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land acquisition act – Primarily, the increase in land prices depends on four factors: situation of the land, nature of development in surrounding area, availability of land for development in the area, and the demand for land in the area. In rural areas, unless there is any prospect of development in the vicinity, increase in prices would be slow, steady and gradual, without any sudden spurts or jumps. On the other hand, in urban or semi-urban areas, where the development is faster, where the demand for land is high and where there is construction activity all around, the escalation in market price is at a much higher rate, as compared to rural areas. In some pockets in big cities, due to rapid development and high demand for land, the escalations in prices have touched even 30% to 50% or more per year, during the nineties. 14) On the other extreme, in remote rural areas where there was no chance of any development and hardly any buyers, the prices stagnated for years or rose marginally at a nominal rate of 1% or 2% per annum. There is thus a significant difference in increases in market value of lands in urban/semi-urban areas and increases in market value of lands in the rural areas. Therefore, if the increase in market value in urban/semi-urban areas is about 10% to 15% per annum, the

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 1

 REPORTABLE

 IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

 CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

 CIVIL APPEAL NO. 7258 OF 2011

 [Arising out of S.L.P.(C)No.1578 of 2007]

Chakas ....Appellant

 Versus

State of Punjab & Ors. ....Respondents

 W I T H

C.A.No.7259/2011[Arising out of SLP(C) No.659 of 2007];

C.A.No.7260/2011[Arising out of SLP(C) No.5447 of 2007];

C.A.No.7261/2011[Arising out of SLP(C) No.3319 of 2007];

C.A.No.7262/2011[Arising out of SLP(C) No.4982 of 2007];

C.A.No.7263/2011[Arising out of SLP(C) No.8073 of 2007];

C.A.No.7264/2011[Arising out of SLP(C) No.8649 of 2007];

C.A.No.7265/2011[Arising out of SLP(C) No.8653 of 2007];

C.A.No.7266/2011[Arising out of SLP(C) No.9210 of 2007];

C.A.No.7267/2011[Arising out of SLP(C) No.12156 of 2007];

C.A.No.7268/2011[Arising out of SLP(C) No.12765 of 2007];

C.A.No.7269/2011[Arising out of SLP(C) No.14818 of 2007];

C.A.No.7270/2011[Arising out of SLP(C) No.7253 of 2007];

C.A.No.7272/2011[Arising out of SLP(C) No.14422 of 2007];

C.A.No.7271/2011[Arising out of SLP(C) No.14424 of 2007];

C.A.No.7273-7304/2011 [Arising out of SLP(C) No.1798-1829 

of 2008];

C.A.No.7305/2011[Arising out of SLP(C) No.11844 of 2008];

C.A.No.7306-7315/2011 [Arising out of SLP(C) No.9426-9435 

of 2008];

C.A.No.7316/2011[Arising out of SLP(C) No.21198 of 2008];

C.A.No.7317/2011[Arising out of SLP(C) No.5427 of 2009];

 2

 A N D 

C.A.No.7318-7322/2011 [Arising out of SLP(C) No.10838-10842

 of 2010];

 J U D G M E N T

Deepak Verma, J.

1. Leave granted.

2. Question as to what would be proper, adequate, just 

 and reasonable compensation to be awarded to the 

 appellant for the land acquired by the respondent 

 State, has once again cropped up for our 

 consideration in this and the connected appeals.

3. In this appeal, the land owner, whose land has been 

 acquired by the State of Punjab is before us for 

 enhancement of compensation awarded to him by the 

 High Court and the beneficiary respondent No. 3 M/s. 

 Nahar Industries Infrastructure Corporation Ltd. 

 (hereinafter shall be referred to as 'the 

 Corporation') has preferred separate appeals for 

 3

 reduction of the compensation awarded to the 

 appellant by the High Court. Since both set of 

 appeals arise out of the common judgment and order 

 pronounced by the learned Single Judge in Regular 

 First Appeal No. 1072 of 1999 in the High Court of 

 Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh on 03.05.2006, they 

 have been heard analogously and are being disposed 

 of by this common judgment and order.

4. It may be noted that for the sake of brevity and 

 convenience, facts of appeal arising out of SLP(C) 

 No.1578 of 2007 have been taken into account.

5. Short facts, shorn of unnecessary details are 

mentioned hereinbelow:

 Respondent No. 1 - State of Punjab, for the 

purposes of setting up of an Industrial Focal Point in 

Tehsil Rajpura District Patiala issued a notification 

on 13.11.1992 under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition 

Act (hereinafter shall be referred to as 'the Act') 

for acquiring 550.03 acres in villages Lalru, 

 4

Jalalpur, Lehli, and Hassanpur of the aforesaid Tehsil 

and District. The public purpose mentioned in the 

same was for Industrial Focal Point. Subsequently, by 

issuance of another notification under Section 6 of 

the Act, on 08.04.1993, the aforesaid land was 

declared to have been acquired. Thereafter, the Land 

Acquisition Collector started the process of computing 

the amount of compensation to be awarded to the land 

owners. The Land Acquisition Officer pronounced his 

award on 12.9.1994 fixing different rates per acre for 

the lands of four villages. The appellant and other 

land owners feeling highly dissatisfied with the 

amount of compensation so assessed by the Land 

Acquisition Officer, preferred references under 

Section 18 of the Act to the Civil Court at Patiala.

6. The matter was accordingly referred to the 

Additional District Judge, Patiala for working out the 

amount of compensation to be awarded to the appellant 

and other such similarly situated appellants. Both 

 5

the parties led evidence before the Reference Court. 

On the basis of the evidence so adduced by the 

parties, the Reference Court was pleased to assess the 

value of the entire acquired land in four villages at 

a uniform rate and consequently held that the land 

owners were entitled to receive compensation of Rs. 

1.5 lakh per acre, besides the individual claims made 

by land owners with regard to super structure, trees 

and other facilities available in their respective 

lands were also taken into consideration. The land 

owners were also held entitled for the statutory 

benefits as per the amended provisions of the Act.

7. Still not being satisfied with the amount of 

compensation so awarded to them, the land owners 

preferred appeals before the High Court under Section 

54 of the Act, whereas the beneficiary respondent No. 

3 herein the Corporation also preferred appeals 

purportedly, for reduction of the compensation awarded 

to the appellant. The Learned Single Judge heard the 

 6

matters together and disposed of by the common 

judgment and order, which is being impugned, once 

again by both sides on a variety of grounds. 

8. We have accordingly heard Mr. L. Nageswara Rao, 

Senior Advocate ably assisted by M/s Navin Chawla, 

Gaurav Kaushik, Tushar Singh praying for further 

enhancement of compensation and Mr. Anil Grover, AAG, 

Punjab with Mr. Kuldip Singh and Mr. Neeraj Kumar 

Jain, Senior Advocate with Mr. Sanjay Singh Advocate 

for the respondent Corporation at length and perused 

the records.

9. Certain dates material for deciding the said 

appeal are mentioned hereinbelow:

1 Notification under Section 4 of the Issued on 13.11.1992 For acquisition of 550.03 acres 

 Act of land

2 Notification under Section 6 of the Issued on 08.04.1993

 Act

3 Award of Land Acquisition Passed on 12.09.1994

 Officer

4 Award of the Reference Court Dated 07.12.1998 Amount of compensation at 

 Rs.1.50 lakhs per acre

5 Judgment and order of the High Pronounced on 03.05.2006 Fixing the rate of compensation 

 Court at Rs.2.75 lakhs per acre.

 7

10. Shri L. Nageswara Rao, Senior Advocate appearing 

for the appellant contended before us that the High 

Court committed a grave error in computation of the 

base price on the strength of the average price worked 

out from the sale deeds Exh. P.1, P.2, P.3, P.8, and 

P.15 and further committed another grave error in 

deducting amounts from the same. According to him, in 

the process, the amount of compensation awarded is 

much lower than what should have been awarded. On the 

other hand, learned counsel for respondent Mr. Anil 

Grover, AAG, Punjab and Mr. Neeraj Kumar Jain, Senior 

Advocate appearing for respondent No.3 submitted that 

the appellant has only been able to prove the market 

value of the land from the sale deed at Rs. 2.85 lacs 

per acre. He further contended that there was no 

mistake committed by the Court in taking out the 

average price for working out the amount of 

compensation to be awarded to the appellant. 

 8

11. Learned counsel for respondent No. 3 Mr. Neeraj 

Kumar Jain strongly contended before us that the 

Corporation has preferred appeals for deduction of the 

amount, primarily on the ground that more deductions 

should have been made than what was allowed by the 

High Court and in any event no case has been made out 

for further enhancement of amount of compensation, 

which is already exorbitant and higher.

12. First of all, we would like to deal with the 

location and potentiality of the acquired land. From 

the evidence of P.W 31 Charanjit Singh, Patwari of 

Halqa of all the four villages, it is clearly made 

out that all these villages are adjoining each other 

and form a compact block. He has further admitted 

that more than 80 to 85 industries near and adjoining 

the acquired land are already running and doing their 

business since long. The area acquired has been 

reserved for industrial purposes. He has further 

deposed that if the land had not been acquired, many 

 9

factories would have sprung up in the acquired land. 

The details of the industries which are already 

running in vicinity have been given vividly by him. 

It is also not in dispute that the said land is 

situated on the Ambala-Chandigarh Highway. 

13. The evidence of other government officials, who 

had appeared before the Reference Court, reflects that 

the land acquired have great Industrial potential as 

more than 80-85 big industries have already set up 

their factories in the close vicinity to the acquired 

land. They have admitted that the acquired land is 

situated on the main Ambala-Chandigarh Highway. From 

the evidence adduced by respondent Nos. 1 and 2, it 

cannot be disputed that it was a valuable land for the 

land owners and it had great potential. Obviously, in 

1992, the market value of the same, at the time of 

issuance of notification under Section 4 of the Act, 

would be much more than what has been awarded to them 

vide the impugned judgment.

 10

14. However, the question which still remains for 

consideration is, on what basis, should the amount of 

compensation is to be worked out. The appellant to 

prove his case with regard to market value of the land 

had produced many sale deeds but only relevant 

following five sale deeds are taken into 

consideration: 

Exhibit No. Dated of sale deed Price paid Price per acre

P.1 16.08.1990 1,20,000 3,02,157

P.2 16.08.1990 1,50,000 3,51,219

P.3 16.08.1990 1,50,000 3,51,219

P.8 20.04.1993 17,34,000 4,08,000

P.15 04.06.1990 9,75,000 2,99,041

15. The appellant had also examined the vendors of 

the aforesaid sale deeds to show the genuineness and 

correctness of the same. The most appropriate sale 

deed touching the issuance of notification under 

Section 4 is Exh. P.8. The base price of the land per 

acre according to this comes to Rs. 4,08,000/-. The 

total area of the land so purchased was 20 Bighas and 

8 biswas. Before execution of the sale deed, an 

 11

Agreement to Sell dated 30.10.1992 (Exh. P.45) was 

executed between the vendor and vendee. As required 

under the law, permission was sought from the Income 

Tax Department which granted a Clearance Certificate 

Exh. P.44. 

16. It is also pertinent to mention here that the land 

so sold covered under (Exh.P.8) sale deed neither 

belonged to any of the land owners nor they had any 

interest whatsoever in the said deed. Thus, it can 

safely be assumed that it was a genuine and bona-fide 

transaction between two parties, who had nothing to do 

with the acquisition of land of the appellant. It was 

not executed for the purposes of creating evidence as 

Agreement to sell (Exh. P.45) is dated 30.11.1992, 

before the issuance of Notification under Section 4 of 

the Act. On the said date, it could not have been 

imagined that the adjoining land is going to be 

acquired shortly. The said land is almost abutting 

the acquired land. It is also manifest that the 

 12

Agreement dated 13.10.1992 is very close to the 

notification issued on 13.11.1992 under Section 4 of 

Act. The whole transaction executed under the Sale 

deed Exh. P.8 fully proves and establishes the case of 

the appellant. As per this sale deed, the base price 

of the land would come to Rs. 4,08,000/- per acre. 

According to us, the correct base price would be Rs. 

4,08,000/- per acre.

17. It is profitable to refer to the following 

judgment of this Court on this issue. (1969) 1 MLJ 

(SC) 45 Shri Rani M. Vijayalakshmamma Rao Bahadur Vs. 

Collector of Madras. Relevant para 2 is reproduced 

hereinbelow:

 "It seems to us that there is substance in 

 the first contention of Mr. Ram Reddy. 

 After all when land is being compulsorily 

 taken away from a person he is entitled to 

 say that he should be given the highest 

 value which similar land in the locality 

 is shown to have fetched in a bona fide 

 transaction entered into between a willing 

 purchaser and a willing seller near about 

 the time of the acquisition. It is not 

 disputed that the transaction represented 

 13

 by Ex Rule 19 was a few months prior to 

 the notification under Section 4, that it 

 was a bona fide transaction and that it 

 was entered into between a willing 

 purchaser and a willing seller. The land 

 comprised in the sale deed is 11 grounds 

 and was sold at Rs. 1951 per ground. The 

 land covered by Rule 27 was also sold 

 before the notification but after the land 

 comprised in Ex. Rule 19 was sold. It is 

 true that this land was sold at Rs. 1096 

 per ground. This, however, is apparently 

 because of two circumstances. One is that 

 betterment levy at Rs.500/- per ground had 

 to be paid by the vendee and the other 

 that the land comprised in it is very much 

 more extensive, that is about 93 grounds 

 or so. Whatever that may be, it seems to 

 us to be only fair that where sale deeds 

 pertaining to different transactions are 

 relied on behalf of the Government, that 

 representing the highest value should be 

 preferred to the rest unless there are 

 strong circumstances justifying a 

 different course. In any case we see no 

 reason why an average of two sale deeds 

 should have been taken in this case."

18. The said judgment has been considered by this 

Court reported in (2008) 14 SCC 745 General Manager, 

Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd. Vs. Rameshbhai 

Jivanbhai Patel and Anr. wherein the Division Bench 

 14

has considered this aspect of the matter succinctly in 

para 13, 14 and 15 reproduced hereinbelow:

 13) Primarily, the increase in land 

 prices depends on four factors: situation 

 of the land, nature of development in 

 surrounding area, availability of land for 

 development in the area, and the demand 

 for land in the area. In rural areas, 

 unless there is any prospect of development 

 in the vicinity, increase in prices would 

 be slow, steady and gradual, without any 

 sudden spurts or jumps. On the other hand, 

 in urban or semi-urban areas, where the 

 development is faster, where the demand for 

 land is high and where there is 

 construction activity all around, the 

 escalation in market price is at a much 

 higher rate, as compared to rural areas. 

 In some pockets in big cities, due to rapid 

 development and high demand for land, the 

 escalations in prices have touched even 30% 

 to 50% or more per year, during the 

 nineties.

 14) On the other extreme, in remote 

 rural areas where there was no chance of 

 any development and hardly any buyers, the 

 prices stagnated for years or rose 

 marginally at a nominal rate of 1% or 2% 

 per annum. There is thus a significant 

 difference in increases in market value of 

 lands in urban/semi-urban areas and 

 increases in market value of lands in the 

 rural areas. Therefore, if the increase in 

 market value in urban/semi-urban areas is 

 about 10% to 15% per annum, the 

 15

corresponding increases in rural areas 

would at best be only around half of it, 

that is, about 5% to 7.5% per annum. This 

rule of thump refers to the general trend 

in the nineties, to be adopted in the 

absence of clear and specific evidence 

relating to increase in prices. Where 

there are special reasons for applying a 

higher rate of increase, or any specific 

evidence relating to the actual increase in 

prices, then the increase to be applied 

would depend upon the same. 

15)Normally, recourse is taken to the mode 

 of determining the market value by 

 providing appropriate escalation over 

 the proved market value of nearby lands 

 in previous years (as evidenced by sale 

 transactions or acquisitions), where 

 there is no evidence of any 

 contemporaneous sale transactions or 

 acquisitions of comparable lands in the 

 neighbourhood. The said method is 

 reasonably safe where the relied-on sale 

 transactions/acquisitions precede the 

 subject acquisition by only a few years, 

 that is, up to four to five years. 

 Beyond that it may be unsafe, even if it 

 relates to a neighbouring land. What 

 may be a reliable standard if the gap is 

 of only a few years, may become unsafe 

 and unreliable standard where the gap is 

 larger. For example, for determining 

 the market value of a land acquired in 

 1992, adopting the annual increase 

 method with reference to a sale or 

 acquisition in 1970 or 1980 may have 

 many pitfalls. This is because, over 

 16

 the course of years, the "rate" of 

 annual increase may itself undergo 

 drastic change apart from the likelihood 

 of occurrence of varying periods of 

 stagnation in prices or sudden spurts in 

 prices affecting the very standard of 

 increase."

19. The Reference Court committed a grave error in 

deducting 50% of the value assessed by him, towards 

development charges and further reduced the said 

amount for the reasons not assigned by him. The 

learned Single Judge vide the impugned judgment has 

enhanced the amount of compensation but committed an 

error in fixing the base price as 2,75,000/- per acre 

for the acquired land, applying the doctrine of 

reasonable cut to the average price worked out by him 

at Rs.3,42,527/- per acre. We do not approve of the 

reasonings adopted either by the reference Court or by 

the High Court. How much amount is to be deducted 

from the base price would depend on various factors. 

20. As mentioned hereinabove, in the case in hand the 

bulk of the land that is almost 525 acres has been 

 17

given to respondent No.3, the Corporation for setting 

up its own industry and other infrastructure thereon. 

Thus, the lands likely to be used towards roads, 

sewage and other such facilities would be minimum as 

most of the vacant land would be utilised by 

respondent No. 3 for its own benefits. 

21. Needless to say, once the industry is set up, it 

would be for the financial benefit and gain of 

respondent No.3 year after year. Thus, looking to the 

matter from all angles, respondent No. 3 - Corporation 

would be a great beneficiary at the cost of depriving 

the appellant - land owner of his sole livelihood of 

agriculture.

22. Therefore, it is neither desirable nor proper to 

deduct more than 10% of the amount in the base price 

fixed by us at Rs. 4,08,000/-. We accordingly do so. 

23. The question with regard to the deduction to be 

made also stands settled by this Court in 

Atma Singh (dead) through Lrs. and Ors. Vs. State of 

 18

Haryana and Another. (2008) 2 SCC 568. The relevant 

portion thereof are reproduced herein below:

 "14) The reasons given for the principle 

 that price fetched for small pots cannot 

 form safe basis for valuation of large 

 tracts of land, according to cases 

 referred to above, are that substantial 

 area is used for development of sites like 

 laying out roads, drains, sewers, water 

 and electricity lines and other civic 

 amenities. Expenses are also incurred in 

 providing these basic amenities. That 

 apart it takes considerable period in 

 carving out the roads making sewers and 

 drains and waiting for the purchasers. 

 Meanwhile the invested money is blocked up 

 and the return on the investment flows 

 after a considerable period of time. In 

 order to make up for the area of land 

 which is used in providing civic amenities 

 and the waiting period during which the 

 capital of the entrepreneur gets locked up 

 a deduction from 20% onward, depending 

 upon the facts of each case, is made.

 15) The question to be considered is 

 whether in the present case those factors 

 exist which warrant a deduction by way of 

 allowance from the price exhibited by the 

 exemplars of small plots which have been 

 filed by the parties. The land has not 

 been acquired for a housing colony or 

 government office or an institution. The 

 land has been acquired for setting up a 

 sugar factory. The factory would produce 

 goods worth many crores in a year. A 

 19

sugar factory apart from producing sugar 

also produces many by-products in the same 

process. One of the by-products is 

molasses, which is produced in huge 

quantity. Earlier, it had no utility and 

its disposal used to be a big problem. 

But now molasses is used for production of 

alcohol and ethanol which yield lot of 

revenue. Another by-product begasse is 

now use for generation of power and press 

mud is utilized in manure. Therefore, 

the profit from a sugar factory is 

substantial. Moreover, it is not confined 

to one year but will accrue every year so 

long as the factory runs. A housing 

board does not run on business lines. 

Once plots are carved out after 

acquisition of land and are sold to 

public, there is no scope or earning any 

money in future. An industry established 

on acquired land, if run efficiently, 

earns money or makes profit every year. 

The return from the land acquired for the 

purpose of housing colony, or offices, or 

institution cannot even remotely be 

compared with the land which has been 

acquired for the purpose of setting up a 

factory or industry. After all the 

factory cannot be set up without land and 

if such land is giving substantial return, 

there is no justification for making any 

deduction from the price exhibited by the 

exemplars even if they are of small plots. 

It is possible that a part of the acquired 

land might be used for construction of 

residential colony for the staff working 

in the factory. Nevertheless, where the 

 20

 remaining part of the acquired land is 

 contributing to production of goods 

 yielding good profit, it would not be 

 proper to make a deduction in the price of 

 land shown by the exemplars of small plots 

 as the reasons for doing so assigned in 

 various decisions of this court are not 

 applicable in the case under 

 consideration."

24. In the light of the aforesaid contention and 

taking cue from the settled position of law decided by 

this Court in the aforesaid matters, we are of the 

firm opinion that the base price has to be fixed @ Rs. 

4,08,000/- per acre. Keeping in mind that more than 

525 acres has been given to respondent No. 3 - 

Corporation, which in turn has set up its factory, a 

deduction of 10% on the aforesaid amount would be 

reasonable. Needless to say on the aforesaid amount, 

the appellant would be entitled for statutory benefits 

as mandated under the amended provisions of the Act. 

This appeal and the connected appeals filed by land 

owners are hereby allowed and the appeals filed by 

respondent No.3 are dismissed.

 21

25. The Reference Court is hereby directed to 

recalculate the amount of compensation to be awarded 

to the appellants and all such other land owners whose 

lands have been acquired in the light of the direction 

as contained hereinabove and to pay them the remainder 

amount within a period of 2 months from the date of 

communication of this order.

26. For the foregoing reasons, this and the connected 

appeals preferred by land owners are hereby allowed 

and those filed by the Corporation are dismissed with 

costs throughout. Counsel's fee quantified at Rs. 

10,000/- in each Appeal.

 .........................J.

 [DALVEER BHANDARI]

 .........................J.

 [DEEPAK VERMA]

New Delhi

August 24, 2011 

22

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Discussion

3 thoughts on “land acquisition act – Primarily, the increase in land prices depends on four factors: situation of the land, nature of development in surrounding area, availability of land for development in the area, and the demand for land in the area. In rural areas, unless there is any prospect of development in the vicinity, increase in prices would be slow, steady and gradual, without any sudden spurts or jumps. On the other hand, in urban or semi-urban areas, where the development is faster, where the demand for land is high and where there is construction activity all around, the escalation in market price is at a much higher rate, as compared to rural areas. In some pockets in big cities, due to rapid development and high demand for land, the escalations in prices have touched even 30% to 50% or more per year, during the nineties. 14) On the other extreme, in remote rural areas where there was no chance of any development and hardly any buyers, the prices stagnated for years or rose marginally at a nominal rate of 1% or 2% per annum. There is thus a significant difference in increases in market value of lands in urban/semi-urban areas and increases in market value of lands in the rural areas. Therefore, if the increase in market value in urban/semi-urban areas is about 10% to 15% per annum, the

  1. Sir,
    The judgement appears to be more sensible .However What I as a layman have not understood is how can the market value can be different if the end use of acquisition is different. In the present instance the deduction is 10 % where as my personal case where the end use was for housing it was 33 1/3%, and some cases it was 20 %. A land owner who has no control over the purpose of acquisition should not be penalised for no fault of his.
    Further in case where the enhancement proceeding has taken over period of 20 to 30 years on account of absurd fixing of low market value by the LAO ,again the land owner is penalised as he gets the additional enhanced value after a long period, by which time the value of the compensation would have eroded to a farcial level.
    It is unfortunate while some of the honourable courts have castigated such delay and highlighted the issues verbally,none have passed any judgements where in at least some kind of proper correction is directed to the
    bodies carrying out the acquisition ,. Say for example treating the 12%, 9% and 15 % per annum allowen under section 23 and 28 on a compounding interest basis. Such kind of thinking would mitigate the problem of the suffering land owners who are the victim of land acquisition delay.
    I liked your site and it is very up to date. Keep your good work and wish you the best.

    with regards,
    Prakash alva
    mangalore

    Posted by Prakash Alva | August 28, 2011, 9:52 PM

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