Arun K. Mukherjea, J.
1. These arc two cross-appeals from the decision dated 29th July. 1964 of the Land Acquisition Judge, Alipore in a reference under Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act (hereinafter referred to as the said Act). Premises No. 7, Hazra Road (hereinafter referred to as the said premises) was acquired under the Land Acquisition Act for the purpose of establishment of an educational institution. The relevant notification under Section 4 of the said Act was published on 22nd October, 1959. The Collector gave his award under Section 11 of the said Act on 25th March, 1961. The premises in question contained land measuring about 1 bigha 8 cottahs 15 chittacks and certain structures. The Collector awarded Rs. 1,93,881.25 np. for the land, Rs. 1,13,300.00 for the structures, Rupees 120.00 for the trees and Rs. 46,095.19 as statutory allowance aggregating Rupees 3,53,396.44 np. In making the reference under Section 18 the Collector states that the value of land was determined on the basis of sales in the locality at the material time and the structures were valued at market rates prevailing at the material time. The persons interested in the land were dissatisfied with the Collector's award and a reference was made as aforesaid under Section 18 to the Special Land Acquisition Judge, Alipore. At the time of hearing of the reference the owners produced a Chartered Surveyor and Valuer as witness and also another witness on their behalf. On behalf of the Collector a Surveyor and Valuer attached to the Land Acquisition Office, Calcutta gave evidence. The claim of the referring claimants before the Special Land Acquisition Judge was as follows:--
Value of structures.
In other words the claimants claimed Rs. 4,49,365.00 less Rs. 3,07,181.25 np. i.e. Rs. 1,42,183.75 in addition to what the Collector had allowed for the land and the structures. Adding to this the statutory allowance for the additional amount, namely, Rs. 21,327-56, the net claim of the claimants before the learned Land Acquisition Judge came to Rs. 1,63,511.31 np. The learned Land Acquisition Judge awarded Rs. 2.08.580.00 for the land and Rupees 1,28,400.00 for the structures. So far as the value of the trees is concerned there was no dispute before the learned Judge and the Collector's award of Rs. 120.00 was sustained. Therefore, the learned Land Acquisition Judge made a total award of Rupees 3,37,100.00. On this, of course, the learned Land Acquisition Judge allowed 15% statutory allowance.
2. Both parties were aggrieved by the above decision of the learned Land Ac-qusition Judge and appealed from that decision to this Court. Appeal No. 666 of 1965 was the appeal filed by the referring claimants while appeal No. 797 of 1965 was the appeal filed by Government. We heard both these appeals together. At the time of hearing Mr. Chatterjee appearing for the referring claimants claimed that the value for the land should be Rs. 2,61,500.00 and the value for the structures should be Rupees 1,42,500.00. We shall deal with them one by one.
3. The disputed land has two road frontages : on the south of it is Hazra Road, on its north Nafar Kundu Road. The expert valuer who gave evidence on behalf of the referring claimants adopted belting method for determining the value of the land. There was no complaint on either side so far as this belting method is concerned. There was some difference only as to the method of treating and valuing the lands of different belts. The valuer who gave evidence on behalf of the referring claimants took 100 ft. as the depth of the first belt from Hazra Road and the same depth for the first belt from Nafar Kundu Road. The land which intervened between the first belt from Hazra Road and the first belt from Nafar Kundu Road and which measured 2.67 cottahs was treated as the second belt from Hazra Road. There was a small recessed land in the first belt from Hazra Road frontage as well as a small recessed land in the first belt from Nafar Kundu Road frontage. Following the usual practice the learned Land Acquisition Judge treated the recessed lands as 3/4th in value of the first belt land. So far as the second belt land is concerned the learned Land Acquisition Judge valued the second belt at the rate of 2/3rd of the first belt value. The total land area of 1 bigha 8 cottahs 15 chittacks was divided up by the learned Land Acquisition Judge in the following manner:--
Total area 28 k. 15 ch. -- 28.94 K. ('k' stands for 'cottah').
FromHazra Road Frontage
1st Belt Recess.
From Nafar Kundu Frontage.
These divisions into belts and recesses adopted by the learned Land Acquisition Judge were not seriously challenged by either party and, in any case, we are not inclined to interfere with the findings of fact of the learned Judge on these points. The learned Judge has clearly stated in his judgment how he calculated the belting spaces and the recesses and we find nothing wrong in such calculations.
4. Difficulty has arisen because we are not in possession of any documents of sales of lands facing Hazra Road near about the locality with which we are concerned. The Collector has stated in his reference that he valued the land on the basis of sales in the locality at the material time. But no evidence of sales of houses with Hazra Road frontage at the material time was produced before us. In fact, so far as Government is concerned no sale documents were produced at all. It is only the referring claimants who produced certain sale documents on which the expert valuer cited by the claimant relied at the time of giving evidence. The valuer considered four sale documents. One was a document dated 23rd August 1950 (Ext. 1) relating to premises Mo. 13/2A, Priya Nath Mallick Road with an area of 1 cottah 12 chittacks and 35 sq. ft. which was sold at the rate of Rs. 7000/-per cottah. It appears that the same premises was sold for the second time on 21st April, 1959 for a sum of Rs. 17000/-, i.e. to say, at the rate of about Rs. 9451/- per cottah. Ext. 1 (c) is the document of sale on the second occasion. There was also one sale document relating to 7/1/1B, Nafar Kundu Road measuring 2 cottah 5 chittacks and 39 sq. ft. This is Ext. 1 (a): the land in this document was sold at the rate of Rs. 7000/- per cottah. The document of sale concerning premises at 100 Beltala Road with an area of 5 cottahs 4 chittacks and 16 sq. ft. shows that the land was sold at the rate of Rs. 8000/- per cottah, Ext. 1 (b) is the relevant document. The learned Land Acquisition Judge on the basis of these documents came to fix the value of land at Nafar Kundu Road to be Rs. 8000/- per cottah at or about the time when the disputed premises was acquired. The learned Land Acquisition Judge very correctly made some allowance for the rise in price between the 1958 or 1958 and 1959 when the relevant notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquistion Act was published. The problem is one of determining the value of the Hazra Road land with reference to the value of the Nafar Kundu Road land. The valuer of the claimants suggested that there should be at least an increase of 50% upon the value of Nafar Kundu Road land before we can ascertain the reasonable value of the Hazra Road land. On this basis the value of the first belt unit from the Hazra Road frontage should be Rs. 12000/- per cottah. The learned Land Acquisition Judge observes that since the disputed premises is a south-facing plot and since the premises is also very conveniently located it was very reasonable to raise the value of Nafar Kundu Road land to find the value of the land at Hazra Road. The learned Land Acquisition Judge has assessed the value of the Hazra Road land at Rs. 10,000/- per cottah for the first belt. In determining the value of the land intervening the two first belts from the north and the south, the learned Land Acquisition Judge has considered that portion of the land to be second belt from Nafar Kundu Road as well as second belt from Hazra Road. He has, therefore, valued the land by averaging the two values obtained by considering it first as a Nafar Kundu Road land and then as Hazra Road land. On this basis the value of the second belt was taken at the rate of 2/3rd of Rs. 9000/- per cottah.
5. The learned Land Acquisition Judge has made a deduction of 15% for the value of the acquired land on the ground that the area concerned is very large and there should be some deduction.
6. On the basis of these calculations the learned Land Acquisition Judge got the value of Rs. 2,08,580/- as the value of the land.
7. Mr. Chatterjee appearing for the referring claimants has made three grievances. First, he says, the Hazra Road land should not have been valued at a price which is only 25% higher than the lands on Nafar Kundu Road. According to him the difference should have been much more. Secondly, he complained that the land intervening the first belt of Hazra Road frontage and the first belt of Nafar Kundu Road frontage should have been treated as the second belt from Hazra Road frontage and valued as such. Taking the average value of the Hazra Road land and Nafar Kundu Road land for determining the value of this land was according to him wrong. Thirdly, he says, the deduction of 15% on account of size was too excessive. We shall deal with these grievances one by one.
8. In our opinion, there is some justification for Mr. Chatterjee's complaint that in valuing the land of Hazra Road land from the value of Nafar Kundu Road land, only a 25% rise has been given. It is true that the whole thing has to be done by a Rule of thumb method and it is impossible to avoid some element of guess or conjecture. We must remember, however, that Hazra Road is one of the most important Roads in Calcutta and since the land is very near the crossing of Hazra Road and Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Road, the situation of the land should be taken as very much superior to the situation of any Nafar Kundu Road land. Nafar Kundu Road is still in the nature of a narrow lane. Hazra Road, however, is a very wide road. In our opinion, it would be fair if we allow a slightly higher value to the land than what the learned Land Acquisition Judge assessed. The valuer, it may be remembered, assessed the Hazra Road land at Rs. 12000/- per cottah while the land Requisition Judge has valued it at Rupees 10000/- per cottah. We think it would be quite fair if we take the average of these two estimates and value the Hazra Road land at Rs. 11000/- per cottah.
9. As for the land intervening the Nafar Kundu Road first belt and the Hazra Road first belt we have no doubt in our mind that it should be treated as a second belt with reference to the Hazra Road frontage. If there had been no Nafar Kundu Road on the north, that land should have been valued as a second belt from Hazra Road. It is difficult to understand why the existence of an additional road on the north would diminish the value of this belt. Therefore, the second belt should be valued at the rate of 2/3rd of Rupees 11000/- per cottah.
10. We come to the question of deduction. Mr. Chatterjee gave us various instances where in estimating the value of the lands of very large size the deduction that was made was much less than 15%. He showed us for instance, that in regard to a land measuring 5 bighas 9 cottahs and 10 chittacks this High Court in F. A. Nos. 26 and 23 of 1959 made a deduction of only 71/2%. Mr. Chatterjee also drew our attention to a decision of P. N. Mukherjee, and P. K. Sarkar, JJ. in State of West Bengal v. Bibhuti Bhusan Chatterjee. : AIR1959Cal572 . In that case their Lordships made a deduction of 10% from the value on account of the largeness of size of c. s. plot No. 658 of Mouza Dhakuria which had an area of .41 acres and from which a Dart of the land had been acquired. It is important to note that in that case there was no adoption of the belting method which itself provides for some kind of reduction in the land value on account of largeness of size. We have considered these cases cited to us by Mr. Chatterjee and are of the opinion that since the belting method has already been adopted in this case, a deduction of 10% on account of size would be fain and reasonable.
11. In view of these considerations the total compensation for land in our opinion, would be calculated as follows:--
Total Area 28 K. 15 Ch.
From Hazra Road Frontage
1st Belt (10.94 K.)
1st Belt Recess (1.86 K).
2nd Belt (2.67 K.).
From Nafar Kundu Frontage.
1st Belt (12.27 K.).
1st Belt Recess (1.20 K.).
Less deduction at the rate of 10 per cent..
26,062.50Net value of land .
12. We now come to the question of compensation for the structure. The evidence of the expert examined on behalf of the claimants was considered by the learned trial Judge, who, however, rejected the evidence of the Surveyor examined on behalf of the State. The learned trial Judge, however, thought that the opinion of the expert valuer was not wholly dependable as he had not analysed the mortar and the building in greater details. On this basis the learned trial Judge made a deduction of 10% from the value assessed by the valuer and allowed Rs. 1,28,400.00 as the value of the building. Mr. Chatterjee appearing for the claimants made a complaint that the learned trial Judge was not justified for making a deduction on account of non-probing of mortar. In any case, there was no material before him to justify such deduction. In our opinion. it would be enough if a deduction of only 5% is made from the total value found by the valuer. That would give us the sum of Rs. 1,35,470.00 as the value of the structure.
13. There was no dispute about the value of the trees which were assessed at Rs. 120.00,
14. In view of the aforesaid findings the total compensation that should be granted to the claimants is:
Rs. 2,34,562.50 for landRs. 1,35,470.00 for structureRs. 120.00 for trees.
The claimants are also entitled to 15% statutory allowance on this amount. This works out to a sum of Rs. 55,522.87.
15. We, therefore, order as follows:--
Appeal No. 664 of 1965 is allowed with costs. The total compensation to be given to the referring claimants is Rs. 4.25,675.37. The claimants would be entitled to 6% interest on the enhanced amount from the date of possession till payment. The State of West Bengal will pay this amount within four months.
16. The contentions of Government in Appeal No. 797 of 1965 are covered by the various points we have discussed above. The appeal is dismissed and no order is made as to costs.
M.M. Dutt, J.
17. I agree. Appeal No. 664 of 1965 allowed; Appeal No. 797 of 1965 dismissed.