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Secretary of State for India in Council Vs. Duma Lal Shaw and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtKolkata
Decided On
Judge
Reported in4Ind.Cas.521
AppellantSecretary of State for India in Council;duma Lal Shaw and ors.
RespondentDuma Lal Shaw and ors.;secretary of State for India in Council
Excerpt:
land acquisition - valuation of land as vacant land for building--claim of trees over land--trees to te valued as timber. - .....first, as to the value of the land, and, secondly, as to the value of the trees upon the land. the land acquired was about 3 bighas, 6 cottahs and 7 chittacks. the land acquisition deputy collector awarded, compensation at the rate of rs. 500, per bigha for firm land, rs. 250 a bigha for some tank land and rs. 393 as the value of trees, the subordinate judge has increased that compensation. he has given rs. l,200 per bigha for firm land. rs. 500 per bigha for the tank land and rs. 1,187 as market-value of the trees. both parties were dissatisfied and both have appealed.2. the secretary of state says that upon the claimant's own showing the land was worth only its. 800 a bigha, and that the principle upon which the subordinate judge has proceeded in assessing the compensation to be paid.....
Judgment:

Francis Maclean, C.J.

1. Two short questions arise upon this appeal which is as to the amount of compensation awarded by the Second Subordinate Judge of Hughly under the Land Acquisition Act, The questions arise, first, as to the value of the land, and, secondly, as to the value of the trees upon the land. The land acquired was about 3 bighas, 6 cottahs and 7 chittacks. The Land Acquisition Deputy Collector awarded, compensation at the rate of Rs. 500, per bigha for firm land, Rs. 250 a bigha for some tank land and Rs. 393 as the Value of trees, The Subordinate Judge has increased that compensation. He has given Rs. l,200 per bigha for firm land. Rs. 500 per bigha for the tank land and Rs. 1,187 as market-value of the trees. Both parties were dissatisfied and both have appealed.

2. The Secretary of State says that upon the claimant's own showing the land was worth only Its. 800 a bigha, and that the principle upon which the Subordinate Judge has proceeded in assessing the compensation to be paid for the trees was wrong, as the practical effect of that principle is that the claimant is getting paid twice over.

3. The claimant says that instead of Rs. 1,200 a bigha given him for the land the ought to get at the rate of Rs. 1,500 a bigha, and that any way if he was only entitled to Rs. 1,200 a bigha for firm land, he ought to get as regards the tank land at the rate of Rs. 600 a bigha being half that given for the land itself according to a generally recognised principle of assessment in these Courts.

4. The first question we will consider is whether the amount awarded, namely, Rs. 1,200 a bigha for the land itself is excessive or whether it ought to be reduced to Rs. 800 a bigha or whether as the claimant says it ought to be raised to Rs. 1,500 a bigha. The question is a mere question of evidence. It is a feature in the case that the Subordinate Judge has thought upon this question that only the evidence of two witnesses called for the claimant is of any real value or reliable in the matter. He relies upon the evidence of Mohendra Nath Ghose and says in effect that evidence shows that the land is worth Rs. 1,200 a bigha. The way in which he works it out is this. He refers to the lands which this gentleman had purchased and as regards one cottah proceeds upon the footing that it was valued at Rs. 60. But there is nothing on the face of the kobala to show that, and that is entirely dependent upon the oral evidence which this gentleman gives. There is nothing as I have said in the kobala to show that this one particular cottah was valued at Rs. 60 and looking at his oral evidence on the point, I think it is hardly safe to act upon it for the purpose of valuation. What impresses me as regards his evidence is that he speaks of some land apparently in the neighbourhood belonging to his father-in-law which had been acquired at Rs. 800 a bigha and he says that that land and the disputed land are of the same quality. I am rather impressed by this. In the map which has been put in it appears that land in the inner zone which has been acquired has been valued at Rs. l,000 a bigha; when we come to the outer zone, we find that for the land of one Moni Lal Khetri which seems to be about in the same position qua the zone as the land now under discussion Rs. 500 a bigha was allowed. So much for the evidence of Mohendra Nath Ghose.

5. Another witness upon whom the Subordinate Judge relies is Tinkouri Sheikh. But it is really difficult to make out the effect of his evidence so far as it supports the claimant's case of the land being worth Rs. 1,200 a bigha. He says that on a previous occasion we do not know when, the Railway Company acquired his land and he got Rs. 900 in all for two bighas containing trees. It was his lakhiraj land, no one settled there and there were pineapple trees on the land. When this acquisition was made it does not appear, but we suppose within a reasonably recent date before that of the present acquisition, and if so, apparently he only got Rs. 450 for each bigha, that does not seem to support the view that the land is worth Rs. 1,200 a bigha.

6. I would rather take it upon the evidence of the claimant's own witness, Mohendra Nath Ghose, who thinks that the land in dispute is practically the same sort of land in the same neighbourhood as that which was acquired from his father in law for Rs. 800 a bigha, that that must be a fair value of the land. The finding, therefore, of the Subordinate Judge upon this point must be reversed and we place the value of the land at Rs. 800 a bigha. The result would be that also as regards the tank land, the value would be reduced to half the value of firm land.

7. I now pass to the question of the trees. It has been practically conceded that if the trees, of which there are 238, are dotted all over this land, it would be impossible for the claimant to hare claimed the land as vacant land for the purpose of erecting building upon it, and at the same time to claim the value of the trees upon the footing that they would still remain there. The claims are inconsistent. But it is ingeniously suggested upon the evidence of two witnesses for the Government that the trees are not, if I may use the expression, dotted all over the land but they are on the boundaries of the garden and there is an open space in the middle. But if the whole land has been acquired for the purpose of erecting building as I understand is the case it is clear that the trees will have to be cut down and their proper value would be their value as timber. There may be some trees on the boundaries and an open space in the middle; but we are not told the size or the width of the space in the middle, or of the fringe of trees. The statement is vague and it is not consistent with the object for which the land has been acquired, namely for the purpose of building upon it, that the trees could remain and continue to be a source of income. I think, therefore, that as regards the trees the view taken by the Land Acquisition Deputy Collector must be accepted and the value must be reduced to Rs. 393.

8. This disposes of both the appeals. The Secretary of State will have his costs in both appeals, hearing fees in Appeal No. 56 four gold mohurs, and in Appeal No. 60 two gold mohurs.

Coxe, J.

9. I agree.


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