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Hem Chandra Chowdhury Vs. Secretary of State for India in Council and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtKolkata
Decided On
Judge
Reported in56Ind.Cas.758
AppellantHem Chandra Chowdhury
RespondentSecretary of State for India in Council and ors.
Excerpt:
land acquisition act (i of 1894), section 23 - land acquisition--vacant land--assessment, method of. - .....total of the sums which represent the values of these interests has been taken as the value of the land. the land acquisition judge has accepted the figures of the collector in respect of the valuation of landlord's interest; but be has substantially raised the figures for the valuation of raiyat's interest. the government pleader has argued that what the lower court has done in substance is to award to the claimant, in the shape of the value of the raiyat's interest, the entire value of the land and has added thereto the value of the so called landlord's interest calculated by the collector who has adopted an entirely different basis for the calculation of the raiyat's interest. in our opinion, this criticism is well-founded. the method adopted by the collector and the judge is wholly.....
Judgment:

1. These two appeals ere directed against the fame award made by the Land Acquisition Judge of Pabna and Bogra in respect of lands acquired for public purposes. Appeal No. 13 of 1918 has been preferred by the Secretary of State on the ground that the sum awarded is excessive and has been calculated on an erroneous principle. Appeal No, 20 of 1918 has been preferred by the claimant on the ground that the sum awarded is insufficient. We are clearly of opinion that there is no foundation for the appeal of the claimant. Reliance has been placed upon conveyances-of lands which have no similarity to the lands acquired; and we cannot possibly enhance the amount of compensation on the basis of those transactions. The really substantial appeal is that preferred by the Secretary of State. The Senior Government Pleader has contended that the award as made by (he Judge is based on unsound principles. The land when acquired was vacant. But both the Collector and the Land Acquisition Judge have assumed the existence of a hypothetical tenant en each plot and have calculated the respective values of what was designated as landlord's interest and raiyat's interest. The total of the sums which represent the values of these interests has been taken as the value of the land. The Land Acquisition Judge has accepted the figures of the Collector in respect of the valuation of landlord's interest; but be has substantially raised the figures for the valuation of raiyat's interest. The Government Pleader has argued that what the lower Court has done in substance is to award to the claimant, in the shape of the value of the raiyat's interest, the entire value of the land and has added thereto the value of the so called landlord's interest calculated by the Collector who has adopted an entirely different basis for the calculation of the raiyat's interest. In our opinion, this criticism is well-founded. The method adopted by the Collector and the Judge is wholly unreliable and is not based on any solid foundation. How much is recoverable by a landlord from a hypothetical tenant may be determined with some approach to accuracy from the rent receivable by him. But the exact value of the raiyat's interest is dependent on a number of unknown factors; for instance if the imaginary raiyat were to sell his tenancy in the open market, the value it would fetch would depend upon his status. It is conceivable that he may not have any transferable interest at all. It is possible that he may be a tenant for a term and that his tenancy may be transferable only with the assent of the landlord. It may be, again, that this rent is not fixed in perpetuity, and is enhanceable. It is obvious that a purchaser of such a tenancy would offer a price in view of the circumstances and conditions of the tenancy. Consequently to assert that the value of a raiyat's interest is so much without specification of the conditions of the tenancy is obviously unsound. We must, therefore, reject the figures given by the Collector as also by the Judge. But this places us in a difficulty. Are there really materials on the record which may enable the Court to determine the market value of the lands on some sound principle? If one of these plots was offered for sale as a vacant piece of land, the purchaser, in making an offer, would obviously have in view the income likely to be derived from it, Now, it has been found that the land can be let out at a rent of Rs. 24 per Bigha, so that if 20 years' purchase is taken, this would give a rate of Rs. 480 per Bigha. But, at the same time, the landlord who let out land to a tenant would in ordinary circumstances demand a premium and if the interest of the tenant were not permanent and transferable, he would ask for a premium on each transfer. There is no evidence on the record to show precisely what may be derivable by the landlord in these contingencies. But in view of the facts which have been stated to us, we are of opinion that substantial justice will be done if in addition to Rs. 480, we alloy the landlord another Rs. 100. This judgment will affect the awards in respect of two plots--313 and 314--where the lower Court allowed, in addition to the valuation of the raiyat's interest, the value of the so called landlord's interest. In these two cases the award will be diminished from Rs. 680 to Rs. 580. In respect of the other plots, we do not think it necessary to reduce the sums awarded.

2. The result is that the appeal of the Secretary of State (No. 13 of 1918) will be allowed and the decree of the Court below will be varied as indicated above. There will be no order for costs. The appeal of the claimant (No. 20 of 1918) is dismissed with costs to the Secretary of State.


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