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Promotha Nath Mullick Vs. Secretary of State - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtKolkata
Decided On
Reported inAIR1924Cal1036a
AppellantPromotha Nath Mullick
RespondentSecretary of State
Cases ReferredB.I.S.N. Co. v. Secretary of State
Excerpt:
- pearson, j.1. in these applications it is sought to set aside an order of the land acquisition judge refusing to enter upon an enquiry as to the area and measurement of the land acquired.2. the declaration was published in august, 1920,and objections were put in by the claimant before the collector in january, 1921. in april, 1921, the claimant filed a petition, after the collector had made his award, asking for a reference to the judge, upon the specific ground 'for determination of the proper compensation and valuation for the lands acquired.' the reference was made accordingly. in april, 1924i the petitioner put in a further application before the judge raising an objection as to the area of the land acquired and asking that either government should fee called upon to admit the area,.....
Judgment:

Pearson, J.

1. In these applications it is sought to set aside an order of the Land Acquisition Judge refusing to enter upon an enquiry as to the area and measurement of the land acquired.

2. The declaration was published in August, 1920,and objections were put in by the claimant before the Collector in January, 1921. In April, 1921, the claimant filed a petition, after the Collector had made his award, asking for a reference to the Judge, upon the specific ground 'for determination of the proper compensation and valuation for the lands acquired.' The reference was made accordingly. In April, 1924i the petitioner put in a further application before the Judge raising an objection as to the area of the land acquired and asking that either Government should fee called upon to admit the area, or a local enquiry should be held. This application was refused by the learned Judge, and thereupon the present Rules were obtained.

3. It has been contended on behalf of the -applicant that once a reference has been made, it is open to the party to attack the %ward upon any ground even though not forming the subject of objection at the time the reference is applied for. In support of this contention, it is pointed out that when a reference is made, it is under Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act which provides that the claimant may ' require that the matter be referred by the Collector,' and emphasis is laid upon the expression 'the matter' as showing that what is referred is not necessarily limited to the objection. Reference has also been made to certain reported cases as supporting the argument. In the case of the Hughli Mills Co. v. Secretary of State for India in Council (1903) 12 C.L.J. 489, it is said in the course of the judgment that ' the whole case is referred, not merely the objection, for determination.' The meaning of that must be taken in relation to the facts in that case, and the decision is that where a reference is made on an objection as to compensation, the Judge may go into and decide that question on its merits even though he rejects the principle of assessment put forward by the claimant. The case of In re. Land Acquisition Act - In Re Rustomji Jijibhai (1905) 30 Bom. 341 does not carry the matter further, but shows that where an objection has been made and the reference is before the Judge, the claimant is not necessarily to be restricted to the particular ground on which the objection was based in the first instance.

4. There is however no case to which we have been referred which goes to the length of laying down that where an objection has been taken under one of the headings mentioned in Section 18, and a reference made in consequence, it is nevertheless open to the claimant to attack the award upon objection falling under some other heading. And although the Court of the Land Acquisition Judge is a Court of special jurisdiction, the powers and duties of which are defined by the statute, B.I.S.N. Co. v. Secretary of State (1910) 38 Cal. 230. I am not persuaded that the proper construction of the Act is that contended for by the applicant. On the other hand as pointed out by the learned Government Pleader the earlier sections of the Act, particularly Sections 11 and 12 treat the questions of measurement and compensation as distinct. Section 18 recognises the same distinction in setting out the various objections that may be taken, and the distinction is maintained in Section 19. Section 20 deals with the service of notice 'specifying the day on which the Court will proceed to determine the objection' and Section 21 provides that the scope of the enquiry is to be restricted to a consideration, of the interest of the persons affected by 'the objection.' Having regard to these considerations, I am of opinion that the construction contended for by the applicant is too wide. I think that what has to be determined by the Judge is the matter of the award to the extent comprised within the objection and that apart therefrom, the award is final under Section 12 of the Act, In my opinion the learned Judge took a correct view of the matter and the Rules must be discharged with costs, one gold mohur in each Rule.

Graham, J.

5. We are invited in these Rules to set aside an order of the Land Acquisition Judge of the 24 Parganahs refusing to entertain an objection with regard to measurement and to direct a local inquiry in connection with a reference made to him under Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act. The proceedings in the case in question related to certain lands required for the Grand Trunk Canal project, and the declaration was published in the Calcutta Gazette of the 4th August, 1920. The usual enquiry by the Collector followed and the petitioner, not being satisfied with the award, asked for a reference to the Land Acquisition Judge for the determination, as therein expressed by him, of 'the proper compensation and valuation of the lands acquired.' The Collector then referred the case under Sections 18 and 19 of the Act, and after this and other connected cases had been pending in the Judge's file for about three years, an application was made by the claimant, as already stated above, praying for a local enquiry in order to ascertain the area of the land. The Land Acquisition Judge rejected the application holding that the objection as regards measurement, which did not form part of the reference, could not be entertained at that stage of the case, and the case was directed to proceed according to law.

6. The petitioner then moved this Court and obtained the present Rules and the substantial contentions urged by the learned vakil, who appeared on his behalf, were that the Court below has taken as. erroneous view of the law, that it has refused to exercise a jurisdiction vested in it by law, and that the learned Judge ought to have held that what was referred to him by the Collector was the whole case, and not merely the particular objection contained in the reference.

7. In my opinion those contentions are not well-founded. Looking to the scheme of the Act generally and having regard in particular to Sections 18 and 19 taken in conjunction with Sections 11 and 12 it appears to be reasonably clear that the questions of area and compensation are treated as distinct matters, and that the enquiry before the Judge is restricted to the ground or grounds upon which objection to the award has been taken as stated in the application made under Section 18. Section 18 specifies the four grounds of objection in respect of which reference may be asked for, viz.,

(1) Measurement.

(2) Amount of compensation.

(3) Persons to whom payable.

(4) Apportionments of compensation.

8. Sub-section (2) of Section 18 makes it obligatory to state the grounds of objection in the application. This was done in the present instance, and it is clear that the ground taken was only under the-second head, viz., the amount of compensation. That being so the scope of the inquiry was restricted to that matter and to that matter only, and I think the Land Acquisition Judge was right in refusing; to extend it so as to include a ground which had not been referred to him, or included in the application for reference. As a matter of fact the award of the Collector, except in so far as it related to the question of compensation, had become final under Section 12 of the Act long before the application was made for local inquiry.

9. The learned vakil for the petitioner has referred to authorities in support of his contention that when once the case is referred to the Court, the whole case must be held to have been referred and not merely the specific objection taken in the reference. None of the cases seems to go quite so far as this, though no doubt new objections, provided they belong to the same category, may be allowed to be gone into. This however is not a case of that description.

10. In my opinion the view adopted by the Court below is right, and in any case, even if the fresh objection had been entertain able, I think that in view of the delay which had taken place in making it, the learned Judge would have been justified in refusing to entertain it.

11. For the reasons stated, I agree that the Rules must be discharged.


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