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Special Deputy Collector, Land Acquisition, Defence Equipment Factory Vs. Karuppayee Ammal and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported inAIR1976Mad215; (1975)2MLJ248
AppellantSpecial Deputy Collector, Land Acquisition, Defence Equipment Factory
RespondentKaruppayee Ammal and ors.
Cases ReferredPunjab State v. Ms. Lachhman Dass Mukand Lal
Excerpt:
- .....herein, situate in palanganangudi village in triuchirapalli district, and acquired under the land acquisition act for the defence equipment factory, timchirapalli. those lands were acquired pursuant to the notification under section 4(1) of the land acquisition act, dated 4th december, 1963. in all these cases, the land acquisition officer awarded compensation at the rate of rs. 4 per cent. the court, on references made under section 18 of the land acquisition act, enhanced the same to rs, 5-50 per cent. in three cases, namely, a.s. no. 200 of 1969, a.s. no. 203 of 1969 and a.s. no. 205 of 1969, in addition to the compensation for the lands at the rate mentioned above, the court also awarded compensation for the wells situate in the respective lands in question at the rate of rs......
Judgment:

M.M. Ismail, J.

1. These appeals are by the State and they have been preferred against the judgment and decrees of the learned Principal Subordinate Judge of Tiruchirapalli in O.P. Nos. 176 to 184 and 186 of 1966, respectively. They are concerned with the question as to proper compensation payable in respect of the lands belonging to the respondents herein, situate in Palanganangudi village in Triuchirapalli district, and acquired under the Land Acquisition Act for the Defence Equipment Factory, Timchirapalli. Those lands were acquired pursuant to the notification under Section 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act, dated 4th December, 1963. In all these cases, the Land Acquisition Officer awarded compensation at the rate of Rs. 4 per cent. The Court, on references made under Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act, enhanced the same to Rs, 5-50 per cent. In three cases, namely, A.S. No. 200 of 1969, A.S. No. 203 of 1969 and A.S. No. 205 of 1969, in addition to the compensation for the lands at the rate mentioned above, the Court also awarded compensation for the wells situate in the respective lands in question at the rate of Rs. 1,308-35, Rs. 1,358-35 and Rs. 1,340-02 respectively. In these appeals, the enhancement of the compensation from Rs. 4 to Rs. 5-50 per cent, as well as the award of compensation for the wells in the lands involved in the three appeals referred to above are being challenged.

2. The first point that is taken with regard to the enhancement of compensation is that the claimants themselves in the enquiry held pursuant to the notice under Section 9 of the Land Acquisition Act, agreed to receive compensation at the rate of Rs. 4/ per cent., that in view of that, it is not open to them to claim any enhanced compensation and that equally it is not open to the Court to enhance the compensation in exercise of its powers on a reference under Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act. Having regard to the facts of these cases as well as the legal position, this stand of the State is well-founded. Exhibit B-2 is a statement given by Karuppayeeammal, the claimant in O.P. No. 176 of 1966 and the respondent in A.S. No. 197 of 1969, before the Land Acquisition Officer on 24th July, 1964 agreeing to receive compensation at Rs. 400 per acre. Exhibit B-3 dated 24th July, 1964 is a statement given by Janaki Ammal, claimant in O.P. No. 181 of 1966 and respondent in A.S. No. 202 of 1969, before the Land Acquisition Officer agreeing to receive compensation at the rate of Rs. 400 per acre. Exhibit B-4 dated 24th July, 1964 is a similar statement give by the claimant in O.P. No. 182 of 1966 and respondent in A.S. No. 203 of 1969. Exhibit B-5 dated 24th July, 1954 : is a similar statement given by the claimant in O.P. No. 183 of 1966 and respondent in A.S. No. 204 of 1969. Exhibit B-6 dated 24th, July 1964 is a similar statement given by the claimant in O.P. No. 184 of 1966 and respondent in A.S. No. 205 of 1969 and Exhibit B-7 dated 24th July, 1964 is a similar statement given by the claimant in O.P. No. 186 of 1966 and respondent in A.S. No. 206 of 1909. In the other four cases no such statement recorded from the claimants has been produced before the Court. On the other hand in the statements of the Land Acquisition Officer made to the Court, it was expressly stated that in all these cases at the time of the award enquiry on 24th July, 1964, the interested persons had agreed to the rate of Rs. 400 per acre. when the Land Acquisition Officer informed them of the above rate at which compensation was proposed to be paid to the landowners. Even in the awards passed by the Land Acquisition Officer, it is clearly and categorically mentioned that the interested persons had agreed to the rate of Rs. 400 per acre. Notwithstanding this in the claim statements made by the claimants before the Court, they did not dispute the correctness of the statement contained in the awards as well as the statements forwarded by the Land Acquisition Officer to the Court stating that the interested persons had agreed to receive compensation at the rate of Rs. 400 per acre. Consequently, the position before the learned Principal Subordinate Judge was that in all these cases the claimants had agreed at the time of the award enquiry, to receive compensation at the rate of Rs. 400 per acre and therefore Section 25 (1) of the Land Acquisition Act came into operation.

3. According to that statutory provision, Section 25 (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 or be less than the amount awarded by the Collector under Section 11. Prima facie in view of this statutory provision, the learned Principal Subordinate Judge had no right to award compensation at the rate of Rs. 5-50 per cent as against. Rs. 4 per cent fixed by the Land Acquisition Officer and agreed to by the claimants. However, Mr. P. Raghaviah, learned Counsel for the respondents-claimants in these cases, put forward two contentions before me. One is that the said point was not argued before the learned Principal Subordinate Judge and it has not also been taken in the grounds of appeals before this Court and that therefore the appellant should not be allowed to raise the same at this stage. The second which is more or less a corollary to the first is that the failure on the part of the appellant to urge that point before the learned Principal Subordinate Judge must be taken to be a waiver on the part of the appellant to put forward such a claim. I am unable to accept either of these contentions of the learned Counsel for the respondents. A Bench of this Court in State of Madras v. Alamelnthayammal and Ors. : AIR1970Mad184 had occasion to consider this question and with reference to the language of Section 25(1) of the Land Acquisition Act, the Bench has pointed out that under Sub-clause (1) of Section 25 of the Act, the Court has no jurisdiction to award anything more than what has been claimed pursuant to any notification given an under Section 9 of the Act. Consequently, if the matter is one of jurisdiction, the fact that the appellant had not argued the point before the lower Court would not clothe the Court with the jurisdiction to do something which, it is prohibited from doing by the statutory provisions themselves. As I have pointed out : already, the factual basis was there before the Court and all that could be said was that the legal position based upon that factual position was not argued before the lower Court. Once it is held that the lower Court has no jurisdiction to enhance the compensation in view of the fact that the claimants themselves have agreed to receive compensation at the rate of Rs. 4 per cent., the mere fact that that point was not argued specifically before the lower Court will not enable or empower the learned Principal Subordinate Judge to enhance the compensation.

4. With regard to the second aspect, a Bench of the Punjab High Court in Punjab State v. Ms. Lachhman Dass Mukand Lal, sons of L. Surjan Mal A.I.R. 1964 Pun. 68 observed:

The next question that requires to be settled is whether the objection on the basis of Section 25 of the Act should be deemed to have been waived by the State and, therefore, the State is not entitled to raise this objection at this stage. Section 25 prescribed rules as to amount of compensation. I have already held that this provision is mandatory and there is no option left with the Court but to give effect to it. The provisions of Section 25 really limit the jurisdiction of the Court in the matter of enhancement of compensation and thus there can be no question of waiver of these provisions. A Court cannot do what the statute expressly forbids. Neither by consent nor by waiver the mandatory provisions of the statute can be either modified or waived. Therefore, in my view, no question o waiver can arise. It is a statutory duty which is cast on the Court and effect must be given to it.

Consequently, notwithstanding the fact that there was no specific contention advanced before the trial Court, on the basis of the factual position referred to above, the Court had no jurisdiction whatever to enhance the compensation from Rs. 4 per cent to Rs. 5-50 per cent.

5. The second point raised in three of the appeals is about the value for the wells awarded by the learned Principal Subordinate Judge. The learned Principal Subordinate Judge has pointed out in paragraph 10 of his judgment that even the award proceedings clearly showed that the amounts referred to above had been spent for the digging of the wells in the respective survey numbers. Section Nos. 129 3, 129 2 and 139/3. The awards themselves showed that the amounts in question were borrowed by the respective claimants from the Government under the New Well Subsidy Scheme. If so, the inference is irresistible that the said amounts borrowed by the respective claimants from the Government under the New Well Subsidy Scheme were spent by them in digging the wells and that consequently they were entitled at least to the said amounts by way of compensation. Therefore, the award of the amounts referred to above for the wells involved in the three appeals, namely, A.S. Nos. 200, 203 and 205 of 1969 cannot be challenged.

6. The result is, A.S. Nos. 200 203, and 205 of 1969 are allowed in part and the other appeals, namely, A.S. Nos. 197 to 199, 201, 202, 204 and 206 of 1969 are allowed in full and the enhancement of compensation ordered by the learned Subordinate Judge from Rs. 4 per cent to Rs. 5-50 per cent is set aside and the value filed by the Land Acquisition Officer will stand restored The award of compensation for the wells involved in A.S. Nos. 200, 203 and 205 of 1969 will stand. There will be no order as to costs, in any of the appeals.


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