P. Ramakrishnan, J.
1. The short question for consideration in these Writ petitions is whether the petitioner's application to the Collector (who had pasted an award under the Land Acquisition Act) for the purpose of making a reference to the civil Court under Section 18 of the Act, was in time. The petitioner took the stand that though she had filed a claim regarding the amount of compensation at the earlier stage of the award proceedings, she was not intimated about the passing of the award as required under Section 12 (2) of the Land Acquisition Act. The first time when she got intimation of the award was when she went to the Collector's Officer and received the compensation amount under protest on 23rd April, 1965. Treating that date as the earliest date when she had knowledge of the Collector's award she had 6 months' time thereafter to make the application under Section 18. She applied on 1st October, 1965 to the Collector to make the required reference. This was well within time. But the Collector rejected the application on the ground that a notice about the award under Section 12 (2) had been sent by post to the petitioner on 22nd March, 1965 and that therefore as her application was not submitted within 6 months thereafter it was time barred. In his counter-affidavit, the respondent, the Special Tahsildar, Land Acquisition, states that the above said notice was sent to the petitioner on 22nd March, 1965 by post, and, thereafter, she appeared in the office on 21st April, 1965, filed the relevant sale document and received the compensation amount without protest. The learned Counsel for the petitioner points out that, under Section 45 (3) proviso of the Land Acquisition Act, if the authorities decide to send the notice by post, they have to send it only by registered post and also file the postal acknowledgment as proof of service. The statement in the affidavit that the notice was sent by ordinary post would not suffice 'to meet this requirement. We are, therefore, left with the position that the petitioner's contention that she had knowledge of the award for the first time, only when she received the compensation amount on 23rd April, 1965, has not been effectively met in the counter-affidavit to show that she had earlier knowledge of the award, and that therefore her application for reference has to be treated as time-barred.
2. The Supreme Court in State or Punjab v. Qaiser Jehan Begum : 1SCR971 , has clearly laid down that for the purpose of applying the six months rule of limitation, in Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act, what is crucial is the date when the affected party has knowledge for the first time of the essential contents of the award. Only if it is shown that the affected party had knowledge of the essential contents of the award on a particular date can the six months bar of time be applied against the party by counting from the date of such knowledge. Here, as mentioned already, the petitioner's contention that she had such knowledge only on 23rd April, 1965 has not been effectively rebutted.
3. The writ petitions have, therefore, to be allowed as prayed for. A direction will issue to the respondent to take up the petitioner's application for making a reference and make the required reference to the civil Court under Section 18 of the Act. No order as to costs.