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A.P.S. Karuppaiah Nadar Vs. Special Dy. Collector for Land Acquisition, Virudhunagar and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberAppeal Nos. 185 and 211 of 1951
Judge
Reported inAIR1955Mad406
ActsLand Acquisition Act, 1894 - Sections 9(3), 18, 25(2) and 45
AppellantA.P.S. Karuppaiah Nadar
RespondentSpecial Dy. Collector for Land Acquisition, Virudhunagar and anr.
Appellant AdvocateM. Natesh, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateGovt. Pleader and ;V. Srinivasan, Adv.
DispositionAppeals dismissed
Cases ReferredTaraprasad Chaliha v. Secy
Excerpt:
property - compensation - sections 9 (3), 18, 25 (2) and 45 of land acquisition act, 1894 - whether appellant precluded from claiming enhanced compensation before subordinate judge by reason of absence of any claim made before land acquisition officer - sufficient proof of appellant's knowledge of steps he has to take to enable him to claim enhanced compensation - appellant omitted without proper excuse to make claim before land acquisition officer - terms of section 25 (2) attracted as appellant omitted or refused to make claim without sufficient cause as provided in section 25 (2) - held, claim of appellant debarred under section 25 (2). - - the files of the acquisition officer as well as his notes papers were examined and it was found that there was no trace, of any such claim..........from the judgment of the subordinate judge of ramanatha-puram at madurai with reference to certain land acquisition proceedings and the point raised for consideration is whether the appellant was preclud-ed from claiming enhanced compensation before the learned subordinate judge by reason of the absence of any claim made before the land acquisition officer.2. app. no. 185 of 1951 has been filed against a reference under section 18, land acquisition act, which was numbered as o. p. no. 67 of 1948 on the file of the subordinate judge of ramanathapuram at madurai and app. no. 211 of 1951 is directed against the order in o. p. no. 66 of 1948. in o. p. no. 67 of 1948, the appellant was awarded by the land acquisition officer rs. 1604-7-3 in 12-3. these figures were based upon the valuation of.....
Judgment:

Rajagopala Aiyangar, J.

1. These are appeals filed by a claimant from the judgment of the Subordinate Judge of Ramanatha-puram at Madurai with reference to certain land acquisition proceedings and the point raised for consideration is whether the appellant was preclud-ed from claiming enhanced compensation before the learned Subordinate Judge by reason of the absence of any claim made before the Land Acquisition Officer.

2. App. No. 185 of 1951 has been filed against a reference under Section 18, Land Acquisition Act, which was numbered as O. P. No. 67 of 1948 on the file of the Subordinate Judge of Ramanathapuram at Madurai and App. No. 211 of 1951 is directed against the order in O. P. No. 66 of 1948. In O. P. No. 67 of 1948, the appellant was awarded by the Land Acquisition Officer Rs. 1604-7-3 in 12-3. These figures were based upon the valuation of the lands at Rs. 24 per cent. The claimant-appellant made an application for reference claiming at the rate of Rs. 500 per .cent. The learned Subordinate Judge has rejected the claim .for enhanced compensation by the appellant in these-two original petitions on the ground that he had not made any claim for any particular sum when he appeared before the Land Acquisition Officer in response to a notice under Section 9(3) of the Act. In consequence of this iailure on his part, the provision in Section 25(2) of the Land Acquisition Act was held to be attracted to the appellant's case and his claim for enhanced compensation was rejected. Hence these appeals.

3. The facts necessary to appreciate the points raised on behalf of the appellant are shortly these; There was a notification under Section 4 of the Act in respect of the lands sought to be acquired. The appellant appeared before the Land Acquisition Officer under Section 5(A) of the Act and filed a statement on 28-2-1948 objecting to the acquisition on the ground that these lands need not he acquired as they were required for the purpose of a school. Subsequently a notice under Section 9(1) was published and an individual notice under Section 9(3) of the Act was addressed to the appellant and was received by his servant one Kasirajan. In response to this notice, the appellant appeared before the Land Acquisition Officer on 14-6-1948 and promised the Officer to produce some documents within a few 'days. Subsequently however he never turned up.

It is now common ground that he did not make, any oral claim regarding the quantum, of the compensation payable lor the acquisition on the date when he appeared before the Officer. Records in this case show that the documents which the appellant promised to produce, had reference to a dispute as to title to the property being acquired, between the appellant and another. This was all the part that the appellant took before the award. The officer made an award on 7-7-1948 and the same was served upon the appellant, whereupon within . the time limited by Section 18,. Land Acquisition Act, the appellant desired a reference to be made to the Court regarding the quantum of compensa-tion payable to him which he claimed on the basis of the figure already .mentioned.

4. In the statement of claim requiring a reference, the appellant stated in paragraph 10 'The applicant has referred to the value in his objections to the Special Deputy Collector and no opportunity was afforded to him to produce evidence regarding market value and compensation.' It would be seen that the appellant had made a definite and, positive assertion that he had filed before the officer a claim to compensation based upon a particular value and there was a complaint that he was not given the opportunity by the Officer to prove his case. When the matter came up before the Court, counsel on behalf of the Government denied the appellant's allegation regarding his having filed any statements of claim before the Officer. The files of the Acquisition Officer as well as his notes papers were examined and it was found that there was no trace, of any such claim having been filed.

Notwithstanding this, the appellant- in his evidence in the case repeated his assertion that he had filed such a statement and went on to add that he had also a copy of this statement with him. In the circumstances, it is not surprising that he was unable to produce the copy which he admitted was in his possession. On these facts, the learned Subordinate judge held (1) that there had been proper service of notice under Section 9(3) of the Act by its being delivered to Kasirajan and (2) that the appellant had omitted without proper, excuse to make a claim before the Land Acquisition Officer and was conseqently debarred under Section 25(2) of the Act from claiming enhanced compensation on the reference. On these conclusions O. P. Nos. 66 and 67 were dismissed.

5. Before us, Mr. Natesan learned counsel for the appellant raised both the above points. His first objection was that on a proper construction of Section 45 of the Act, the service of the notice on a servant, who is not a member of the claimant's family, is not proper service and the second, that 'if notice under Section 9(3) of the Act were not properly served, the appearance of the claimant before the Acquisition Officer would not amount to a waiver of the irregularity and that Section 25(2) contemp-tated the existence of a valid notice to the claimant before it could be invoked.

6. In the view we arc taking of the second contention of learned counsel, it is unnecessary for us to finally decide whether the service in the present case on the servant was a sufficient compliance with Section 45. We will therefore proceed upon the assumption that the service of the notice was irregular but in response to this irregular notice the appellant did appear before the officer. It is stated that the claimant was not aware of the irregularity and that consequently' we cannot draw any presumption against him of an acquiescence in or waiver of, this irregularity. Following on this, two contentions were raised by learned counsel. The first was that there was a duty cast upon the Acquisition Officer to inform the claimant that he should mate a claim for a particular amount of compensation and that in the absence of any notice of warning, the provisions of Section 25(2) would not be attracted. It is conceded that there is no provision in the Land Acquisition Act directing this to be done and in the absence of any .such provision it would be adding to the terms of' the statute to import such a duty.

Learned counsel relied for tin's purpose on the decision of a Bench of this court in - 'Subramania Chettiar v. State of Madras', : AIR1953Mad943 (A). Having carefully examined it, we find that it does not support any such proposition. The facts of that case were that at the time when the appellant appeared before the Acquisition Officer in response to a notice under Section 9(3) of the Act, he was still objecting to the acquisition itself and was under the impression that he had to formulate his claim only after his objections to the acquisition were disposed of. Acting on this belief, the claimant did not make any claim specifying the amount of compensation for the property acquired. The learned Judges held that the claimant had a just cause for. omitting to make the claim within the meaning, of Section 25(2) of the Act and that the court could, on a consideration of the circumstances, permit a claim for enhanced compensation to be made at the stage of the reference. The facts of 'the present case do hot raise arty such mistake or misapprehension on the part of the appellant who has positively asserted that he did make a claim for compensation though his statement was found to be false.

The next set of cases relied on are those reported in - 'Venkatarama Aiyar v. Collector of Tanjore : AIR1930Mad836 ; and - Taraprasad Chaliha v. Secy, of State : AIR1930Cal471 , In both these, the notice served under Section 9(3) of the Act did not conform to the requirements of. the statute which prescribe a minimum of 15 days between the date of the receipt of the notice and the enquiry. In both these, the learned Judges held that when in response to such a notice, a claimant appears but has not anade any claim, the provisions of Section 25(2) are not attracted. We do not see how these cases afford any assistance to the appellant. In the first place there is a marked distinction between the irregularity in the manner of service of notice and a non-compliance with the terms of the enactment in regard to the duration of the notice. In the former case if the notice though served on a person not specified in Section 45 actually reaches the claimant and in response to such a notice he appears before the officer, we are of the opinion that the irregularity in the manner of service is completely waived.

It cannot be the law that when the claimant appears jn response to such a notice, the officer has to send him back and serve another notice on him conforming to Section 45. The latter type of cases where the minimum duration of notice fixed by the statute is not complied with, stand on an entirely different fooling. The statute intends this duration for the purpose of the objector gathering sufficient materials and acquainting himself 'with what he has to do when he appears in response to the notice. If in such a case an irregularity occurs, it would be for the Government to prove that notwithstanding the non-compliance with the statute, the claimant is not prejudiced. Unless therefore they are able to establish- that the claimant was informed of the steps he has to take and the statements he has to file to assert his rights, the infirmity arising out of the ficfect continues to afford protection to the claimant. These cir-cumstances however can never apply to cases of defective service as distinguished from defective notice. We are therefore clearly of the opinion that the decisions do not afford any support for the contention so strenuously urged by learned counsel for the appellant,

7. We are further prepared to hold that in the present case where the appellant himself asserts that at the enquiry he did make a claim for compensation at a particular figure, there is sufficient proof of the claimant's knowledge of the steps he has to take to enable him to claim enhanced compensation.

8. The fact that this statement has turned out subsequently to be false has no bearing on the question of the appellant's knowledge of the procedure. We are, therefore, of the opinion that the terms of Section 25(2) are attracted to the present case and that the claimant has either refused oromitted to make a claim without sufficient cause as provided in Section 25(2) of the Act.

9. In the result, we concur with the conclusion reached by the learned Subordinate Judge. These appeals fail and are dismissed with costs.


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