P.N. Mookerjee, J.
1. This Rule was obtained by the petitioner, who was the referring claimant in this Reference under Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act.
2. The objection was really to the apportionment of the compensation, awarded by the Collector. The disputed award of the Collector appears to have been made under serial No. 134 in favour of 8 persons the petitioner being excluded.
3. The petitioner's case is that he did not receive any notice of this acquisition proceeding and, accordingly, could not lodge his claim before the Collector, although he was interested in 1/8th share of the acquired plot, or in other words, in l/8th share of the compensation money awarded.
4. In his petition for Reference, the petitioner appears to have made specific reference to the award under serial No. 134 as the disputed award but omitted to name one of the awardees in whose favour the said joint award of the Collector was made. When the matter came up before the learned Land Acquisition Judge, this omitted person, whose name is Ram Karan Ahir, appears to have received notice and entered appearance along with the other awardees by the same vakalatnamah and applied for time to file objection, on several occasions, along with them. Eventually, however, when objection was actually filed onbehalf of the awardees, he did not join the other awardees and did not file any; objection and the objection was filed by the other awardees only, who were seven in number. In the said objection, a point was taken that the Reference would be incompetent as Ram Karan Ahir had not been impleaded therein. In view of this objection, an application was made for, inter alia, adding Ram Karan Ahir as a party to the Reference. This prayer of the petitioner was rejected by the Learned Land Acquisition Judge and, against that order, the instant Rule was obtained by the petitioner.
5. As we look into the Reference, we find that, although, due to what appears to be inadvertence or typographical error, the name of Ram Karan Ahir was omitted in the petition of Reference, made by the petitioner, under Section 18 of t Land Acquisition Act, in substance, the said application challenged the joint award under serial No. 134, which included the award in favour of this person too. We find also, as stated above, that this Ram Karan Ahir appeared along with the other joint awardees, apparently upon receipt of notice, by the same vakalatnamah, and prayed for time on several occasions to file objection, although eventually, he did not file any objection and left it to the other awardees to file the same. In these circumstances, it appears to us that the Reference, claimed by the petitioner, was, in substance, a Reference against the joint award in favour of the awardees, including Ram Karan Ahir, under serial No, 134 and his objection was, in substance, to the award in his favour top. Upon this view, there can be no objection to his addition by the learned Land Acquisition Judge on the ground that the scope of the Reference would be enlarged by such addition and there would be no violation of either Section 20 or 21 of the Land Acquisition Act.
6. It is well established that the Land Acquisition Judge has power to add parties or allow amendment of a Reference application provided the scope of the Reference is not enlarged and the above statutory provisions, namely, the two Sections 20 and 21, are not violated.
7. In the premises, we feel that, in the circumstances of this case, the petitioner's application for amendment of the Reference by adding Ram Karan Ahir as opposite party No. 8, should be allowed and should have been allowed by the learned Land Acquisition Judge.
8. We may add here that, although notice of this Rule was served on Ram Karan Ahir, he has not appeared to object to his addition and this in the context of his appearance and acting before the Court below jointly with the other awardees, is an additional circumstance. which will show that all the parties interested in this proceeding fully understood that the above Reference was against Ram Karan Ahir too.
9. We would, accordingly, make this Rule absolute, set aside the order of the learned Land Acquisition Judge, rejecting the petitioner's prayer for addition of Ram Karan Ahir, as aforesaid, and direct that the said Ram Karan Ahir be added as an opposite party to the Reference, as prayed for by the petitioner, and the Reference be heard out thereafter in accordance with law.
10. There will be no order for cost in this Rule.
11. Let the records go down as quickly as possible.
S.K. Chakkavarti, J.