons of construction, construe it in a manner which would exclude the applicability of this provision to the making of an award under Section 13 or 14 of the Act. The second point which may be noticed is - and this is rather an important point - that, where the Legislature expressly provided for previous approval of the Collector, the Commissioner or the State Government by the amendments made in the Land Tenure Abolition Acts comprised in the second category, the Legislature merely introduced a provision corresponding to the first part of Section 15 and did not introduce any provision corresponding to the second part of Section 15. But where no explicit provision for the previous approval of the State Government was made, as we find in the case of the Land Tenure Abolition Acts, comprised in the first category, the Legislature introduced a provision corresponding to Section 15 of the Act in both its parts. The inference which can reasonably be drawn from this circumstance its that according to the Legislature the second part of Section 15 introduced the requirement of the previous approval of the State Government to the making of an award and, therefore, where the Legislature made a specific provision for previous approval of the Collector, the Commissioner or the State Government in the Land Tenure Abolition Acts comprised in the second category, it was unnecessary to introduce a provision corresponding to the second part of Section 15 of the Act and that was the reason why the Legislature did not make any such provision in those Land Tenure Abolition Acts. This circumstances considerably fortifies us in the view we are inclined to take on a plain natural construction of the language of Section 15 of the Act. The principle of Parliamentary exposition of a statute is now a well-recognized principle of construction and where the meaning of an earlier statute is doubtful, the meaning put upon that statute by the Legislature in the subsequent enactment can certainly be looked at for the purpose of arriving at the correct meaning of that statute. If we call in aid this principle of construction, then also we come to the same conclusion, namely, that no award under S. 13 or 14 can be made by the Collector without obtaining the previous approval of the State Government as required under the proviso to Section 11, sub-section (1) of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, made applicable by reason of Section 15 of the Act.

(8) The Collector in the present case was, therefore, bound to send a draft of the award to the State Government for its approval and he did not act contrary to his obligations under the Act in doing so. If the State Government on a consideration of the case felt that a particular line of inquiry had not been followed by the Collector or that a particular aspect had not been considered by him, the State Government was entitled to give a direction to the Collector to follow that particular line of inquiry or to consider that particular aspect. The State Government in the present case merely gave a direction to the Collector to hold an inquiry for the purpose of re-enumeration of the trees situate in the Jagir and this was not beyond the powers of the State Government. The Collector was, therefore, justified in reopening the inquiry and proceeding with the re-enumeration of the trees in the Jagir. The Collector would of course have to hold the inquiry in a quasi-judicial manner and arrive at his own decision quasi-judicially without being influenced by the Government. We have no doubt that the Collector will do so.

(9) The result, therefore, is that the petition fails and the rule is discharged with costs.

(10) Petition dismissed.


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