1. By a notification issued under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (hereinafter called 'the Act') Survey No. 22/B of Sheet No. 18 admeasuring about 68 square yards and 2 square feet (57/04/27 Sq. Meters) came to be acquired for the public purpose of widening the road. This notification was followed by another notification issued under Section 6 of the Act on 27th April. 1973. The opponent, Nos. 1, 2 and 3 are the owners of the land in question. The fourth opponent made an award under Section 12 of the Act on 12th December, 1978 and fixed the compensation for the acquired land at Rs. 60/- per square meter and awarded a lump sum for the superstructure along with the usual award of solatium. The owners feeling dissatisfied with the award sought a reference under Section 18 of the Act. The learned District Judge enhanced the compensation by his order dated 20th June, 1980. The Rajpipla Municipality that is the acquiring body has preferred this Revision Application contending that the award is in violation of s. 59(2) of the Act.
2. Subsection (1) of S. 50 provides that where the provision if the act are put in force for the purpose of acquiring land at the cost of any fund controlled or managed by a local authority or of any Company, the charges of and incidental to such acquisition shall be defrayed from or by such fund of Company, Sub-section (2) of Section 50 with which we are concerned, reads as under: -
'(2) In any proceeding held before a Collector or Court in such cases the local authority or Company concerned may appear and adduce evidence for the purpose of determining the amount of compensation: Provided that no such local authority or Company shall be entitled to demand a reference under S. 18. This sub-section gives a right to, the local authority or Company, as the case may be to appear and adduce evidence for the limit4pd purpose of determining the compensation for the acquired land. Sub-section (2) of S. 50 came to be amended by S. 23 of the Land Acquisition (Gujarat Unification and Amendment) Act. 1963 whereby the words 'may appear and adduce evidence' were substituted by the words 'shall be called upon to appear and adduce evidence, if any'. Therefore, sub-section (2) of Section 50 as it stands amended by the aforesaid Amending Act of 1963 provides that in any proceeding held before a Court in such cases the local authority concerned shall be called upon to appear and adduce evidence, if any, for the purpose of determining the amount of composition. The words 'shall be called upon to appear' make it imperative upon the Court dealing with a reference under S. 18 of the Act to issue a notice on the local authority to appear and adduce evidence, if any in the instant case it is an admitted fact that no notice under the amended sub-section (2) of Section 50 of the Act was issued on the local authority, namely, the Rajpipla Municipality at whose instance the land in question came to be acquired under the provisions of the Act for the public purpose of widening the road. Since no such notice was issued on the local authority, that is, the Rajpipla Municipality, which was the acquiring body, it was deprived of the opportunity to appear and adduce evidence on the question of determination of the amount of compensation payable to the opponents Nos. 1. 2 and 3 who are the owners of the property under acquisition. That being so, the order passed by the learned District Judge in the reference under Section 18 of the Act is clearly in violation of sub-section (2) of Section 50 of the Act as amended by the 1963 Gujarat Amendment Act. The order of the learned District Judge is, therefore, liable to be set aside.
3. In the result this Revision Application is allowed. The order passed by the learned District Judge in Reference No. 156 of 1979 is set aside. Mr. Vyas for the local authority states that the local authority will enter an appearance in the matter waiving notice under sub-section (2) of Section 50 of the Act on or before 16th March, 1981. The local authority will be permitted to file its statement, if so desired, within one week thereafter. The learned District Judge will thereafter take up the matter for hearing and dispose it of within one month after permitting the local authority to adduce evidence as well as the owners to adduce such further evidence, as they consider necessary in the light of the evidence adduced by the local authority. The rule is made absolute accordingly. No order as to costs.
4. Revision allowed.