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Tallapragada Veera Venkamma and ors. Vs. the Collector of West Godavari and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberA.A.O. Nos. 211 to 213 and 241 of 1946
Judge
Reported inAIR1950Mad650
ActsDefence of India Act, 1939 - Sections 19(1); Government of India Act, 1935 - Sections 299(2); Land Acquisition Act, 1894 - Sections 18
AppellantTallapragada Veera Venkamma and ors.
RespondentThe Collector of West Godavari and ors.
Appellant AdvocateS.V. Venugopalachari, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateGovernment Pleader ; and K. Venkataratnam, Adv.
Excerpt:
.....government to produce or to exhibit at the trial the report of the collector. 3. it is said by the learned counsel that the lands which are the subject-matter of the present proceedings are pasture lands and are distinctly superior in value to the lands purely dry. 10 per acre were assigned to the land which is the subject-matter of the present litigation, then it would work out at something like rs. but even accepting that sort of argument as otherwise well-founded, on a priori consideration, we are not satisfied that there is very much of difference brought out between the actual figure of rs. 175 awarded by the arbitrator with reference to the better part of the land in dispute and the figure resulting from the actual adoption of the rate of rs. 5. as we have already observed, in..........a demonstrated error of principle. in the course of the argument which was advanced to us by the learned counsel for the appellant we have been told that the proceedings prior to the appointment of arbitrator suffer from an infirmity of principle, and that is because the actual notices that his client) got from the collector with reference to the offer of compensation were coupled with a direction that the district judge of west godavari might be moved in the matter and no indication was given by the notices servel upon his client about the details of the way in which the actual valuation was fixed by the collector before he made the offer. it has also been contended before us as the second point of principle arising out of the proceedings that the particular report of the collector.....
Judgment:

Raghava Rao, J.

1. Out of the four civil miscellaneous appeals posted before us, the only one. that requires consideration is C. M. A. no. 212 of 1946 which arises out of O. P. No. 49 of 1944. The O. P. in question along with others which we are not called upon to consider was one presented to the District Judge, West Godavari appointed as an arbitrator by the Government of India under the Defence of India Act. The substance of the petition which resulted in the ad-indication of the arbitrator, which is the subject-matter of challenge in this appeal, is that the lands belonging to the petitioner which had been originally requisitioned by the Government temporarily under the Defence of India Act Rules were proposed to be acquired permanently later by the Government and that the compensation offered for the proposed acquisition is inadequate. For the purpose of fixing the value of the property sought to be acquired, the arbitrator was appointed on the reference of the matter to the Government of India. The arbitrator has awarded with reference to two survey numbers comprised in the O. P., namely, S. Nos. 80 and 81/1, compensation at the rate of Rs. 100 per acre, and with reference to the other survey numbers comprised in the O. P., compensation at the rate of Rs. 175 per acre. It is against this award of compensation that the petition has come up in this Court in the civil miscellaneous appeal, which we are now considering.

2. It is obvious that with an award of this character we should not be justified in interfering except it be on the basis of a demonstrated error of principle. In the course of the argument which was advanced to us by the learned counsel for the appellant we have been told that the proceedings prior to the appointment of arbitrator suffer from an infirmity of principle, and that is because the actual notices that his client) got from the Collector with reference to the offer of compensation were coupled with a direction that the District Judge of West Godavari might be moved in the matter and no indication was given by the notices servel upon his client about the details of the way in which the actual valuation was fixed by the Collector before he made the offer. It has also been contended before us as the second point of principle arising out of the proceedings that the particular report of the Collector which was sent up by him to the arbitrator was one on which the arbitrator relied but to which the appellant before us had no access. The last argument advanced to us was that the actual materials supplied to the arbitrator at the trial were not such as would justify the conclusion reached by him.

3. We may at once state that we find absolutely no substance in the kind of complaint sought to be made by the learned counsel for the appellant with reference to the procedure adopted by the Collector before he made the reference to the arbitrator or with reference to the actual procedure adopted by the arbitrator himself after the matter went up to him. We ate satisfied that although the notices served upon the appellant were with reference to the actual amount offered by the Collector, when the matter came up to the arbitrator, the appellant was sufficiently alive to the actual kind of material that he had to place before the arbitrator in order to successfully question the figure that the Collector had offered. It is said by Mr. Venugopalachari, the learned counsel for the appellant, that at no stage prior to the pronouncement of the award of the arbitrator did his client have any opportunity to acquaint himself with the actual details of the offer contained in the reports submitted by the Collector later on to the arbitrator, and it is, therefore, urged by the learned counsel that his client was under a handicap in the sense that he could not sufficiently adduce evidence in rebuttal of the basis on which the Collector had proceeded. We are not satisfied, however, that the actual process of trial suffered in any serious or substantial manner by the failure of Government to produce or to exhibit at the trial the report of the Collector. The arbitrator appointed has considered the whole matter on the basis of the evidence available before him in a very careful manner, and we have no doubt that if only the appellant before us had been very serious to ask for the contents of the report he would have been given ample access to it before the trial of the case by the arbitrator.

4. The principle of discrimination adopted by the Collector in making the classifications that he has made in the course of the report with reference to the actual nature of the lands which are the subject-matter of the proceedings has been considered by the arbitrator with refer. once to the application of the classifications in question to those lands. The oral evidence placed before the arbitrator was that of three witnesses to which our attention has been drawn, namely, P. Ws. 3, 5 and R. W. 3. It is said by the learned counsel that the lands which are the subject-matter of the present proceedings are pasture lands and are distinctly superior in value to the lands purely dry. We find, however, some little difficulty in appreciating the argument. The arbitrator has in his award referred to the evidence of R. W. 3 in para. 12 wherein the witness has stated that the lands acquired could be used for raising dry crops without any capital outlay. He has also referred to the fact that there is no dispute as regards the survey numbers that actually fall under the two categories which he has referred to earlier in the course of his award. He says further in regard to the particular survey numbers which, so far as relevant to the present civil miscellaneous appeals, are considered by him in para. 13 of his award that it would be fair to award compensation at the rate of Rs. 100 per acre for these lands. It is contended by the learned counsel for the appellant that if Rs. 10 per acre were assigned to the land which is the subject-matter of the present litigation, then it would work out at something like Rs. 200 by capitalisation at the rate of 20 times. But even accepting that sort of argument as otherwise well-founded, on a priori consideration, we are not satisfied that there is very much of difference brought out between the actual figure of Rs. 175 awarded by the arbitrator with reference to the better part of the land in dispute and the figure resulting from the actual adoption of the rate of Rs. 10 per acre which is what is sought to be extracted from the cross-examination of R. W. 3. Nor is the difference in value as given by the arbitrator between the two survey numbers which are dealt with in para. 13 and the other survey numbers which are dealt with in para. 11 such that it needs any interference at our-hands in these appeals.

5. As we have already observed, in cases of this description which raise a question of the adequacy of the amount that has been awarded by is Court or tribunal which has got to assess the exact amount, it is a well-settled principle that an appellate Court ought to bear in mind that except on the basis of a fundamental or radical error of principle it would have no ground or justification for interference, and we accordingly dismiss C. M. A. No. 212 of 1946. As we have already stated at the beginning of our judgment, the other three appeals do not arise for consideration as when a preliminary objection was actually raised by the learned Government pleader that the value of those appeals is such that they do not admit of any right of appeal, the learned counsel for the appellants accepted the position of unappealability. The costs to be awarded in all these four appeals will be Rs. 75 (advocate's fee) for the Government pleader and Rs. 25 for the learned counsel for the other respondents in the appeals. The respondents' counsel will also have his costs of the printed papers that he had to purchase for conducting the appeal in which his client has been made a party by the appellant. It is no fault of the learned counsel that he had to provide himself with the necessary papers for equipping himself with an argument in this appeal, and the appellant will certainly have to be directed to pay to respondent 2 the costs of printing.


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