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The Government of Tamil Nadu, Represented by the Sub-collector Vs. Muthu Goundan and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1979)1MLJ197
AppellantThe Government of Tamil Nadu, Represented by the Sub-collector
RespondentMuthu Goundan and ors.
Cases ReferredIn Kesava Gounder v. Rajan
Excerpt:
- .....-in karuppur village, omalur taluk. o.p. no. 148 of 1967 arises out of the reference made by the land acquisition officer, (sub-collector, mettur) in r.o.c. no. 4886 of 1966 (b2), dated 26th september, 1967 relating to serial no. 2 of award statement no. 1 of 1967, dated 15th march, 1967. even though the land acquisition officer (sub-collector, mettur) made mention that the claimants wanted enhanced compensation and referred the matter to the subordinate judge's court, under section 18 and section 31(2) of the land acquisition act it is clear from the records that only claimants 1 and 2 questioned the compensation awarded by the land acquisition officer and also raised a dispute with regard to the ownership of the land acquired by the government. as far as the third claimant is.....
Judgment:

P.R. Gokulakrishnan, J.

1. This appeal has been preferred by the State against the Judgment in O.P. No. 148 of 1967 on the file of the Subordinate Judge, Salem, awarding enhanced compensation to the respondents in respect of the lands acquired -in Karuppur Village, Omalur Taluk. O.P. No. 148 of 1967 arises out of the reference made by the Land Acquisition Officer, (Sub-Collector, Mettur) in R.O.C. No. 4886 of 1966 (B2), dated 26th September, 1967 relating to serial No. 2 of award statement No. 1 of 1967, dated 15th March, 1967. Even though the Land Acquisition Officer (Sub-Collector, Mettur) made mention that the claimants wanted enhanced compensation and referred the matter to the Subordinate Judge's Court, under Section 18 and Section 31(2) of the Land Acquisition Act it is clear from the records that only claimants 1 and 2 questioned the compensation awarded by the Land Acquisition Officer and also raised a dispute with regard to the ownership of the land acquired by the Government. As far as the third claimant is concerned, she claimed only Rs. 100 per mensem as maintenance for her life. The 4th claimant contended that the lands were inalienable and as such they cannot be acquired and that the entire compensation should be deposited to its credit. Therefore, it is clear that the reference under section, 18 of the Act was made only at the instance of the first and second claimants and not at the instance of the third and fourth claimants before the Subordinate Judge's Court, Salem. The first claimant before the Sub-Court who is the first respondent herein is represented by his Advocate Mr. S. Rajaram. The second claimant is dead. The appellant has not taken steps to being the legal representatives of the second respondent-second claimant on record. The third respondent who is the third claimant though served is absent. The 4th claimant-4th respondent is represented by Mr. Hameed Mohideen. The lands acquired are 3.50 acres in S. No. 85/2 and 3.94 acres in survey No. 86/28 in Karuppur Village, Omalur Taluk, Salem District. The lands were acquired for the purpose of constructing a Government Engineering College at Salem. The Section 4(1) notification for acquiring these survey numbers along with survey Nos. 43/1, 45/3, 43/2, 44/3, 44/1 and 4522 was made on 5th August, 1964. It was claimed by claimants 1 and 2 before the Land Acquisition Officer that a sum of Rs. 20,000 per acre for irrigable lands, Rs. 10,000 per acre for un-irrigable lands, Rs. 12,000 for the well, Rs. 4,000 for the sheds and Rs. 5,195 for the cocoanut trees, should be fixed. The Land Acquisition Officer awarded Rs. 2,697 per acre for the irrigable lands, Rs. 1,913 for the un-irrigable lands, Rs. 8,050 for the well in S. No. 85/2, Rs. 180 for the shed in S. No. 85/2 and Rs. 2,825 for the cocoanut trees in S. No. 85/2 and Rs. 2,200 for the sheds in S. No. 86/2 and Rs. 370. for the cocoanut trees in S. No. 86/2. The Land Acquisition. Officer in arriving at these amounts of compensation, relied upon Exhibit B-2, dated 4th April, 1961 and Exhibit B-3, dated 29th May, 1961. In respect of the compensation awarded by the Land Acquisition Officer, the first claimant has filed a statement alleging that the compensation awarded is too low and that, it ought to have been awarded at the rate of Rs. 20,000 per acre for irrigable lands, Rs. 10,000 per acre for un-irrigable lands, Rs. 12,000 for the well, Rs. 4,000 for the sheds and Rs. 5,195 for the cocoanut trees, as claimed before the Land Acquisition Officer. The first claimant has also stated that he is in possession of the land for over 20 years and that he is the sole person entitled to compensation. The second claimant has adopted the statement of the first claimant regarding the rates and further centends that the other claimants have no right to receive the compensation amount. The third claimant doesnot dispute the value fixed by the Land Acquisition Officer and filed a statement alleging that she is entitled to maintenances at the rate of Rs. 100 per (sic) her life-time. The 4th claimant does not (sic) the value fixed by the Land Acquisition (sic) Officer and has contended that the (sic) has to be paid to the 4th claimant. (sic) claimant has filed an additional (sic) his right to the property which (sic) for the reference under section (sic) Act. On those statements made by (sic) respondent herein, the learned (sic) Salem, took up for determination (sic) as to whether the claimants are (sic) any enhanced compensation and (sic) to what amount. After discussing the (sic) value of different survey fields, the learned Subordinate Judge relying upon the market value fixed in O.P. No. 160 of 1965 (evidenced by Exhibit A-12, which, has been marked in this case) fixed the, compensation at the rate of Rs. 7,000 per acre for the irrigable lands and Rs. 3,430 per acre for the un-irrigable lands and confirmed the value as fixed by the Land Acquisition Officer in the award as far as the buildings, well, trees are concerned. Aggrieved by the compensation fixed by the Additional Subordinate Judge, Salem, as above, the State has preferred the present appeal.

2. The lands were acquired for the purpose of constructing Government Engineering College at Salem. Apart from the lands involved in this case, adjoining lands in Survey Nos. 43/1, 45/3, 43/2, 44/3, 44/1, and 45/2 were also acquired for the very same purpose and the Section 4(1) notification for all these lands was issued on the same day, i.e., 5th February, 1964. Against the award of compensation made by the Sub-Court, Salem, in respect of the lands in the above said survey numbers, in State of Madras, represented by the Spl. Tahsildar, Omalur v. Marimuthu and Ors. Appeal Nos. 176 to 183 of 1969, were preferred to this Court by the State. They were disposed of by Veeraswami, C.J., and Sethuraman, J., by their judgment, dated 20th February, 1975, confirming the compensation awarded by the Subordinate Judge, at the same rates mentioned above. It has been admitted before us that the lands acquired in this case are similarly situate as those lands involved in Appeal Nos. 176 to 183 of 1969 and those lands are adjacent to the lands acquired in this case, namely, S.F. Nos. 85/2 and 86/2. All these lands were acquired, as already stated, for the purpose of constructing Government Engineering College at Salem and Section 4(1) notification, dated 5th February, 1964 was issued in respect of all those lands. Hence we have absolutely no hesitation in coming to the conclusion that the compensation awarded by the learned Subordinate Judge in O.P. No. 148 of 1967 is correct and the same has to be confirmed. It is clear from the judgment of the Court below that the Sub-Court dealt only with the reference made under Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act in O.P. No. 148 of 1967, which is the subject-matter of the present appeal and as regards the question of ownership of the acquired lands which is also under dispute between the respondents herein, it is stated that the same is being agitated in a separate O.P. under Section 30 of the Act. It is clear from the facts of the case that Section 9 notices was issued to the respective claimants and except claimants 1 and 2 who are respondents 1 and 2 herein, the other claimants have not put forth any claim for enhanced compensation over and above the compensation awarded by the Land Acquisition Officer. Hence there cannot be any reference under Section 18 of the Act as far as respondents 3 and 4 are concerned. Since every one of the respondents has claimed absolute ownership in the lands acquired in himself, the Sub-Court has discussed the question of enhanced compensation claimed by respondents 1 and 2 herein and has awarded the enhanced compensation as stated supra. Section 25(1) of the Land Acquisition Act (I of 1894), reads:

(1) When the applicant has made a claim to compensation, pursuant to any notice given under Section 9, the amount awarded to him by the Court shall not exceed the amount so claimed t or be less than the amount awarded by the Collector under Section 11.

Section 25(2) reads as follows:

(2) When the applicant has refused to make such claim or has omitted without sufficient reason (to be allowed by the Judge) to make such claim, the amount awarded by the Court shall in no case exceed the amount awarded by the Collector.

So it is clear that persons who have not questioned the quantum of compensation awarded by the Land Acquisition Officer, are not entitled to get more than the amount fixed as compensation by the Land Acquisition Officer. This position has been made clear in the judgment reported in Dilawarsab Babusab Mullasab v. Special Land Acquisition Officer : AIR1974SC2333 , wherein/the Supreme Court has held:

In the circumstances we are not able to-hold that the High Court's judgment is un supportable though we feel it would have been better if the High Court had written a more reasoned judgment. Considering also the fact that in three of them appeals at least he parties had not appeared before the Land Acquisition Officer and put forward any specific amount as the compensation due they would not have' been entitled to any compensation higher than what was awarded by the Land Acquisition Officer.

Miss. Vimala, the Government Advocate brought to our notice a judgment rendered by Padmanabhan, J., in K. Ramaswami Reddiar v. Special Tahsildar (South Arcot District) A.S. No. 31 of 1975 dated 9th January, 1978, wherein the learned Judge refused to accede to the request of the Government when it was represented that inasmuch as the claimant did not specify the amount of compensation which he demanded in response to the notice received by him under Section 9(1) of the Act, the appellant is not entitled to claim any amount higher than the amount awarded by the Land Acquisition Officer. Reading the judgment it is clear that the Government has not taken up this plea either before the Sub-Court or in the grounds of appeal before the High Court. Even though that is the case even in this appeal, the learned Judge in A.S. No. 31 of 1975 has specifically stated that the Government had failed to prove that the claimants have received the notice under Section 9 and if the Government have taken this plea before the Court below the claimants would have had an opportunity for objecting to the contentions raised by the State. Thus the judgment rendered by Padmanabhan, J., even though clearly stated that the provisions under Section 25 of the Act is penal in nature, still refused to accept the contention of the State inasmuch as the State had not proved that notice under Section 9 has been issued to the claimants concerned. As far as the present case is concerned, it is clear from the award given by the Land Acquisition Officer that notice under Section 9 of the Act had been issued to the respondents herein. All those respondents have also filed statements before the learned Subordinate Judge regarding their contentions on the question of ownership of the land. Thus it is clear that claimants 3 and 4 had notice and in spite of such a notice they never put forth their claim for enhanced compensation, nor asked for a reference under Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act. On the other hand, claimants 1 and 2 who are respondents 1 and 2 have asked for such a reference and also claimed enhanced compensation. Section 25(2) of the Land Acquisition Act is a clear bar to award enhanced compensation to those persons who have not put forth their claim for enhanced compensation.

3. In Kesava Gounder v. Rajan : (1976)1MLJ56 , Justice Ramaprasada Rao, as he then was and Justice Natarajan, have held:

Thus, it is now settled that pure questions of law, though not pleaded, unless waived by parties, can in the discretion of the appellate Court, be permitted to be raised even at the appellate stage, provided sufficient opportunity is given to the other side and no fresh investigation or dealing into facts are undertaken. If a question of law does arise on the facts, but it went unnoticed by both the parties and even so by the trial Judge, there is a legal, indeed a conscious duty on the part of the appellate Court either suo motu or on its attention being drawn to it to adjudge upon such a question, even though it is brought up for the first time, and no doubt inordinate delay in the discovery of such a question by the parties may be a ground for the appellate Court to be cautious in the matter of the exercise of its discretion in favour of such a lachy litigant.

The question as to whether a person who has not put forward his claim under Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act, is entitled to get enhanced compensation, is a pure question of law and as such we are of the view that claimants 3 and 4 who have not put forward their claim under Section 18, cannot have any right to get the enhanced compensation awarded by the learned Subordinate Judge, Salem. We have already observed that respondents 3 and 4 had sufficient notice under Section 9 and in spite of that they have failed to put forth their claim for enhanced compensation.

4. Taking all these aspects into consideration, we are of the view that the learned Subordinate Judge is correct in awarding the compensation. We have1 already stated that as far as claimants 1 and 2 are concerned, they alone will be entitled to the enhanced compensation if in the reference made under Section 30 of the Act, the Court declares their entitlement to receive the same. As far as claimants 3 and 4 are concerned, they are not entitled to put forth their claim for any enhanced compensation.

5. It is stated that a separate O.P. is pending as regards the question of ownership of the lands acquired in this appeal. To the extent to which respondents 3 and 4 were able to succeed in the said petition, they will not be entitled to get enhanced compensation awarded by the Subordinate Judge; but they will be entitled only to get their rights in the compensation awarded by the Land Acquisition Officer. As far as claimants 1 and 2 are concerned, they will be entitled to the enhanced compensation to the extent of their success in the O.P. in which a reference has been made under Section 30 of the Act. We refrain from saying anything with regard to the merits of the said claim. With the above observations and holding that the enhanced compensation fixed by the learned Subordinate Judge is correct, the appeal is dismissed with costs of the first respondent alone.


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