1. These are appeals in proceedings under Act I of 1894, the Land Acquisition Act; but, unfortunately for the parties, the proceedings have been misconceived from the very beginning. The Collector made awards under Section 11 of the Act. The claimants were not satisfied with them and they evidently asked for references. The references would be under Section 18 of the Act, and in a proceeding for the ascertainment of compensation on a reference under Section 18, the claimant is to be regarded as the plaintiff and the Government as defendant. 'This' in the words of the learned Judges who decided the case of Ezra v. The Secretary of State for India in Council 30 C.36 at p.89 'is the invariable practice and the duty of the Collector in such cases is pointed out in clear terms in Rule 45 of the Board's rules.'
2. A company or corporation for whose benefit any land may be acquired by the Collector is not a necessary party in the proceeding and there can be no doubt that no proceeding can properly go on in the absence of the Secretary of State for India in Council. Under Section 50 of the Act, a company or a local authority for whose benefit the acquisition is made may appear and adduce evidence for the purpose of determining the amount of compensation. But that is in the nature of the addition of a party simply for the purpose of watching the proceedings or assisting the Secretary of State. Such a company or local authority has not the power to ask for a reference under Section 18 of the Act; neither does the Act give it the right of appeal. It might have been proper in the present proceedings for the Corporation of the Pabna Municipality to be represented for certain purposes. But the appeal of the Corporation cannot be allowed and the proceedings must be set aside on account of the person directly interested in the ascertainment of the amount of compensation, namely, the Secretary of State for India in Council.
3. We are, therefore, compelled to set aside these proceedings and we direct a remand in these cases to the District Judge in order that the Secretary of State may be made a party in the proceedings and the compensation ascertained in his presence. We make no order as to costs.