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Chudvvalathur Devaswom Uralara M. Narayanan Nambudri and ors. Vs. the Sub-collector and Land Acquisition Officer - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty;Civil
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported in(1937)2MLJ429
AppellantChudvvalathur Devaswom Uralara M. Narayanan Nambudri and ors.
RespondentThe Sub-collector and Land Acquisition Officer
Cases ReferredSarala Dassee v. President
Excerpt:
.....that is, if the court is satisfied as to the propriety of the purchase, it can direct the collector to make an investigation into its value, into its title and all other particulars that may be necessary to enable the court to make a final order directing the investment of the money in the purchase of specific lands which it has proposed to purchase. vice-chancellor turner required first to be satisfied by affidavit that the purchase proposed to be made was a fit and proper investment of the fund; and having been satisfied by the evidence on that point directed a note to be taken by the registrar that the court approved of the proposed purchase and adjourned the petition until the opinion of the conveyancing counsel as to the title was produced. the president in these..........settlement (1852) 9 hare app. 1 : 68 e.r. 759 an application was made for the re-investment of moneys in land under the said section. vice-chancellor turner required first to be satisfied by affidavit that the purchase proposed to be made was a fit and proper investment of the fund; and having been satisfied by the evidence on that point directed a note to be taken by the registrar that the court approved of the proposed purchase and adjourned the petition until the opinion of the conveyancing counsel as to the title was produced. after the title was approved by the conveyancing counsel the court insisted upon the approval of the title being verified by affidavit being filed and the application was adjourned to enable the counsel to settle the draft conveyance and place it before the.....
Judgment:

Venkataramana Rao, J.

1. These two revision petitions arise out of an order passed by the Subordinate Judge of Ottapalam declining; to order payment of two sums of money being the compensation money in respect of certain lands belonging to Chudvvalathur Devaswom acquired by the Government and lodged into Court under the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act. The petitioners, who are the trustees, desired to purchase certain immovable properties on the ground that the present investment of the said money in the Government securities did not yield sufficient income. On application made by the trustees under Section 32 of the Land Acquisition Act, the Subordinate Judge of Ottapalam appointed a Commissioner to examine the properties and seems to have given a favourable report in regard to the purchase. Subsequently, the Court called for a report from the Collector and the Collector seems to have stated that the properties were insufficient for the amount. Thereupon the Court refused to make an order for the purchase, and the petition was dismissed. The trustees then filed petitions out of which these revision petitions arise to have the said order reviewed and requested the Court to give the petitioners an opportunity of adducing fresh evidence for showing that the properties are sufficient and to order payment of the moneys. The learned Subordinate Judge took the view that in as much as the Collector stated that the properties were insufficient for the amount there is no provision of law for enabling the Court to proceed further in the matter and therefore he declined to review the order already passed.

2. It seems to me that the view taken by the learned Subordinate Judge that the Collector's opinion regarding the purchase is the final word on the matter is unsound and cannot be sustained. In regard to the monies deposited in Court under Sub-section 2 of Section 31 of the Land Acquisition Act the Court is invested with certain powers under Section 32. One of such is that the Court shall order the money to be invested in the purchase of other lands to be held under the like title and conditions of ownership as the land in respect of which such money shall have been deposited was held; and even in the case of moneys that have been invested in Government or other approved securities the Court is also given power to have them reinvested in the purchase of other lands. It will be seen that this duty is laid on the Court; it is a judicial function which has to be performed by it. A judicial act must therefore be done in accordance with the procedure usually attributed to it, that is, after hearing the parties, taking such evidence as is necessary and appropriate for the particular act. The Court therefore must be satisfied as to the propriety of the purpose, the value and the title and it is only after it is satisfied in regard to these particulars, it can make an order for investment. Reliance was placed by the lower Court on a rule framed under the Act and published in Civil Rules of Practice, that the purchase of lands under Section 32 should be effected through the Collector of the District. This only means that the actual purchase must be made through the Collector, that is, if the Court is satisfied as to the propriety of the purchase, it can direct the Collector to make an investigation into its value, into its title and all other particulars that may be necessary to enable the Court to make a final order directing the investment of the money in the purchase of specific lands which it has proposed to purchase. It seems to me that in referring the matter to the Collector the Court should ordinarily direct the Collector to revise all the evidence and any information which the parties may place before him and consider the same along with the information which he would independently obtain and submit a report to the Court. On receipt of the said report the Court should hear the parties and pass such appropriate order as it thinks necessary. If the Court thinks that any evidence is necessary by way of supplementing what has been already adduced before the Collector or that an expert's testimony is necessary, it is open to the Court to give such directions in regard thereto and have such evidence taken. It is open to the Court to disregard the report of the Collector and arrive at an independant valuation after the consideration of the report and direct the purchase accordingly. If it directs purchase, it can give appropriate directions to the parties to place the draft conveyance before the Court and after approval of the same, send it to the Collector for completion of the transaction, that is, for engrossment on stamp paper, for registration and for payment of the money and the Court can issue a cheque in favour of the Collector the necessary payment. This section (Section 32) it maybe noticed, was modelled in Section 69 of the Land Clauses Act of 1845. The English practice appears to have been to a similar effect. In In re Caddick's Settlement (1852) 9 Hare App. 1 : 68 E.R. 759 an application was made for the re-investment of moneys in land under the said section. Vice-Chancellor Turner required first to be satisfied by affidavit that the purchase proposed to be made was a fit and proper investment of the fund; and having been satisfied by the evidence on that point directed a note to be taken by the registrar that the Court approved of the proposed purchase and adjourned the petition until the opinion of the conveyancing counsel as to the title was produced. After the title was approved by the conveyancing counsel the Court insisted upon the approval of the title being verified by affidavit being filed and the application was adjourned to enable the counsel to settle the draft conveyance and place it before the Court. After the approval of the conveyance the Vice-Chancellor made the order that upon the completion of the engrossment and upon due execution of the conveyance by all proper parties to be verified by affidavit the sum should be paid out of Court to the vendor (vide In the matter of Caddick's Settlement (1853) 9 Hare, App. 2, lxxxv: 68 E.R. 806.) In In re Martin (1853) 22 L.J. Ch. 248 on a similar application by the trustees of a Hospital the Master of the Rolls passed the following order:

The only order that I can now make is, that I approve of the purchase and the value, and also the propriety of the investment, but before I can make any other order, the petitioner must obtain the certificate of one of the conveyancing counsel of the Court approving of the title, and an affidavit verifying the title, in the meantime the petition must stand over.

3. It will thus be seen that, it is the Court that finally comes to the conclusion as to the propriety of the purchase, the value and the title, though in order to save the time of the Court, it either gets the necessary information by means of affidavit or by reference to conveyancing counsel in regard to the title and by reference to experts in regard to the value. Anyhow, the order ultimately passed is a judicial order made by the Court. The system of conveyancing counsel does not exist in India and it is not possible to follow the English practice literally. That is why the machinery of the Collector has been provided for, but the Collector is not the final authority on the matter. In Nawab Bahadur of Murshidabad v. Deenendra Mallik I.L.R. (1932) Cal. 1272 an application was made under Section 32 of the Land Acquisition Act. The President of the Calcutta Improvement Tribunal directed that compensation money should be invested in the purchase of a property. He referred the matter to the Collector who valued the property at Rs. 9,72,000. On the receipt of the report from the Collector the President obtained an independent valuation by an outside expert without giving the parties concerned an opportunity to examine the report or cross-examine the expert and directed the purchase of the land for a sum of Rs. 9,83,000 which was Rs. 11,000 higher than the Collector's figure. Pearson, J., was of the opinion that this procedure was irregular and observed thus:

The President in these proceedings was a judge and was bound to exercise his functions in a judicial manner, whereas in adopting this procedure, he has clearly acled illegally.

4. A similar view was taken in another case reported in Sarala Dassee v. President, Calcutta Improvement Tribunal I.L.R. (1934) Cal. 154. In that case the President of the Calcutta Improvement Tribunal ordered certain monies which remained in the Government securities to be reinvested in the purchase of land. An objection was taken that it was not desirable to make a re-investment. The learned Judges observed:

The President while exercising his judicial function, should, therefore, consider whether the re-investment is expedient in view of the allegations of the petitioner for whose benefit the investment has been made ' and held before the President desires whether the money should be re-invested, he must hear the parties, it therefore seems to me that the view taken by the lower Court in regard to the powers of the Court is unsound.

5. The question is whether these revision petitions are maintainable. As contended by Mr. Champakesa Aiyangar the proper procedure which the petitioners should have adopted was to have the order dismissing the petition corrected by this Court. On this ground the revision petitions fail but as no question of res judicata arises and as the learned Subordinate Judge has not gone into the propriety of the purchase and other matters relating thereto, it is open to the petitioners even now to make an independent application pointing out the desirability of making the purchase of the said property and the Court will be at liberty to consider the propriety of its purchase arid then make a reference to the Collector is the light of the remarks contained in this judgment.

6. In the result, the Civil Revision Petitions are dismissed but I allow costs to the Government in one petition, namely, in C.R.P. No. 1587 of 1935.


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