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Thakore Omkarsinhji Ranjitsinhji Vs. State of Gujarat - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtGujarat High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1978)19GLR304
AppellantThakore Omkarsinhji Ranjitsinhji
RespondentState of Gujarat
Excerpt:
.....at the bottom of the scheme of compensation. the kaldhara pool owed its origin to the design of the great artist, call him god if you like, or 'nature' if you prefer to do so. be that as it may, since there is no other provision in the act which confers a right to claim compensation in respect of a natural water pool like the kaldhara pool and since there is no other section under which compensation can be claimed and as there is no provision in the act which prescribes the manner in which compensation in respect of the loss of such a right is to be determined, the submission urged on behalf of the petitioner cannot be accepted......pool owed its origin to the design of the great artist, call him god if you like, or 'nature' if you prefer to do so. the land-holder only exploited the society by selling the water collected in this pool which collected by the will and design of the almighty as a gift of nature for which the petitioner could neither claim credit nor compensation. be that as it may, since there is no other provision in the act which confers a right to claim compensation in respect of a natural water pool like the kaldhara pool and since there is no other section under which compensation can be claimed and as there is no provision in the act which prescribes the manner in which compensation in respect of the loss of such a right is to be determined, the submission urged on behalf of the petitioner.....
Judgment:

M.P. Thakkar, J.

1. Can a Wanta holder whose Wanta rights in land are abolished by the Legislature claim compensation for the loss of opportunity to sell water from a natural pool formed by the perennial flow of waters of a river which was a Nature's gift and for the creation of which pool of water he did not have either to sweat or toil or to pay any price? The view taken by the Gujarat Revenue Tribunal (G.R.T.) that the petitioner, a Talukdari Wanta holder of lands whose rights in the lands and the tenure on which the lands were held were abolished under the Gujarat Surviving Alienations Abolition Act, 1963 (Act), was not entitled to claim compensation in respect of extinguishment of his rights in respect of a pool of water created by the perennial flow of waters of river Mahi under Section 14 of the Act is challenged by way of this petition under Article 227 of the Constitution of India directed against order at Annexure 'B' dated August 30, 1972 rendered by the G.R.T.

2. The petitioner was a Wanta holder in respect of Sonipur situated in Thasra Taluka of Kaira District. He held certain lands on a tenure known as Wanta tenure. The tenure was abolished as per the Act which came into force on October 1, 1963. The rights of the petitioner in respect of the lands held by him on the aforesaid tenure were extinguished as per Section II which reads as under:

11. All public roads, lands and paths, the bridges, ditches, dikes and fences, on or beside the same, beds of creeks below high water mark, and beds of rivers, streams and nallas, lakes, wells, tanks canals and water courses, and all standing and flowing water, and all unbuilt village site lands, all forest lands, all pasture lands, all waste lands and all uncultivated lands excluding lands used for building or other non-agricultural purposes and all mines whether being worked or not and minerals, whether discovered or not and all quarries, which are situate within the limits of any alienated land shall, except in so far as any rights of any person other, than the alienee may be established in or over the same and except as may otherwise be provided by any law for the time being in force, vest in and shall be deemed to be with all rights in or over the same or appertaining thereto the property of the State Government and all rights held by an alienee in such property shall be deemed to have been extinguished and it shall be lawful for the Collector, subject to the general or special orders of the State Government, to dispose of them as he deems fit, subject always to the rights of way and other rights of the public; or of individuals legally subsisting.

Explanation-For the purposes of this section, land shall be deemed to be uncultivated if it has not been cultivated for a continuous period of three years immediately before the appointed day.

Compensation was claimed by the petitioner under Section 14 of the Act which provides thus:

14. Any alienee having any lights or interest in any property referred to in Section 11 shall if he proves to the satisfaction of the Collector that he had any such rights or interest, be entitled to compensation in the following manner, namely:

(1) if the property in question is waste or uncultivated but is cultivable land, or pasture land the amount of compensation shall not exceed three times the assessment of the land; and where the waste or uncultivated land is not cultivable, the amount of compensation shall not exceed the amount of annual assessment leviable thereon:

Provided that if the land has not been assessed, the amount of compensation shall not exceed such amount of assessment as would be leviable in the same village on the same extent of similar land used for the same purpose.

(ii) If the property in question is land over which the public has been enjoying or has acquired a right of way or any individual has any right of easement, the amount of compensation shall not exceed the amount of the annual assessment leviable in the village for uncultivated land in accordance with the rules made under the Code or if such rules do not provide for the levy of such assessment, such amount as in the opinion of the Collector shall be the market value of the right or interest held by the claimant.

(iii) In the case of minerals, the amount of compensation shall be equivalent to the average of the net annual income received by the alienee in respect of minerals during the three years immediately preceding the date of vesting.

(iv) in the case of forest land, the amount of compensation shall be equivalent to seven times the average of the net annual income of forest revenue including grazing fees, if any, received by the alienee during the ten years immediately preceding the date of vesting, such annual income being calculated on the basis of data regarding average yield for the said ten years.

(v) If there are any trees or structures on the land to which Clause (i) or (ii) applies the amount of compensation shall be the market value of such trees or structures, as the case may be.

Explanation-For the purposes of this section, the 'market value' shall mean the value as estimated in accordance with the provisions of Sub-section (1) of Section 23 and Section 24 of the Land Acquisition Act in so far as the said provisions may be applicable.' The petitioner claimed compensation in respect of the various rights including the right claimed by him in respect of income derived by the sale of water from a pool known as Kaldhara pool where water used to collect on account of perennial flow of water of river Mahi. In the present petition we are not concerned with the claim made by the petitioner on counts other than the aforesaid count. In respect of the income from the aforesaid Kaldhara pool a sum of Rs. 5,94,000/- was claimed by the petitioner, before the District Deputy Collector at Anand. The District Deputy Collector rendered his award on September 9, 1971 and awarded a total sum of Rs. 2,89,944-93 from out of which a sum of Rs. 2,85,120/- was awarded in connection with the loss of income in respect of the sale of water from Kaldhara pool. The petitioner felt that the compensation awarded to him was inadequate and preferred an appeal to the G.R.T. under Section 18 of the Act. The G.R.T. upheld the contention of the State that having regard to the scheme of compensation embodied in Section 14 no compensation was claimable in respect of the extinguishment of the right of the petitioner in the water in the Kaldhara pool. Thereupon the petitioner has approached this Court by way of the present petition.

3. Compensation in respect of the extinguishment of the right in relation to the water in Kaldhara pool was claimed under Clause (v) of Section 14 on the premise that the Kaldhara pool was a 'structure' within the meaning of the said clause. Now, it is provided by Clause (v) that if there are any trees or structures on the land to which Clause (i) or (ii) of Section 14 applies, the amount of compensation shall be the market value of such trees or structures as the case may be. In the first place, a pool (which has come into existence on account of the forces of nature) in which the perennial water from the Mahi river collects in the ordinary course of nature cannot fall within the description of a 'structure'. The expression 'structure' has been defined in the Concise Oxford Dictionary, Fifth Edition, as under:

structure, no Manner in which a building or organism or other complete whole is constructed, supporting frame work or whole of the essential parts of something, make, construction; adj.; thing constructed, complex whole, a building.

The expression 'structure' as employed in Clause (v) would apply to some erection made on the land by human effort. Besides, in Clause (v) a reference has in terms been made to structures on the land to which Clause (i) and Clause (ii) apply. By making a reference to the aforesaid two clauses the description of the land contained therein is incorporated by reference. The result would be that only such structures as are erected on lands which are waste or uncultivated lands or pasture lands within the meaning of Clause (i) and lands over which the public has been enjoying a right of way or right of easement as described in Clause (ii) of Section 14 would fall within the description of structures as contained in Clause (v) A natural pool of water like the Kaldhara pool in respect of which compensation is claimed can by no stretch of language or of the definition contained in Clause (i) or Clause (ii) of Section 14 fall within the definition of structure within the meaning of Section 14(v). The view taken by the G.R.T. cannot, therefore, be successfully assailed.

3.1. Learned Counsel for the petitioner, however,argued in the alternative that the opening words of Section 14 make it abundantly clear that the Legislature was providing for compensation in respect of extinguishment of rights in properties described in Section 11 and that even if, therefore, the manner in which the compensation was to be computed in respect of properties which did not fall within one or other of the five clauses of Section 14, the petitioner would yet be entitled to payment of compensation. It was argued that it was in conceivable that the Legislature would make no provision for extinguishment of rights in respect of all properties which were vested unto the State Government as per Section 11. Having given anxious consideration to the submission urged by counsel on behalf of the petitioner, I am unable to accede to the argument. In my opinion, Section 14 is a complete Code in itself and it enacts a complete scheme in respect of compensation that can be claimed by a holder of land whose rights in the said land are extinguished as per the Act. It is no doubt true that in the opening words it is mentioned that 'any alienee having any right or interest in any property referred to in Section 11 shall if he proves to the satisfaction of the Collector that he had any such right or interest, be entitled to compensation' but what is of critical importance is the feature that after making the aforesaid provision the Legislature has proceeded to crystallize the right and specify the manner of computation the compensation claimable in respect of the land by using the expression 'in the following manner, namely: (i) to (v).' The effect of Section 14 is that it creates a right in favour of an alienee but restricts the right to the properties adumbrated in Clause (i) to (v) of Section 14 and also prescribes the manner in which the compensation can be computed in regard to the properties specified therein. Two objectives are achieved by Section 14-(1) it specifies the properties in respect of which the compensation can be claimed and (2) it prescribes the manner in which such compensation is to be determined. Thus, it is clear that Section 14 creates a limited right and it embodies a complete Code or complete scheme of compensation in respect of the extinguishment of the rights of an alienee in the lands in question. There is good reason and sound principle at the bottom of the scheme of compensation. Compensation is envisaged for loss of property for the acquisition of which the land-holder may have expended effort or paid a price. No compensation could be claimed in respect of a property in the creation, acquisition or development of which the land-holder had neither to pay in sweat nor in money. The Kaldhara pool owed its origin to the design of the Great Artist, call him God if you like, or 'Nature' if you prefer to do so. The land-holder only exploited the society by selling the water collected in this pool which collected by the Will and Design of the Almighty as a Gift of Nature for which the petitioner could neither claim credit nor compensation. Be that as it may, since there is no other provision in the Act which confers a right to claim compensation in respect of a natural water pool like the Kaldhara pool and since there is no other section under which compensation can be claimed and as there is no provision in the Act which prescribes the manner in which compensation in respect of the loss of such a right is to be determined, the submission urged on behalf of the petitioner cannot be accepted. The view taken by the G.R.T. is perfectly valid and there is no occasion to interfere with the decision rendered by the G.R.T. in exercise of powers under Article 227, more so since the petitioner has secured an undue advantage to the extent of Rs. 2,85,120/- by obtaining compensation in respect of a right which was not provided by the Act.


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