1. This Rule is directed against the Order of the President of the Calcutta Improvement Tribunal, dated 20th September 1940, in which he directed that compensation to the extent of Rs. 8650 should be paid by the Province of Bengal in respect of some trees which stood on a plot of land which was the subject-matter of certain acquisition proceedings.
2. On 13th July 1987, the opposite party filed a claim pursuant to a notice under section 9, Land Acquisition Act. Therein no compensation was specifically claimed on account of trees or crops. On 28th July he filed another application in which he stated that the compensation payable in respect of the trees and crops on the acquired land would amount to Rs. 2800. The award of the Collector is dated 19th November 1937 and, according to this award, the sum of Rs. 400 was given to the claimant in respect of the trees standing on the land. We are not concerned with that part of the award, which related to compensation for land and buildings and was accepted by the claimant. Subsequently on 7th December 1937 an application was made to the Collector for reference to the Court under the provisions of section 18, Land Acquisition Act, and at that stage the claimant stated that he should be paid Rs. 1500 as compensation for the trees. After the matter had come before the Court, the claimant was allowed to amend his application and to claim compensation for the trees to the extent of RS. 10,000 in place of the sum of Rs. 1500 which he had previously mentioned in his application dated 7th December 1937. The parties then adduced evidence before the tribunal and, after considering this evidence, the learned President came to the conclusion that the fair market value of the trees at the material time was Rs. 8650.
3. Mr. Ghose on behalf of the Province of Bengal contends that the tribunal had no jurisdiction to allow the claimant to amend his application after the matter had come before the Court. In support of this argument the learned advocate places considerable reliance on the terms of section 18, Land Acquisition Act. The material portion of this section reads as follows:
Any person interested who has not accepted the award may, by written application to the Collector, require that the matter be referred by the Collector tor the determination of the Court, whether his objection be to the measurement of the land, the amount of the compensation, the persons to whom it is payable, or the apportionment of the compensation among the persons interested.
4. One point that has to be determined in connexion with the interpretation of section 18(l), Land Acquisition Act, is what the Legislature really meant by the words 'require that the matter be referred by the Collector for the determination of the Court.' In my view, these words merely mean that the point on which the Collector's award is disputed may be referred to the Court at the instance of a claimant. When such a dispute has been referred to the Court, the scope of the enquiry before the Court should, I think, be limited within the bounds of the dispute which had actually arisen before the Collector. In this particular case when the question of the valuation of the trees was first raised before the Collector the valuation suggested by the claimant was Rs. 2800 but the amount claimed was subsequently limited at the instance of the claimant to Rs. 1500. It follows, therefore, that the only matter which was referred for the determination of the Court was whether the trees should be valued at Rs. 400 or at Rs. 1500 and, on the principles laid down by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in Pramathanath Mallik v. Secretary of State the Court had no power to consider anything beyond what had actually been referred to it. In these circumstances, I do not think that it was open to the Court to allow the claimant to amend his application after the matter had come before the tribunal, because the amendment had the effect of placing before the Court for determination a matter which had not actually been referred to it within the meaning of section 18(1), Land Acquisition Act.
5. Mr. Gupta for the opposite party places considerable reliance on a decision of the Madras High Court in Revenue Divisional Officer, Vizagapatam v. Vyricherla Narayana Gajapati-raju : AIR1937Mad902 That decision is, however, merely an authority for the proposition that, on a reference to the Court under section 18, Land Acquisition Act, in a proper case the Court has jurisdiction to consider the effect of a valuation made on a different basis from that which had been adopted before the Collector. It appears that the case in Pramathanath Mallik v. Secretary of State had been cited before the learned Judges of the Madras High Court, but with regard to this case they pointed out that:
As their Lordships said, once it is ascertained that the only objection taken is to the'amount of compensation, that alone is the 'matter' referred, and the Court has no power to determine or consider anything beyond it. This, however, does not amount to a decision that, when an objection to the amount of compensation has been taken, theCourt has no jurisdiction to work out the amount of compensation in a manner different from that which has been adopted in the statement of objections.
The case in Revenue Divisional Officer, Vizagapatam v. Vyricherla Narayana Gajapati-raju : AIR1937Mad902 above cited is clearly distinguishable from that with which we are now dealing, and in my opinion is of no assistance to Mr. Gupta as there is no question in the present ease of adopting a different basis of calculation in respect of the compensation awarded to the claimant for the trees standing on the acquired land.
6. Mr. Gupta, however, urges that, in any event, it is not competent for this Court to interfere in revision with the decision of the tribunal. In support of this argument he has referred us to section 71(d), Calcutta Improvement Act, 1911, which is to the effect that the award of the tribunal should be deemed to be the award of the Court under the said Land Acquisition Act, 1894, and 'shall be final.' It was, however, provided in the Calcutta Improvement (Appeals) Act, 1911, that certain decisions of the Calcutta Improvement Tribunal should be subject to an appeal to the High Court. Mr. Gupta's contention is that all decisions of the tribunal must be regarded as final except in so far as an appeal may be allowed under the provisions of the Calcutta Improvement (Appeals) Act, (Act 18 of 1911), and, according to him, it would follow that, as no appeal lies in the present case, the decision of the tribunal is final and not subject to revision. I am not prepared to accept this argument, as it is clear that Act 18 of 1911 by allowing an appeal from the tribunal to the High Court had the effect of making the tribunal a Court subordinate to this Court within the meaning of section 115, Civil P.C. It follows that in a suitable case it is competent for this Court to interfere in revision with a decision such as that with which we are now concerned. In my view, the tribunal acted beyond the scope of its jurisdiction in allowing the claimant to amend his application by increasing his claim in respect of the trees to a figure far beyond that which he claimed at any stage before the Collector.
7. Mr. Ghose asks us to remand this matter to the Court below for further enquiry as to the correct valuation which in any event should not exceed the sum of Rs. 1500. We are, however, not prepared to direct a remand. Evidence was adduced before the Court below with regard to the valuation of the trees, and, in view of this fact and the circumstances of the case generally, we think it sufficient to direct that the claimant should receive compensation in respect of the trees to the extent of Rs. 1500. The Rule is accordingly made absolute. The result is that the award of the Collector will be enhanced from Rs. 400 to Rs. 1500 with 15 per cent, statutory allowance, the whole of which will bear interest at the rate of 6 per cent, per annum from the date of the Collector's taking possession. The Province of Bengal will be entitled to their costs of this application to be realised from Mr. Gupta's client. The hearing-fee is assessed at three gold mohurs.
8. I agree.