Das Gupta, J
1. The petnr is one of the superior landlords of C. S. plots Nos. 316, 317 & 342 in Mouza Malipanchghara, which have been acquitted under the Land Acquisition Act I (1) of 1894. An objection as regards the valuation made by the Land Acquisition Collector was made by the present petnr & his co-sharer opposite party No. 6. They also objected to the apportionment of the amount which had been assessed by the Land Acquisition Collector as the compensation to be paid for the value of the land. The Collector made a reference accordingly, both as regards valuation & as regards apportionment.
2. It appears that the Land Acquisition Collector awarded a total amount of Rs. 22,303-9-9 for all the interests of this land & out of this he apportioned Rs. 2-7-3 to each of the two proprietors; Rs. 207/- to the intermediate tenure-holders for plots Nos. 216 & 217; Rs. 80-8-0 for another intermediate interest in the same plots; Rs. 128-4-9 for the holder of the intermediate interest in plot No. 343; & Rs. 21,871-15-5 to the tenant Ram Swarup Seraogi, who is in possession of the plots Nos. 316, 317 & 343. In their objection to this apportionment the proprietors alleged that the interest of this tenant Ram Swarup Seraogi is only one of the thika tenant, so that according to them he is entitled to nothing more than the value of the structures. It was also contended by the proprietors that in any case the tenant is entitled to get the value of the land only on the basis that it is agricultural land, as according to them the land was merely agricultural at the time it was let out to this tenant & acquired its present character much later. None of the other parties raised any objection to the valuation of the Land Acquisition Collector.
3. A prayer was made on behalf of the proprietors that the dispute as regards the apportionment should be heard & disposed of first before the reference as regards the valuation was heard. The learned Land Acquisition Judge took the view that there could not possibly be any decree apportioning the compensation between the rival claimants before the amount is first determined, & he rejected the prayer that the apportionment case should be heard first. It is against this order of rejection that the present Rule was obtained by one of the proprietors.
4. There can be no doubt that the most desirable thing is that the amount to be apportioned should first be determined before the task of apportionment is taken up. It is pointed out by Mr. Banerjee on behalf of the petnr that the peculiar circumstance of this case is that his client would be fighting the valuation case in vain if the Land Acquisition Collector's decision that only Rs. 2-7-3 is the share which he is himself entitled to as the superior landlord stands.
5. In my judgment no inflexible rule can be laid down as to when there is before the Judge both a dispute as regards apportionment & a dispute as regards valuation, which should be taken up first. Ordinarily, I am prepared to agree with the learned Advocate for the opposite party that the valuation case should be taken up first. There may, however, be cases where it will be manifestly unjust to take up the question of valuation without first deciding at least the principles on which the compensation should be apportioned. In the present case, for example, if the proprietors' contention that the tenant Ram Swarup Seraogi is merely a thika tenant & the contention that the tenant can at best get compensation for his interest on the basis that it is agricultural land are rejected by the Ct, he stands to gain nothing by prosecuting his claim that the Collector's valuation is too low. On the other hand, I can see no possible injury to either the Govt or to the tenant opposite parties if the apportionment case is taken up first & the principles on which apportionment should be made are determined. The Govt obviously is not interested in the matter of apportionment at all; the tenant opposite party is: but he cannot escape a proper decision of the apportionment case by the mere fact of postponement of hearing of that case till after the decision of the valuation case.
6. On consideration of all these circumstances I am of opinion that Mr. Banerjee's contention that it will be manifestly unjust if the valuation case is taken up for decision first should prevail. I would accordingly set aside the order passed by the learned Land Acquisition Judge refusing the prayer that the apportionment case should be taken up first & direct the Land Acquisition Judge to take up the apportionment case first for hearing & after disposing of it, as far as it is possible, to take up the valuation case. In any case he should decide the apportionment case in such a way that as soon as the valuation case is disposed of, there is no scope for any further delay in determining as to the exact amount which should be payable for each of the different interests in the land.
7. The parties will bear their own costs.
8. I agree.