Abdur Rahman, J.
1. A notification was issued under the Land Acquisition Act for the acquisition of a strip of land of 861 sq. feet in the area situate at the junction of the bazaar and the Railway feeder roads at Ramnad. This plot belonged to the appellant. Eleven small shops were in existence on the strip of land at the time when the notification was issued. Having regard to the income that was being got by the appellant from them he put forward a claim for Its. 17-8-0 per square feet. The land acquisition authorities however came to the conclusion that a rupee per square foot would be enough for this land and an award was made at that rate. Not being satisfied with the order the appellant applied to the Subordinate Judge of Ramnad at Madura and again repeated his claim for Rs. 17-8-0 per square foot. The Subordinate Judge agreed with the land acquisition authorities and Rejected Ms claim. He has now come up in appeal.
2. After hearing learned Counsel for the parties there is not much room for doubt that the award of the Sub-Collector was unreasonably low and the Court does not seem to have paid sufficient attention to the materials on the record. Even from Ex. K which was the report of the Revenue Inspector made in connection with the land acquisition proceedings of this very plot it would be clear that on an examination of the various transactions which have been referred to by him in the report, he was of the view that Rs. 7-11-5 per square foot would be the average value for a plot situate in the same locality. This report was before the Collector and no sufficient reasons were given by the Sub-Collector or by the Tasildar for disregarding the estimate of the value suggested by the Revenue Inspector on the 30th June, 1936. It is admitted in this report that the site acquired was situated in the busiest part of the whole town. The Revenue Inspector was examined as a witness on behalf of the Government and affirmed the consents of Ex. K in his examination in chief itself. Nothing has been brought out either in his statement or in the statement of the other witnesses examined on behalf of the Government which would detract from the value of his evidence on that point. Reliance was placed on behalf of the appellant on a number of other transactions between 1924 and 1929, in regard to plots marked IV, I, III, II, VII and VIII in the plan Ex. J. According to the evidence tendered on his behalf the value of land in that locality appears to be ranging between Rs. 7 and Rs. 12 per square foot. There is no evidence on the record to show that the value of this type of property had gone down between 1929 and 1935, when the notification for acquisition was issued on behalf of the Government. In fact, a transaction embodied in a sale-deed Ex. E executed on the very next day after the notification if read along with the statement of C.W. 3 about the valuation of the buildings situated on those sites would seem to indicate that the value of the sites in the plots numbered as VII and VIII in Ex. J was not less than Rs. 12 per square foot. The statement by this witness in regard to his capacity to form a correct estimate of the value of the sites or in respect of the value assessed by him both for the buildings erected on those sites and for the value of the sites was not challenged in cross-examination. If that evidence is accepted--and we have no other option in the circumstances but to do so--the estimate of the value given by him would compare very favourably with the value deduced from the documents referring to other transactions in the same locality between 1922 and 1929. It was faintly suggested that the sale-deed Ex E might not be admissible in evidence, as it came into existence a day after the notification was issued by the Government. We see, however, no reason to accept that suggestion. This document was first of all admitted with the consent of the counsel for the Government and without any objection. It could not therefore be allowed to be questioned on that ground. But even if it was, there is really no reason why a transaction which came into existence so shortly after the notification should not be admitted in evidence and taken into consideration. There is nothing to suggest that it was brought about with the object of supporting the claim made on behalf of the appellant. The recitals in this document show that the agreement to sell was entered into on the 24th May, 1985, when earnest money was paid by the vendee. This was before the notification although the sale-deed was executed a day after and registered five days later. Had any objection been raised in regard to the relevancy of this document, evidence could have been adduced that the contract had been entered into on the 24th May, 1935. A document such as this is in our opinion not only relevant but good evidence of the market value of the land on the date on which the notification was issued and but for the fact that the land is situated at a little distance from the site acquired by the Government the value given in the document would have proved a very good guide to arrive at the value of the site acquired by the Government. Referring to the post notification transactions, Mr. Justice Broomfield in Assistant Development Officer, Trombay v. Tayaballi : AIR1933Bom361 , observed as follows:
Nevertheless I doubt if anything can be found in these authorities which, would justify the conclusion that post notification, transactions must necessarily be ignored altogether. All transactions must be relevant which can fairly be said to afford a fair criterion of the value of the property as at the date of the notification. If any considerable interval has elapsed the Court will naturally attach little or no value to subsequent sales just as transactions long prior to the notification will usually be discarded...But transactions only a month or two after the notification may sometimes perhaps have some value as evidence.
We find ourselves in respectful agreement with what fell from the learned Judge and hold that the sale deed Ex. E is admissible in evidence.
3. In dealing with this property the learned Subordinate Judge considered the plot to be acquired as one situated on the feeder road. But he overlooked the very important fact which he had himself referred to at the beginning of his judgment that it was situate both on the bazaar road and on the feeder road. This enhances the value of the plot to be acquired, and the value of the other properties on the Bazaar road cannot therefore be omitted from consideration.
4. Having regard to the value of the various properties dealt with under Ex. G, Ex. D, Ex. F, Ex. E, Ex. H and the transactions referred to by the Revenue Inspector in Ex. K and after making allowance for the exaggeration in regard to the under-valuation of the buildings in the statements of the witnesses for the claimant, we are on the whole of opinion that a sum. of Rs. 7 per square foot at least should have been allowed to the claimant in regard to the land acquired from him. To that extent the appeal must be accepted. The value of the land acquired would thus be enhanced by Rs. 6 per square foot. To this the usual compulsory solatium of 15 per cent will be added. No objection was raised as to the value of the structure and that will remain the same. This amount will now be deposited following the directions given by the lower Court. As for the costs the claim of the appellant in the present appeal could not be regarded in any way to be extravagant and he would therefore get his full costs in this appeal, As for the costs in the lower Court we are of the opinion that in so far as the claim in that Court was exaggerated the parties should bear their own costs in that Court. Time for payment three months. The appellant is entitled to interest on the excess amount awarded by this judgment at six per cent, from the date when the Government took possession.