Panchapakesa Ayyar, J.
1. This batch of appeals has been filed against the judgment of the Chief Judge of the Court of Small Causes in Land Case Nos. 133, 106, 112, 111, 107, 116,113,100 and 102 of 1952, valuing the lands acquired under the Land Acquisition Act, as modified by the Town Planning Act, with No. 15 (solarium) as on 14th August, 1934, the date of the notification under Section 12 of the Town Planning Act, instead of on the date of the last extension by Government of that notification, namely, 24th October, 1946. The acquisition was for the laying of scheme roads under the Millipore western section area Town Planning Scheme.
2. We have perused the records and heard the learned Counselor the appellants, and the learned Government Pleader contra. The main contention of the learned Counsel for the appellants was that the Government had no power to extend the time fixed under Section 12 of the Town Planning Act and that if the Government is to be held by an indulgence, to have the power to extend the time fixed under Section 12, as has been held by Ramesam, Officiating Chief Justice, in the Bench ruling in Secretary of State for Indiav. Narayanaswami Chettiar A.I.R. 1931 Rang. (1931) Mad. 391, (the other learned Judge was Cornish, J.) it could only be because they had the power to issue a fresh notification and took the shot out of doing it by a mere order of extension, taking all the legal consequences of a fresh notification under Section 12 including the liability to pay the market value as on the date of the last extension for the purpose of Section 35(a) of the Town Planning Act, and as per the view taken by Rajagopala Ayyangar, J., in Rathakrishna Chettiar v. State of Madras : (1956)2MLJ279 and as directly held by a Bench of this Court consisting of Subba Rao and Ramaswami, JJ., in A.S. No. 757 of11.950 after the delivery of the judgment now appealed against. It was urged that the learned Judge below erred in not waiting for a few days for the Bench judgment, though requested and took a wrong view.
3. We may add here that the learned Counsel for the appellants conceded that the judgments of Ramesam, Officiating Chief Justice and of Rajagopala Ayyangar, J., would amount only to obiter and that Cornish, J., dissented from the view on Ramesam Officiating Chief Justice, and held that only the market value of the original date of the notification under Section 12 could be claimed. He submitted the Bench decision was a direct decision on the point. It was contended by the learned Counsel for the appellants that the prices were steadily rising from 1934 onwards and that the prices on 24th October, 1946, were four or five times higher than the prices on 14th August, 1934. Of course possession has not been taken, as the acquisition is only under the Town Planning Act, and not under the Land Acquisition Act.
4. Learned Government Pleader would not concede that prices had risen to any extent by 24th October, 1946. He said that the 1934 prices continued. We need not decide that question, in these appeals, as if we come to the conclusion that the market value has to be fixed under Section 35(2) of the Town Planning Act as on 24th October, 1946, as per the decision of the Bench and the observations of Ramesam, Officiating Chief Justice, and Rajagopala Ayyangar, J., the matter will have to ' be remanded to the lower Court for hearing the evidence and determining the point, which has not been done, as the lower Court took it for granted that only the market value as on 14th August, 1934, would be payable. So too, the claims regarding the damage for erections, dismantling, severance, etc., will have to be decided afresh.
5. The learned Government Pleader relied upon two rulings of single Judges, namely, of Satyanarayana Rao, J., in A.S. No. 552 of 1949 and Krishnaswami Nayudu, J., in A.S. N0.351 of 1949, dated respectively 14th February, 1951 and 7th August, 1952. No doubt in those cases, the notification under Section 12 was in 1934 as here, and the acquisition was only in 1947, and the learned Judges took the view that the market value should be fixed only as on the date of the original notification in 1934 under Section 12 of the Town Planning Act while pointing out the injustice to the claimants as the price had gone up by leaps and bounds. But the point now raised was not raised before them, namely, that the Government had no power to extend the period of the notification under Section 12 and that if they must be deemed to have had such power by extending an indulgence, it could only by on the reasoning of Ramesam, Officiating Chief Justice, and the learned Judges in the Bench decision, namely, that they must be deemed to have issued fresh notifications under Section 12 by those extensions, as they had an undoubted power to do, and to have used the extensions as a mere short-cut, but taking the full consequences of fresh notification including the liability to pay the market value as on the date of the last order of extension. In other words it is like the relief against forfeiture, granted as an indulgence by Courts in suitable cases under the Transfer of Property Act. Of course the Bench decision was much later than the decisions of the two learned single Judges. We may add that the decisions of the two learned single Judges were not brought to the notice of the learned Judges who decided the Bench case, though we do not think that the Bench decision would have been in any way different even if cited. Nor was even the observation of Ramesam, Officiating Chief Justice, brought to the notice of the two learned Single Judges and the point discussed. We consider that the decisions of the single Judges might have been different in that case. We may also add that the Judge below did not discuss any of the above decisions relating to this point, but assumed as a matter of course and without even waiting for the Bench decision though requested to do so, that only the market value as on the date of the original notification under Section 12 can be given.
6. We are, therefore, of opinion that the Bench decision holds the field, and we are bound by it, especially as we agree with the principle and reasoning therein. We see no point in the learned Government Pleader's attack on it as incorrect, and see no reason to refer the matter to a Full Bench, as requested by the learned Government Pleader. We follow the decision of the Bench, which we hold to be the only possible correct view and we adopt the observations of Ramesam, Officiating Chief Justice and Cornish, J., and Rajagopala Ayyangar, J., in the above cases and hold that the extension of the Section 12 notification by Government on 24th October, 1946, was not illegal or null and void but that the market value has to be paid as on the date of the last order of extension, namely, 24th October, 1946, in all these cases. To hold otherwise would be to hold the extensions themselves to be illegal and to make all the acquisitions sought to be covered by extensions to be null and void, too drastic and unthinkable a course for us to pursue in public interests, especially as the interests of private parties also do not require such an extreme step. They have interest only in being given the market value as on the date of last order of extension. It is obvious that even if the extensions are held to be illegal, that will not prevent the Government from issuing a fresh notification under Section 12 and acquiring these lands under the Town Planning Act. In our opinion, the middle course followed by Ramesam, Officiating Chief Justice, and Rajagopala Ayyangar, J., and by the learned Judges who delivered the Bench judgments meets all the exigencies of justice, equity and good conscience, and should be adopted as just. The contention of the appellants to treat the acquisitions in these cases as acquisitions under the Land Acquisition Act is wholly untenable and is rejected.
7. It follows from all these that the judgment and decrees of the Court below must be set aside, and the reference in these Land Cases must be remanded to the Court below now the City Civil Court for being taken again on file and disposed of afresh after considering all relevant oral and documentary evidence let in by all the parties regarding the market value of these lands, damages, etc., as on 24th October, 1946, Of course all other questions of values and valuation and damages covered by the Land Cases will also stand remanded for fresh decision. In the circumstances, we direct all the parties to these appeals to bear their own costs, but direct the Court-fees paid on the appeal memos. to be refunded to the respective parties.