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The State of Rajasthan and anr. Vs. Maharaja Rao Bhim Singh and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtRajasthan High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revn. No. 472 of 1976
Judge
Reported inAIR1980Raj27
ActsRajasthan Land Acquisition Act, 1953 - Sections 11, 18 and 34; Land Acquisition Act, 1894 - Sections 23 and 34
AppellantThe State of Rajasthan and anr.
RespondentMaharaja Rao Bhim Singh and anr.
Appellant Advocate J.S. Rastogi, Adv.
Respondent Advocate K.K. Meherish, Adv.
DispositionRevision dismissed
Cases ReferredR. C. Cooper v. Union of India).
Excerpt:
.....engineer, r. 16. i am, therefore, clearly of the opinion that so far as the provisions of land acquisition act are concerned, the compensation and interest have got two different meanings, applicable in two different situations and based on two different considerations. it is well established law, that so far as the interpretation of law, is concerned tha use of the inexact words by statutory authority or even misdescription cannot result in changing the meaning. 19. it is a well established principle of interpretation of statutes that so far as statutory terms are concerned, their meaning, implication and import are to be seen from the scheme of the act, context in which the words have been used and the consideration provided therein. that being so, i am clearly of the opinion..........p. c. and section 18(3) of the land aquisition act, against the order dated 22-7-76 passed by the land acquisition officer, chambal project kota in case no. 20493/1973 refusing to make a reference against award dated 25-10-75 in that case.2. after integration of the states in rajasthan, some important irrigation schemes were taken up and dams were constructed for providing irrigation to the vast areas of uncultivated land. in the kota area taking benefit of the chambal river a barrage was constructed at kota which was known as 'kota barrage'. it is common ground between the parties that this barrage was inaugurated in the year 1959-60 by the then prime minister pt. jawahar lal nehru.3. the dispute between the parties relates to the acquisition of the land of the then ruler of kota,.....
Judgment:
ORDER

G.M. Lodha, J.

1. The State of Rajasthan us well as the Superintending Engineer, R. P. S. Jawahar Sagar Dams, Chambal Project, Rawatbhata have filed this revision application under Section 115 C. P. C. and Section 18(3) of the Land Aquisition Act, against the order dated 22-7-76 passed by the Land Acquisition Officer, Chambal Project Kota in case No. 20493/1973 refusing to make a reference against award dated 25-10-75 in that case.

2. After integration of the States in Rajasthan, some important irrigation schemes were taken up and dams were constructed for providing irrigation to the vast areas of uncultivated land. In the Kota area taking benefit of the Chambal river a barrage was constructed at Kota which was known as 'Kota barrage'. It is common ground between the parties that this barrage was inaugurated in the year 1959-60 by the then Prime Minister Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru.

3. The dispute between the parties relates to the acquisition of the land of the then ruler of Kota, Maharaja Shri Bhim Singh.

4. According to the award of the Land Acquisition Officer, Chambal Pro-Sect, Kota in case No. 20493/1965 the land belonging to Khasra No. 1/943 etc. of village Raipur/Ladpura district Kota was acquired from His Highness Maharaja Rao Bhim Singh for construction of Kota barrage. The area of the land has been shown 29 Bighas 7 Biswaa and the measurement of the building acquired has been shown 1245 Sq. ft 10875 Cft. 850000 Cft. 33160 Cft. and 3000 Cft. The compensation of Rupees 4.95,379.70 p. and after adding compulsory acquisition charges, total amount of Rs. 5,44,917.67 was awarded.

5. The above award is not in dispute and was not challenged by either of the parties by way of an application for making reference under section 18 of the Rajasthan Land Acquisition Act or otherwise. This award was given on 4-5-73. On 26-8 75 an application was moved on behalf of Maharao Bhim-singhji mentioning that the possession of this land was taken on 1-3-54 and the amount of compensation has been deposited and paid on 7-3-75, and, therefore, he is entitled to interest @ 4% according to Section 34 of the Land Acquisition Act.

6. This application was considered by the Land Acquisition Officer, and as the record now reveals a note was prepared and acting on the basis of the office note contained at page 32 of the record of land acquisition officer, produced before me, it was mentioned that the amount of compensation was neither deposited nor paid at the time of taking over of the possession but it has been paid on 7-3-75 whereas possession has been taken in year 1958-59 when the construction of the barrage started as per letter of the Executive Engineer RMC dated 180/M dated 24-2-67. Note on page 32 of file No. 20493 is as under: (Matter being in Hindi omitted in this report-Ed.)

7. On this, an order was passed that interest for the period from the date of possession to the date of payment 'be paid and award be given. This order is dated 25th Oct. 1975. In pursuance of this, a supplementary award or a second award, was given, by which interest has been allowed to the respondent Maharaj Bhim Singh to the extent of Rs. 3,69,051.08.

8. The Irrigation Department filed an application and prayed that a reference be made under section 18 of the Rajasthan Land Acquisition Act, against the Award of this interest, by a supplementary award or a second award. This application of the Supdt. Engineer was rejected on 27-2-76. It was held that the objection of the Irrigation Department that once award was given on 4-5-73, the land acquisition officer became 'functus officio', and there exists no jurisdiction to grant second award or supplementary award, is without any substance. The Land Acquisition Officer, by a detailed judgment held that whereas the compensation is given in part II or III of the Act, the interest is allowed only when the possession is taken before the amount of compensation is deposited. The plea of the Department, that amount of interest, should be treated as part of the compensation, was rejected, on the ground that question of interest would never arise, unless the possession is taken before compensation is paid. It was also held that it is obligatory for the department to allow interest under section 34 and it is not discretionary. The Land Acquisition Officer was of the opinion that no reference can be made, as grant of interest cannot be made term of reference, under section 18 of the Rajas-than Land Acquisition Act,

9. Aggrieved by this order, this revision has been filed, Mr. J. S. Rastogi, the learned Government Advocate has argued that once the award is given, the Land Acquisition Officer becomes 'functus officio and no second or supplementary award or decree or order for grant of interest under Section 34 can be given. He further argued that in any case the Land Acquisition Officer, did not give notice to the Irrigation Department before deciding the question of interest and, therefore, the second or supplementary award is vitiated and reference should have been made under Section 18 of the Act. Mr. Ras-togi's contention was that compensation is comprehensive term and includes interest on account of loss or damage caused to person by deprivation of the property, as held in Bank Nationalisation case (AIR 1970 SC 564, R. C. Cooper v. Union of India).

10. Mr. Meherishi, learned counsel for the respondents on the contrary raised a serious preliminary objection, It was argued that under S. 18 of the Act a reference can be made only in relation to four matters enumerated therein. These four matters are (1) measurement of land, (2) the amount of compensation, (3) the amount of cost, and (4) person to whom it is payable or apportionment of compensation to persons interested. In view of this it was submitted that the application for getting a reference made was misconceived and untenable in law.

11. The objections regarding the maintainability of the revision application was also taken initially but later on it was not pressed in view of the clear provision of Section 18 (3) of the Act.

12. On merits Mr. Meherishi submitted that the Land Acquisition Officer never becomes functus officio as alleged by Mr. Rastogi because the question of grant of interest under section 34 of the Act is statutory duty to be performed by the Land Acquisition Officer, as and when situation arises. The submission is that question of grant of interest can only arise when amount of compensation is deposited or paid and the date of taking possession is different from that. It is, therefore, not possible at the time of grant of initial award, to foresee when the amount would be paid and when the possession would be taken. It was also submitted by Mr. Meherish that it is not in dispute that the barrage was inaugurated in the year 1960 and therefore the land on which the barrage was constructed was bound to be taken possession prior in point of time to 1959. In this view of the matter Mr. Meherish submitted that though his land was taken possession of in 1953-54 as alleged in his application, but according to the Government record, the taking of possession was shown in 1958 only and, therefore, he has been granted interest from 1-4-58, a much later date. Mr. Mehrish's submission was that grievance, if any, can be made by Maharaja Rao Bhim Singh, and not by the State,

13. I have carefully considered the respective submissions of the parties and also the Rajasthan law of acquisition and perused the record of the case I am inclined to consider seriously the objection of Mr, Mehrish that a reference can be made under Section 18 for the consideration of four objections only, which have been enumerated above and which are mentioned specifically in Section 18. Interest is not one of the four-points on which reference can be made under Section 18. The submission of Mr, Rastogi on the basis of R. C. Cooper's case (supra) cannot help him because in that case the compensation and implication of compensation and connotation of compensation, as used in the Constitution were vividly and widely discussed and considered by the Hon. Supreme Court for the purposes of considering whether the compensation should be rational, reasonable or notional and whether if adequate compensation is not given, it would infringe fundamental rights of the Constitution contained in Chap. III. The question involved was whether paying proper compensation was necessary and this was the point in issue in that writ where validity of Bank Nationalisation Act was challenged.

14. So far as the present case is concerned, the two terms compensation and Interest are separately used in the Rajasthan Land Acquisition Act. Whereas compensation and the mode of compensation and consideration for adjudication of compensation is provided in chapters 2 and 3 of the Rajas-than Land Acquisition Act, the grant of interest and the conditions on which the interest will have to be granted are provided under Chapter V, Section 34 of the Act. Both of them contemplate different situations and are based on different considerations. Whereas the compensation is based on the market value of the land at the time of the notification and the relevant consideration mentioned therein, the interest is, provided for the purposes of providing for the relief to the person from whose possession the land is acquired, but compensation is paid, after taking possession, The long gap between the taking of possession and the payment of compensation is the criteria or the consideration for the purpose of grant of ''interest.

15. The interest is statutory in nature, because it is fixed at the rate of 4% and admits no increase or decrease as no discretion has been given to the Land Acquisition Officer.

Section 34 is as under:--

'34. Payment of Interest -- When the amount of such compensation is not paid or deposited on or before taking possession of the land, the Collector shall pay the amount awarded with interest thereon at the rate of four per centum per annum from the time of so taking possession until it shall have been so paid or deposited.'

Two points of termination and commencement are also fixed under Section 34 and there no discretion has been given. That being so, the consideration for grant of interest, and the quantum of the interest are provided under Chap. V by Section 34 and they come into picture and would be applicable, only when there is a time lag between the deposit of compensation and the taking of possession.

16. I am, therefore, clearly of the opinion that so far as the provisions of Land Acquisition Act are concerned, the compensation and interest have got two different meanings, applicable in two different situations and based on two different considerations. I, therefore, cannot accept the contention of Mr. Rastogi that grant of interest under Section 34 is covered by grant of compensation as contemplated under Section 18 of the Act for the purpose of making a reference. The preliminary objection of Mr. Meherishi that no reference could have been made in this particular case, as held by the Land Acquisition Officer himself, is bound to succeed. That being the position, revision application under Section 18 of the Act cannot be maintained against an order given by the Land Acquisition Officer under Section 34 of the Act.

17. Mr. Rastogi also pointed out to me that in the second or supplementary award the Land Acquisition Officer has used the form and mentioned interest in the column of compensation. From this Mr. Rastogi wants to infer that the interest should be inferred as compensation and nothing else but compensation, I am unable to accept such an interpretation. It is well established law, that so far as the interpretation of law, is concerned tha use of the inexact words by statutory authority or even misdescription cannot result in changing the meaning. The substance should be seen after scraping the label.

18. The mere use of the form by the Land Acquisition Officer containing printed column of compensation would not make interest, compensation. It appears that the Land Acquisition Officer passed the order which I have reproduced at the note-sheet, and thereafter the form which was available in the officer, was filled in by the offlca and sent by the Land Acquisition Officer. That cannot convert the interest into compensation.

19. It is a well established principle of interpretation of statutes that so far as statutory terms are concerned, their meaning, implication and import are to be seen from the scheme of the Act, context in which the words have been used and the consideration provided therein. As I have held above, the compensation of the land acquisition is contained in Chapters II and III of the Act and interest is provided in chap. V and I have dealt in details the difference in situations, conditions, objects, criteria, commencing point, terminal point and standard for determination and adjudication of both of them. That being so, I am clearly of the opinion that grant of interest under Section 34 cannot by any stretch of argument be termed as grant of compensation under Section 11 of the Act nor the grant of interest can be treated as part of compensation for the purposes of Section 18 of the Act.

20. In view of the above, as the preliminary objection succeeds, it is not necessary for me to consider other objections of Mr. Rastogi regarding the jurisdiction of the Land Acquisition Officer, for granting of award under Section 11. However, I must say that even there I am not in agreement with the contention of Mr. Rastogi that once compensation is decided under Section 11 of the Act, thereafter the Land Acquisition Officer becomes functus offi-cio. As I have mentioned above, the stage of consideration of compensation is different from the stage of granting of interest because the interest is granted for the tune-lag between the payment of compensation and the taking of possession prior to it. In most of the cases, therefore, the question of interest will arise only when the amount of compensation is not paid simultaneously with the taking of possession. That being so, it would be premature to grant interest, though it should not be interpreted to mean that the land acquisition officer, cannot give order for the interest in advance.

21. In the instant case, admittedly, the date of taking the possession and the date of payment of compensation was different. Since the payment of compensation was made in 1975 and the Kota barrage, even according to State, was inaugurated after completion of constructions in the year 1959-60, therefore, the possession was taken even much earlier to the issue of notification of acquisition under Secion 6 of the Rajas-than Land Acquisition Act. In such a situation the question of granting of interest for the period commencing from the date of taking the possession till the date of payment could arise only after the payment was made which admittedly was done in 1975.

22. So far as question of notice is concerned, Mr. Rastogi certainly had a good case for insisting on notice, according to principles of natural justice. However, in the instant case, firstly because the order of granting of interest was not challenged directly, but a request was made for making a reference only and since the present revision application is also against the order rejecting the prayer for making reference, therefore, I am not required to go into that matter in details. Secondly, even looking at the substance of the matter, the interest has been allowed from 1-4-58 on the basis of the record in which reliance has been placed on the letter of Executive Engineer and since it is admitted that in 1959 or 1960, the barrage was inaugurated, the genuineness of the date of possession being 1958 at least appears to be beyond doubt. That being so, I am of the opinion that substantial justice was done in this case and, therefore, the grant of notice to the State and remand of the case by this Court or any other Court for that purpose, would have resulted only in idle and empty formality. It should be the effort of this Court to shorten litigation, so that time can be utilised for purposeful adjudication regarding the rights of the parties. The present one is a case in which on all counts, as per my findings mentioned above, this revision application is not liable to be maintained.

23. The revision application, therefore, fails and is hereby dismissed but without any order as to costs.


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