1. These two appeals have arisen out of an award made by the Land Acquisition Judge of Bakarganj. The land was acquired for a project known as 'Additional land for the new Reserve Police line at Barisal.' The lands are situate by the side of a road known as the Bagura Alekanda Road and lie within the municipal limits of the town of Barisal. The declaration was dated 13th November 1926. The claimants are the appellants. In The decree of the Court below will be found the different plots their character, the award made in respect of them by the Land Acquisition Collector and the variation, if any, made by the Judge. There were four groups of claimants in respect of the land acquired, of whom only two are the appellants in two appeals. Group No. 1 are the appellants in Appeal No. 441 and Group No. 2 in Appeal No. 424. It will be convenient to deal with the appeals separately.
F.A. NO. 424 of 1928
2. As regards L.A. Plots Nos. 13 and 16, which consist of a building and a tank the Land Acquisition Collector proceeded on the basis of rental. He assessed the rent at Rs. 35 a month and deducted 10 per cent on account of collection charges, probable vacancies and costs of repairs. He proceeded on the same basis as regards L.A. Plot No. 5, which consists of a building and a half of a tank, took Rs. 80 as its rental and made a similar deduction. The Judge has upheld the Collector's award so far as these plots are concerned. The rest of the area, so far as the lands of these appellants are concerned, was divided into three belts according to their distances from the Bagura Alekanda Road. He valued the belts at the following rates per bigha: 1st belt Rs. 5,000, Rs. 4,800 and Rupees 4,700; 2nd belt Rs. 4,300 and Rs. 4,000; and 3rd belt Rs, 3,000. The different rates for lands in one and the same belt were assessed as the lands were of different qualities; but we are only concerned with the rate of Rs. 5,000 for the 1st belt and Rs. 4,000 for the 2nd belt, which were awarded for the appellants lands. He valued tanks, ditches and drains at th of the said rates. The Judge has upheld the system of belting but enhanced the rates as follows: 1st belt Rs. 6,000, 2nd belt Rs. 4,700, 3rd belt Rs. 3,500. He ordered that deep ditches and tanks should be valued at th of the said rates, but that superficial ditches should be valued at the full value of adjoining lands. (After considering the evidence, his Lordship proceeded). As regards the plots which have been valued on the basis of rental, we think nothing can be said on behalf of the appellants. Their values as determined by the Land Acquisition Collector and the Judge must remain as they are.
3. As regards the rest of the area, the main argument of the appellants is that it should be valued at an all round rate of Rs. 6,000 which the Judge has awarded for the first class lands of the first belt and that tanks should be valued at full rates for lands. Now so far as the system of belting is concerned it is a system which is widely used, but its value as a system depends much upon a variety of facts. If data are available showing the proportion at which the value of land diminished, accordingly as it is situated at a particular distance from a main road or thoroughfare, the system would be perfectly scientific. In the absence of any such data also, it may be assumed that in big cities where land sells by cottas or yards or feet there is such a proportion, as common experience shows. For instance, in land acquisition or improvement schemes in and near about Calcutta land is generally divided into blocks facing some particular street or road or lane and each block is divided into three belts, the first to a depth of 60 feet or so on the road frontage, the second to a depth of about 150 feet thereafter and the third consisting of all land behind, and the relative values of the three belts are fixed in the proportion of 100, 66'6 and 50. But in places and localities where lands are sold by bighas or acres, and there is no real evidence of such proportionate diminution in value, the system is based on no sound principle and must be regarded as a method not quite satisfactory. Of course there is almost always a distinction in value between front lands and back lands everywhere but that distinction would not obviously justify a recourse to the belting system in each and every case. It is a highly artificial system and cannot be resorted to as a hard and fast rule: see Secy, of State v. India General Steam Navigation and Railway Co. Ltd.  36 Cal 967, Roghunath Das v. Collector of Dacca  6IC 457, The Collector v. Ramchandra Harischandra A.I.R. 1926 Bom. 44. Nor again can there be any hard and fast rule that back land must be always of less value than front land or that the proportion should be as one to a half or that there must be a certain proportion at a certain distance from the road: see Collector of Poona v. Kashinatb Khasgiwala  10 Bom 586, In the matter of Government of Bombay  33 Bom 325, Ataul Huq v. Secy, of State  3 IC 277 and Guru Das Kundu Chowdhury v. Secy, of State  22 IC 354. In the case before us, no data are available except such as are contained in Ex. C; and if we rely on that document we think the proper conclusion to arrive at so far as the present lands are concerned is to leave the value of the lands of the first belt (i.e., L.A. Plots Nos. 14, 15 and 17) intact, and to value the lands of the second and third belts (i.e., L.A. Plots Nos. 9, 12, 6, 7 and 8) at an all round rate of Rs. 4,500 per bigha. As regards tanks we hold upon the evidence that they are very valuable in the locality and their utility is in no sense less than the lands, having regard to their position and size. L.A. Plots Nos. 10-B and 19-A should be valued at the rate of Rs. 4,500 per bigha and L.A. Plot No. 18 at Rs. 6,000 per bigha. It may be noted that the Commissioner in Ex. C did not value the tank at any different figure from the lands. The result is that the Judge's award should be enhanced as indicated above, and statutory allowance being added, the total amount of enhancement will carry interest at the rate of 6 per cent per annum from the date on which the Collector took possession, that is to say, from 30th January 1927. The appellants will be entitled to their costs on the amount of success in this appeal. Hearing-fee, five gold mohurs.
F.A. No. 441 of 1928.
4. In this case the lands concerned lie at the corner, being L.A. Plots Nos. 1, 2 and 3, on which there are buildings and a big tank with a pucca ghat. The Collector valued the premises on rental basis, taking the rental to be Rs. 75 a month and making the usual deduction of 10 per cent. The Judge has assessed the rental at Rs. 80. The buildings consist of a main building with 14 rooms: two of which are in the upper storey, an one-roomed structure standing apart and an out-house with two rooms. The claimant used to occupy the buildings and they were never on rent. In 1922, the claimant submitted an income-tax return stating the letting value as Rs. 1,000. In the return for 1926-27, he gave the letting value at Rs. 1,300. There is some indication that he had become aware of the contemplated acquisition and for that reason this return may not fit to be implicitly relied on. But comparing the adjoining premises for which the award has been on the basis of a rental of Rs. 35 and Rs. 80, as already stated above, it is difficult to resist the conclusion that the rental assessed is inadequate. The accommodation which these buildings provide and their site, compared with those of the other two premises for which those rentals have been assessed, would call certainly for a figure somewhere about Rs. 100. The learned judge has observed:
The house is however nicely situated and has a large number of rooms and out-houses. The rent of houses at Barisal has always been high and it is difficult to rent any good house in the town.
5. We think we shall be justified, on the materials before us, in assessing the rental at Rs. 100 per month. The award should be made on the basis of this enhanced rental with the usual deduction of 10 per cent, and with the addition of statutory allowance and interest as in the other appeal. The appellant will be entitled to his costs in this appeal on the amount of his success. Hearing-fee, three gold mohurs.