Ramaprasada Rao J.
1. The aggrieved claimant in I. A. C. No. 35 of 1972, on the file of the City Civil Court, Madras, is the appellant An extent of 19 grounds 683 sq. ft. which roughly forms about 1/19th of the total extent owned by the appellant-claimant was the subject-matter of compulsory acquisition pursuant to a notification under Section 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act dated 6-11-1988. The property is situate in Purasawalkam comprised in R. S. 2201/10. The public purpose for which the property was acquired was for the Corporation school and playground. The Land Acquisition Officer relied upon Exs. B-2 and B-3 which were sales of plots of land to the south west ofthe acquired land. Under Exs. B-2 and B-3 properties were sold at the rate of Rs. 5500 per ground. The Land Acquisition Officer bearing in mind the locality in which the acquired property is situate increased the compensation and awarded a sum of Rs. 6000 per ground as just compensation payable to the appellant. The appellant not being satisfied with the ground (award?) sought for a reference under Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act to the civil court and asked for compensation at the rate of Rs. 12000 per ground. The claimant relied upon Exs. C. 1 and C. 2 and sought for the increased compensation as above. The court below however noticed Exs. B-8 and B-9, which were also sales enumerated by the Land Acquisition Officer in the list of data sales referred to by him in his award. Exs. B-8 and B-9 relate to sales of plots of land to the west of the acquired land under which a price of about Rs. 9000 per ground was paid in the years 1967 and 1968. This was adopted by the court below. The appellant appeals against this grant
2. Learned counsel for the appellant strenuously relies upon Ex. C.1 and C.2, and would urge that the price paid thereunder represents the fair price for the acquired lands as well. It is no doubt true that the property acquired is part of a vast extent of land belonging to the appellant and this has been sliced away from it for a public purpose. It is abutting a road known as Angalamman Koil Street in Purasawalkam division and it had an access throughout its length on the east to that road. That it is a fairly busy and popular locality is not in dispute. But what is sought to be relied upon for purposes of evaluation is the hypothesis provided for under Ex. C-1 and C-2. From Ex. B-1 which is the tope sketch which contains both the acquired lands and the lands with which they are compared we find Ex. C 1 and C 2 relate to sales of plots of land far removed from the acquired land. They are to the south of it and in a locality which is different from the acquired land. Learned counsel for the appellant himself had to say at one time that Ex. C.1 and C.2 may not provide a sale and absolute guide for valuation of the acquired lands. We are also of the view that when sales of land in the neighbourhood and nearer to the acquired land are available then it will be an empty exercise to seek for more hypothesis and material and rely upon the data provided for sales of plots far away removed from it and try to value the compulsorily acquired lands. The nearer the acquired land, the better for purposes of comparison. In Ex. B 1 we see that the lands sold under Ex. B 8 and B 9 provided the data for comparison in the sense that the lands sold thereunder could; easily and reasonably be said to be lands which are similar to the acquired lands and are situate in the neighbourhood of it. In such circumstances, therefore, the price paid under Ex. B 8 and B 9 could safely be taken for purposes of valuing the acquired land.
3. This was attempted and done by the court below. We are unable to grant an increased compensation for the reason that Ex. C-1 and C-2 cannot for any purpose be taken into consideration for fixing the market price of the acquired land. We therefore agree with the court below that the price paid under Ex. B-8 and B-9 can be adopted and that the acquired lands could be valued at Rs. 9000 per ground.
4. One another head of claim which was made by the claimant was severance compensation under Section 23(3) of the Land Acquisition Act. What is urged by Mr. Ramasubramaniam is that by reason of the acquisition the frontage of the property has been sufficiently and conspicuously cut and the left out portion is at a disadvantage having lost such an access to the east of it. But the question is whether there has been severance at all and if there was a severance whether there was a damage as a result thereof and if such damage is alleged whether it has been proved. C. W. 1 was examined on the side of the claimant. He would say that the portion left behind has lost its value because it is no longer abutting the road. 57 1/2 grounds have been left out of acquisition and therefore the severance compensation claimed at the rate of Rs. 1100 per ground was payable. But in cross-examination he admitted that the unshaded portion left out of the acquisition is also a corner property and that the unacquired property has access or frontage to ferambur Baracks Road. He had to admit that on the south it has access to Kalyana Maistry Street and on the east the remaining portion has got access to Angalamman Koil St. C. W. 1 virtually had to admit in cross-examination that excepting for the loss of part of a frontage on a pre-existing road, there has not been any further damnification to the unacquired portion of the land. Severance compensation which is the subject-matter of Clause (3) of Section 23 of the Land Acquisition Act, has a special significance. It is not every severance within the dictionary meaning of, that word that could provoke the owner!whose property has been sliced to come to the court or ask for the same before the Land Acquisition Officer. It is such severance which in the eye of law could be said to have damnified by reason of a compulsory acquisition that could be the subject-matter of the claim. In every case such damage has not only to be pleaded, but also to be proved by acceptable evidence. We have already referred to the evidence in support of this claim which does not support the claim for severance compensation. On the other hand, the evidence of C. W. 1 gives the impression that excepting for the shortening of the road frontage no damage has been done at all to the property. It remains as a corner plot which has the advantage of the three roads in the neighbourhood. No one either inside the property or outside has complained that by reason of the acquisition it has become inconvenient for them to gain ingress or egress from the remaining portion of the land. Conspicuous evidence is necessary for a court to accept such a claim for severance compensation. Mere slicing of a property and particularly 1/19th of a property from a large extent without further proof of damage cannot be the basis of the award for severance compensation, under Section 23(3) of the Land Acquisition Act. Mr. Ramasubramaniam relied upon a passage in Tribeni Devi v. Collector Ranchi : 3SCR208 . In that case the Supreme Court did not want to interfere with the grant which the Judicial Commissioner (probably the civil court) made towards severance compensation. In that case the High Court disallowed the award made by the Judicial Commissioner as compensation for severance. The High Court apparently expressed the view that merely because there was an entrance to the land before and there was a diminution of that amenity later by reason of the acquisition the severance compensation granted by the Judicial Commissioner has to be disallowed. It was in those circumstances the Supreme Court was of the view that when a portion of the land is acquired and a large portion is left out there would be diminution in the value of the land that is left out for which some compensation has to be allowed. We are of the view that this is not a generic statement made by the Supreme Court to be adopted axiomatically in every case where there has been a slicing of a property from a large extent of quondam property by reason of the acquisition. The facts therein shown have established damage as a fact If this were to be the intention then no proof of damage which is contemplated under Section 23(3) of the Land Acquisition Act would be required. Such grants are made and compensations are given only on proof of damage and not by a mere allegation as to damage. In this case, we are of the view that there is no proof of such damage though it has been alleged. Presumably in the other case referred to by the Supreme Court there was such proof. We are not inclined to accept the contention of learned counsel for the appellant that severance compensation should mechanically he granted in this case because 1/19th of the property has been taken away from the whole. In the result, therefore, the appeal fails and is dismissed. No costs.