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Land Acquisition Act – Indisputably, for the purpose of computation of amount of compensation a large number of factors have to be taken into consideration, namely, nature and quality of land, whether irrigated or unirrigated, facilities for irrigation like existence of well, etc. presence of fruit-bearing trees, the location of the land, closeness to any road or highway, the evenness thereof whether there exists any building or structure.”

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 REPORTABLE

 IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

 CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

 CIVIL APPEAL NO. 2672 of 2004

 SPL. LAND ACQUISITION OFFICER ....Appellant 

 VERSUS

MAHARANI BISWAL & ORS. ....Respondents

 JUDGMENT

ANIL R. DAVE, J.

1. The present appeal is filed against the judgment and order dated 

 04.10.2001 passed by the High Court of Orissa whereby the High 

 Court, vide a common judgment, dismissed First Appeal No. 428 

 of 1990 filed by the Special Land Acquisition Officer and partly 

 allowed First Appeal No. 369 of 1990 filed by the Respondents 

 herein.

 Page 1 of 10

2. The issue that falls for consideration in the present appeal is 

 whether the assessment and determination of compensation 

 awarded to the respondents for acquisition of their land and 

 increasing it from Rs. 10,000/- to Rs. 75,000/- per acre is on the 

 higher side and is a proper reflection of the market price of the 

 land.

3. The facts leading to the filing of the present case are that Land 

 measuring Ac. 4.98 decimals appertaining to Plot Nos. 

 6588/6861, 6567, 6576, 6565, 6561 to 6564, 6581, 5873, 6566 

 and 6560 under Khata No. 88 situated in village Lodhani under 

 Parajang Police Station in the District of Dhenkanal was notified 

 to be acquired for Parajang Distributory as per Revenue 

 Department declaration No. 9420 dated 18.02.1987. The Land 

 Acquisition Officer vide order dated 02.03.1988 granted 

 compensation for the acquired land at the rate of Rs. 3100/- 

 (Taila Land) and Rs. 5490/- (Sarad Land) per acre. The owner-

 claimants received the compensation so determined under protest 

 and moved the Ld. Subordinate Judge by L.A. Misc. No. 37/88 

 under Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (hereinafter 

 referred to as "the Act") against the order of the Land Acquisition 

 Page 2 of 10

 Officer dated 02.03.1988.

4. The Ld. Subordinate Judge, after receiving evidence, by an order 

 dated 06.09.1990, determined the compensation of the acquired 

 land at the rate of Rs. 10,000/- per acre.

5. Aggrieved by the aforesaid order of the Ld. Subordinate Judge 

 dated 06.09.1990, the claimants filed First Appeal No. 369 of 

 1990 and the Land Acquisition Officer filed First Appeal No. 428 of 

 1990 before the High Court of Orissa. The High Court vide order 

 dated 04.10.2001, by a common judgment, dismissed First Appeal 

 No. 428 of 1990 filed by the Land Acquisition Officer and partly 

 allowed First Appeal No. 369 of 1990 filed by the claimants and 

 thereby enhanced the compensation of the said land from Rs. 

 10,000/- per acre to Rs. 75,000/- per acre.

6. Aggrieved by the aforesaid order dated 04.10.2001, the Land 

 Acquisition Officer has filed this appeal, upon which, we heard the 

 learned counsel appearing for the parties.

7. The learned counsel appearing for the appellant drew our 

 attention to the impugned judgment and order passed by the High 

 Court and by making reference to the same, the counsel 

 submitted that despite clear findings recorded by the Reference 

 Page 3 of 10

 Court determining compensation of the land acquired at Rs. 

 10,000/- per acre on proper appreciation of the documentary as 

 also of oral evidence on record, it was not justified for the High 

 Court to enhance the compensation to Rs. 75,000/- per acre 

 without properly appreciating the documents on record.

8. He also submitted that the High Court relied upon the sale deeds 

 by which very small pieces of land were sold and transferred. He, 

 therefore, submitted that the price at which such small pieces of 

 lands were sold did not reflect the correct market value. 

 Moreover, he submitted that the land was not much developed as 

 there were hardly four or five houses in the vicinity. He drew our 

 attention to the evidence led before the court to substantiate his 

 claim. He also submitted that expenses were required to be 

 incurred by the Government to make the acquired land fit for the 

 purpose for which it was being acquired. It was submitted that in 

 that regard, deduction was required to be made as certain lands 

 were going to be lost for which deduction was called for as has 

 been repeatedly held by this Court, but that was not done by the 

 High Court in the present case and, therefore, the judgment and 

 order is required to be set aside and quashed.

 Page 4 of 10

9. Counsel appearing for the respondents however, refuted the 

 aforesaid submissions while submitting that the aforesaid sale 

 deeds relate to lands, which are located near the acquired land 

 and so they were the best guide to determine the compensation 

 and, therefore, the High Court was justified in relying on the said 

 sale deeds and arriving at a just and fair compensation.

10. In order to appreciate the aforesaid contentions of the counsel 

 appearing for the parties, we have ourselves scrutinized the 

 records. The entire burden is placed on respondent to prove and 

 establish that they are entitled to more than Rs. 3,100/- per acre 

 which was determined by the Land Acquisition Officer. In order 

 to prove the said fact, the respondent examined four witnesses 

 and relied upon five sale deeds which were exhibited as Ext. 3 

 which is dated 14.9.1988, Ext. 4 dated 15.4.1985, Ext. 5 dated 

 25.5.1984, Ext. 6 dated 15.7.1985, whereas the Respondents' 

 claimants also relied on Ext. 7 to show the location of G.P. Office 

 and Grain Gola Office. The respondents also filed on record a map 

 as Ext. 8 which discloses that a road runs in between the acquired 

 land. However, there is no evidence to show that the aforesaid 

 road, which runs in between the acquired land is a national 

 highway. No such documentary evidence was placed on record to 

 Page 5 of 10

 prove the said fact. The notification under Section 4 in the 

 present case was issued on 18.2.1987 and, therefore, market 

 value as existing near about the said date and near about the 

 same land is to be determined and assessed. The Reference 

 Court has very elaborately and minutely discussed the entire 

 evidence on record including the deposition of the witnesses and 

 on appreciation thereof has come to a definite finding and 

 conclusion that the acquired land on the date of issuance of the 

 notification under Section 4 cannot be valued and assessed at 

 more than Rs. 10,000/- per acre. Consequently, the said amount 

 was determined by the Reference Court as just and fair 

 compensation for the land acquired.

11.As against the aforesaid findings giving cogent reasons, the High 

 Court, failed to indicate as to how the aforesaid findings are 

 unreasonable and unjustified fixing the compensation of the land 

 at Rs. 10,000/- per acre. The High Court enhanced the 

 compensation to Rs. 75,000/- per acre without any appreciation 

 of the evidence on record and also without considering the 

 findings of the learned Reference Court and ultimately rejecting 

 the same. It was necessary for the High Court to give reasons for 

 its disagreement with the findings of the Reference Court but 

 Page 6 of 10

 nothing of that nature was done by the High Court and the High 

 Court arrived at an abrupt decision raising the compensation to 

 Rs. 75,000/- per acre.

12.In this regard, we may refer to the judgment of this Court in the 

 case of Navanath and Others Vs. State of Maharashtra reported 

 in (2009) 14 SCC 480, in which this Court while discarding the 

 findings of the High Court, which were found to be based on 

 surmises and conjecture, restored to the findings of the Reference 

 Court which were based on detailed examination of materials 

 brought on record held thus: -

 "31. .................The Reference Judge had taken 

 into consideration the evidences adduced on behalf 

 of both the parties not only with regard to the 

 classification of the land but also the number of 

 trees, their age, the quality, etc. We may notice that 

 the learned Reference Judge determined the 

 question in regard to the classification of land on the 

 basis of the evidences adduced before it by 

 individual landowners; by way of example, having 

 regard to the fact that the claimants had failed to 

 prove that the land had any irrigational facility, the 

 learned Reference Judge classified the lands as 

 jirayat lands. If the State was aggrieved thereby, it 

 was bound to show that the findings arrived at by 

 the Reference Court is not sustainable having 

 regard to the materials brought on record.

 32. The finding of fact arrived at by the learned 

 Reference Judge on the basis of the materials 

 brought on record, in our opinion, could not have 

 Page 7 of 10

 been interfered with by the High Court on the 

 surmises and conjectures..............."

The Court further observed: -

 "46. ....................A court of law must base its 

 decision on appreciation of evidence brought on 

 record by applying the correct legal principles. 

 Surmises and conjectures alone cannot form the 

 basis of a judgment."

With regard to computation of the amount of compensation this 

Court held as follows: - 

 "44. Indisputably, for the purpose of computation of 

 amount of compensation a large number of factors 

 have to be taken into consideration, namely, nature 

 and quality of land, whether irrigated or unirrigated, 

 facilities for irrigation like existence of well, etc. 

 presence of fruit-bearing trees, the location of the 

 land, closeness to any road or highway, the 

 evenness thereof whether there exists any building 

 or structure."

13.Since the High Court has not considered the oral evidence and 

 also not properly analysed the documentary evidence available on 

 record, the judgment and order passed by the High Court cannot 

 be sustained and has to be interfered with. This is also because 

 of the fact that the High Court proceeded on a wrong notion that 

 the sale deeds of tiny pieces of land could be the determining 

 factor as the land acquired in the present case is Ac. 4.98 

 Page 8 of 10

 decimals as against the sale deeds by which not even 1 decimal of 

 land was sold. There is total misreading of the evidence on record 

 and also misinterpretation of the legal proposition settled by this 

 Court.

14. Considering the entire facts and circumstances of the case, we 

 set aside the judgment and order passed by the High Court and 

 we are of the considered opinion that the High Court should 

 discharge its duty and responsibility of appreciating the entire 

 evidence on record as it is the last court of appeal in view of the 

 provisions of Section 54 of the Act. The High Court shall 

 appreciate the entire evidence on record and thereafter give a 

 proper finding on the basis of both, oral and documentary 

 evidence by taking notice of the observations made herein and 

 thereafter decide all the issues that are raised before it by the 

 parties.

15.We also desire that this case requires early disposal by the High 

 Court and, therefore, we direct the parties to appear before the 

 High Court on 15th September, 2011 for obtaining the dates in the 

 appeal.

16.With the above observations and directions, this appeal is 

 disposed of as allowed but leaving the parties to bear their own 

 Page 9 of 10

 costs.

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

 [Dr. Mukundakam Sharma]

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

 [Anil R. Dave]

New Delhi

August 24, 2011.  Page 10 of 10

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