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Venkayya and anr. Vs. the Secretary of State for India in Council, Represented by the Collector of Kistna - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLimitation
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported in(1904)14MLJ173
AppellantVenkayya and anr.
RespondentThe Secretary of State for India in Council, Represented by the Collector of Kistna
Excerpt:
- .....collector in due discharge of his duty had proceeded under the land acquisition act to make the award. the suit, however, was brought more than one year after the collector informed the appellants that he was not going to make the award as the property belonged to government and the lower appellate court dismissed the suit as barred by limitation under article 18 of the indian limitation act. this article 18 reproduces the corresponding article 20 of act ix of 1871 which was passed shortly after the enactment of the land acquisition act, x of 1870, now replaced by act i of 1894. it seems to us clear by comparing article 18 with section 54 of act x of 1870 that the suit contemplated by the act is one. for compensation for non-completion and the refusal to complete the, acquisition.....
Judgment:

1. The suit in its alternative character is really a suit for damages for the wrongful refusal by the Collector appointed to acquire the land for public purposes to make an award settling the amount of compensation payable to the appellants in respect of the land which, by virtue of a direction made by the Local Government under Section 17 of Act I of 1894, was taken possession of by the Collector before any award had been made and thus became vested absolutely in the Government. The reason for the Collector's refusal was that it had been subsequently discovered that the land belonged to Government and not to the appellants and therefore the latter were not entitled to compensation. It is now found by both the Lower Courts that the land was the appellants' property and not the property of Government. But as the land vested absolutely in Government under Section 17, though in fact it was as now found the property of the appellants, they are not entitled to recover the land but can only claim damages for breach of a statutory duty on the Collector's part, the measure of damages being such compensation as would have been recovered by the appellants if the Collector in due discharge of his duty had proceeded under the Land Acquisition Act to make the award. The suit, however, was brought more than one year after the Collector informed the appellants that he was not going to make the award as the property belonged to Government and the lower appellate court dismissed the suit as barred by limitation under Article 18 of the Indian Limitation Act. This Article 18 reproduces the corresponding Article 20 of Act IX of 1871 which was passed shortly after the enactment of the Land Acquisition Act, X of 1870, now replaced by Act I of 1894. It seems to us clear by comparing Article 18 with Section 54 of Act X of 1870 that the suit contemplated by the Act is one. for compensation for non-completion and the refusal to complete the, acquisition referred to in the said Section 54 which does not include a case in which the land has vested in Government. Section 48 of Act I of 1894 corresponds to Section 54 of Act X of 1870. In the present case the acquisition has been completed in the sense that the property has absolutely vested in Government and, in our opinion, Article 18 does not govern such a suit and there being no other article applicable to the case. The general residuary Article 120 must be held to govern the case. That being so, the suit is not barred by limitation. We must allow the appeal with costs in this and in the lower appellate court and reversing the lower appellate court's decree restore that of the District Munsif.


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