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Marwadi Padmaji Miachand and ors. Vs. This Deputy Collector of Adeni - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtChennai
Decided On
Judge
Reported in24Ind.Cas.141
AppellantMarwadi Padmaji Miachand and ors.
RespondentThis Deputy Collector of Adeni
Cases ReferredForiegn Affairs v. Charlesworth Filling
Excerpt:
land acquisition act (i of 1894), sections 11, 19(1)(d) and 23 - award by collector--contested in civil court--burden of proof--market--value-basis of valuation--value of neighbouring lands. - .....the value of the market rates must be taken into account.3. the leases on which the value of the land acquired is calculated are numerous and it is necessary to keep the basis actually adopted clear, and not to shift the point of view. two leases seem to have been alluded to in the argument. one is that of the prices fetched by the sale of lands in the same locality at or about the time of the declaration. the other basis is that of classifying the lands acquired as building sites or agricultural sites. the latter method of valuation seems to us to be in appropriate to the present case, as we have no sure foundation on which to proceed after it has been determined whether the lands ought to be classed as building sites or not.4. we, therefore, fall back on the former method of.....
Judgment:

1. We have been greatly assisted by the learned District Judge's careful analysis of all the evidence in the case, but there is nothing to show on what basis the calculation of the valuation of the (sic)nds is based. The award of the Deputy Collector does not contain any reasons, and in our opinion the remarks of the Calcutta High Court in Harish Chunder Neogy v. Secretary of State for India in Council 11 C.W.N. 875 are applicable in this case. They say : 'Now, the ordinary rule of onus probandi in these cases is that the claimant (who is a plaintiff) must prove that the valuation made by the Collector is insufficient. The theory is that the Collector in arriving at his award performs administrative and quasi-judicial functions. He may take evidence and come to a conclusion on such evidence. The award under Section 11 of the Act becomes final, if it is not challenged within a definite time before the tribunal of the special Judge, and that Judge, therefore, fills the position to some extent of an Appellate Court. The burden of proof is thus ordinarily on the claimant in the Court of the Special Judge, but the burden must vary according to the nature of the enquiry made by the Collector. If no evidence has been taken by the Collector, and if no reasons have been given in his decision to support his conclusion, the claimant has a very light burden to discharge. The mere ipse dixit of a Collector has very little weight, and is not prima facie evidence of the correctness of his award. Instances are not uncommon where the Collector has not given the grounds on which the amount of compensation was determined by him, and the legal result of his failure to comply with the provisions of Section 19(1)(d) of the Act is to make it incumbent on the Collector to justify before the Special Judge, an award which is a mere brutem fulmen'. It seems to us that it is necessary to have some affirmative basis for valuing the land and it is not satisfactory to proceed on the ground that the claim put forward is manifestly too high and, therefore, to decide that the Deputy Collector's award must stand.

2. One point of general importance was alluded to at the outset with which we think it desirable to deal before we consider the evidence of value which is before us. It was argued that the probability that the Municipality would acquire some lands near the town of Adeni was known long before the notification. This fact is alluded to by the learned District Judge in paragraph 8 of his judgment and we accept it as a finding. This fact, however, does not alter the necessity for our valuing the land at its market-value at the date of the publication of the declaration under the Land Acquisition Act, Section 23(1), first clause, notwithstanding that the market-value may have been affected by speculations as to land development in the town. Adopting the language of their Lordships of the Privy Council, speculations as to the effects which any suggested development may produce on prices must be excluded, except to the extent to which it is shown that such speculations had actually entered into the market price of the land to be acquired, at the date of the declaration [Secretary of State for Foriegn Affairs v. Charlesworth Filling & Co. 26 B. 28 : 28 I.A. 121.]. Where, however, the speculations are based on a hope that those lands may themselves be acquired which are in the market, from the prices paid for which lands the market price of the lands actually acquired is sought to be decided, in such cases the speculative value, so paid, may for obvious reasons be of little assistance in arriving at the valuation of the market-value of the lands acquired. But where it is known that there will be some scheme of development and it is hoped that the scheme will enhance the value of the lands not actually acquired, there can be no doubt that such enhancement in the value of the market rates must be taken into account.

3. The leases on which the value of the land acquired is calculated are numerous and it is necessary to keep the basis actually adopted clear, and not to shift the point of view. Two leases seem to have been alluded to in the argument. One is that of the prices fetched by the sale of lands in the same locality at or about the time of the declaration. The other basis is that of classifying the lands acquired as building sites or agricultural sites. The latter method of valuation seems to us to be in appropriate to the present case, as we have no sure foundation on which to proceed after it has been determined whether the lands ought to be classed as building sites or not.

4. We, therefore, fall back on the former method of valuation, the prices paid for similar lands. Various documents were produced in the Court on behalf of the claimants. We agree with the learned Judge that for the reason given by him all the documents which are passed by Hanchaji in favour of previous purchasers are an uncertain guide, not necessarily because they are fraudulent transactions but because the prices given for the plots sold were affected by many circumstances of too speculative a nature to be capable of being adequately weighed in arriving at a market-value of the land. But even assuming that all the documents to which we have referred above should be omitted from consideration, as of too little value or of a value too difficult to be capable of being calculated, still there are some sales which cannot be neglected. We refer to the sales evidenced by Exhibits Z and L and the sales of which evidence was given by the Collector. Out of these we consider Exhibits III, IV and XXI to offer the safest guides that are available and after making all allowances for the circumstances referred to by the learned District Judge in paragraph 21 of his judgment and which have been relied upon during arguments before us, we think that the lands in Survey Nos. 33/2, 33/1, 38 and 34, should be valued at a somewhat higher rate than the rates paid in the exhibits just referred to. These survey numbers are nearer to the town and more accessible. On this basis we think that a proper valuation for these survey numbers would be at Rs. 450 per acre.

5. As regards the other survey numbers, namely, survey Nos. 31 and 32, these are less accessible and they cannot be used as building sites until the road is completed, which will be an expensive process as appears from page 120, line 421 of the printed documents. We consider that they should be valued at Rs. 300 per acre.

6. These valuations do not include the 15 per cent. allowed for compulsory purchase under the Land Acquisition Act, Section 23 : nor the interest which must be added under Section 34 both of which will be calculated on the excess awarded under our judgment.

7. As regards referred Case No. 10 we see no reason to increase the amount awarded.

8. There is no doubt that the claims in these cases have been extravagant and we think that these are proper cases for bringing Section 27(2) of the Land Acquisition Act into play. Taking into consideration all the circumstances, we make the following order as to costs without disturbing the order as to costs in the lower Court.

9. Appeal No. 261 of 1912

10. We order that the appellant should pay half the costs of the Government in this Court.

11. Appeals Nos. 262, 263 and 213 of 1912, we think, stand on somewhat different footing. There were purchases by the claimants themselves in these cases for .considerations somewhat nearer to their claims and though these purchases may not have been such as to afford a basis for valuation we think they should be borne in mind in awarding costs. There will be no orders as to costs of these appeals--each party bearing his own costs.

12. Appeal No. 264 of 1912 will be dismissed with costs.

13. The decrees will be satisfied by the Secretary of State for India within three months of this date.


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