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Land Acquisition Act – sec.30 & sec.18 references -Collector award 1985 Sec.30 disposed in 1991- with in 6 weeks applied for sec.18 reference – Lower court awarded enhanced compensation – High court held that the reference was barred by limitation – Apex court set aside the order of High court – after disposal of sec.30 only sec.18 arises – as they applied with in 6 weeks – reference was not barred by limitation = MADAN & ANR. … APPELLANT (S) VERSUS STATE OF MAHARASHTRA … RESPONDENT (S) = published in http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/imgst.aspx?filename=41051

Land Acquisition Act – sec.30  & sec.18 references -Collector award 1985 Sec.30

English: The supreme court of india. Taken abo...

English: The supreme court of india. Taken about 170 m from the main building outside the perimeter wall (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

disposed in 1991- with in 6 weeks applied for sec.18 reference – Lower court awarded enhanced compensation – High court held that the reference was barred by limitation – Apex court set aside the order  of High court – after disposal of sec.30 only sec.18 arises – as they applied with in 6 weeks – reference was not barred by limitation =

 

It appears that after the order  dated  4.9.1991  was  passed  in  the

Reference  under  Section  30  of  the  Act,  the  appellants  received  the

compensation on 5.9.1991.  

Though the precise date is not available,  within

six weeks from the date of the order dated 4.9.1991 the appellants sought  a

Reference under Section 18 of the Act for enhancement  of  the  compensation

awarded.  

The aforesaid Reference which was numbered as L.A.R.  No.  75/1992

was decided by the Second Additional District Judge,  Beed  by  order  dated

29.10.1993 enhancing  the  compensation  amount  by  an  additional  sum  of

Rs.2,10,000/- along with solatium, interest  etc.  as  due  under  different

provisions of the Act.

 

5.    Aggrieved by the  aforesaid  Award  dated  29.10.1993,  the  State  of

Maharashtra  filed  an  appeal  before  the  High  Court   questioning   the

enhancement of  the  compensation  awarded  and  also  contending  that  the

Reference made was barred  by  limitation  in  view  of  the  provisions  of

Section 18(2) of the Act.  

The  High  Court  by  the  impugned  order  dated

09.09.2008 decided the appeal only on the issue  of  limitation  by  holding

the same to be time barred.  Accordingly, the appeal filed by the State  was

allowed and the Award passed by the  Second  Additional  District  Judge  in

L.A.R.No.75/1992 was reversed. =

A cursory glance of the provisions of Sections 18 and 30 of  the  Act,

extracted above, may suggest that there  is  some  overlapping  between  the

provisions  inasmuch  as  both  contemplate  reference  of  the   issue   of

apportionment of compensation to the Court. 

 But, a  closer  scrutiny  would

indicate that the two Sections of the  Act  operate  in  entirely  different

circumstances.   

While  Section  18  applies   to   situations   where   the

apportionment made in the Award is objected to by a beneficiary  thereunder,

Section  30  applies  when  no  apportionment  whatsoever  is  made  by  the

Collector on account of conflicting claims.  

In such a situation one of  the

options open to the Collector is to make a  reference  of  the  question  of

apportionment to the Court under Section 30 of the Act.   

The  other  is  to

relegate the parties to the remedy of a  suit.   

In  either  situation,  the

right to receive  compensation  under  the  Award  would  crystallize  after

apportionment is made in favour of a claimant.  

It is only  thereafter  that

a reference under Section 18 for enhanced compensation can  be  legitimately

sought by the claimant in whose favour the order of apportionment is  passed

either by the Court in the reference under Section 30 or in the civil  suit,

as may be.

 

 

  On  a

logical extension of the principle laid down  in  Dr.  G.H.  Grant  Vs.  The

State of Bihar (supra) 

the State would have been entitled in  law  to  claim

enhanced compensation under Section 18 of the Act once its entitlement to

receive such compensation is to be decided in its favour under  Section  30.

This is what has happened in the present case.

 

14.   For the reasons aforesaid, we hold that the High Court  had  erred  in

allowing the appeal filed  by  the  State  and  reversing  the  order  dated

29.10.1993 passed by the Second Additional District Judge, Beed.  

The  award

of compensation in the instant case having been made  by  the  Collector  as

far back as in the year 1985  and  the  amount  involved  being  exceedingly

small we have considered the basis on which enhancement of compensation  was

made by the learned Reference Court in its order dated 29.10.1993.  

On  such

scrutiny, we do not find  any  error  in  the  view  taken  by  the  learned

Reference Court.  

Therefore, in  the  peculiar  facts  of  the  case,  while

allowing this appeal and setting aside the order dated 09.09.2008 passed  by

the High Court we deem it proper  to  restore  the  order  dated  29.10.1993

passed by the Second Additional District Judge in L.A.R. No.75 of 1995.

 

REPORTABLE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 10863 OF 2013
(Arising Out of SLP (C) No.9603 of 2009)
MADAN & ANR. … APPELLANT (S)

VERSUS

STATE OF MAHARASHTRA … RESPONDENT (S)

J U D G M E N T
RANJAN GOGOI, J.

1. Leave granted.

2. This appeal is directed against the judgment and order dated
09.O9.2008 passed by the High Court of Bombay at Aurangabad holding the
Reference made by the Collector under Section 18 of the Land Acquisition
Act, 1894 (hereinafter referred to as “the Act”) to be barred by
limitation. The High Court, accordingly, reversed the Award dated
29.10.1993 passed by the Reference Court granting enhanced compensation to
the appellants. Aggrieved, this appeal has been filed.

3. The brief facts of the case may be usefully recited as hereunder:
Acquisition of a total area of 8 Hectares 40 Ares covered by Survey
No.49 situated at village Phule Pimpalgaon in Taluka Majalgaon of Beed
District was initiated by a Notification under Section 4 of the Act which
was published in the gazette on 13.03.1980. No objection under Section 5A
of the Act was filed by any person interested. Consequently, the
Notification under Section 6 of the Act was published on 18.04.1982 and an
Award was passed on 16.08.1985 granting compensation at the rate of Rs.50/-
, Rs.65/- and Rs.75/- per Are respectively for different categories of land
classified as Grade I, II and III in the Award. As there was a dispute
with regard to the ownership of the land, the Collector (Special Land
Acquisition Officer) referred the matter to the civil court for
apportionment of compensation under Section 30 of the Act. The Reference
under Section 30 made by the Collector which was registered and numbered as
L.A.R. No. 94/1985 came to be disposed of by the learned Second Additional
District Judge, Beed on 4.9.1991 holding that the present appellants
(claimants 1 and 2) are entitled to compensation in respect of 20 acres of
the acquired land and the remaining parties (claimants 3 to 7) for
compensation in respect of remainder of the acquired land.

4. It appears that after the order dated 4.9.1991 was passed in the
Reference under Section 30 of the Act, the appellants received the
compensation on 5.9.1991. Though the precise date is not available, within
six weeks from the date of the order dated 4.9.1991 the appellants sought a
Reference under Section 18 of the Act for enhancement of the compensation
awarded. The aforesaid Reference which was numbered as L.A.R. No. 75/1992
was decided by the Second Additional District Judge, Beed by order dated
29.10.1993 enhancing the compensation amount by an additional sum of
Rs.2,10,000/- along with solatium, interest etc. as due under different
provisions of the Act.

5. Aggrieved by the aforesaid Award dated 29.10.1993, the State of
Maharashtra filed an appeal before the High Court questioning the
enhancement of the compensation awarded and also contending that the
Reference made was barred by limitation in view of the provisions of
Section 18(2) of the Act. The High Court by the impugned order dated
09.09.2008 decided the appeal only on the issue of limitation by holding
the same to be time barred. Accordingly, the appeal filed by the State was
allowed and the Award passed by the Second Additional District Judge in
L.A.R.No.75/1992 was reversed.

6. We have heard Mr. Sudhanshu S. Choudhary, learned counsel for the
appellants and Mr. Anirudh P. Mayee, learned counsel appearing on behalf of
the respondent-State.

7. Learned counsel for the appellants has vehemently urged that from the
materials placed on record it is evident that the appellants did not
participate in the enquiry leading to the Award dated 16.08.1985 passed by
the Land Acquisition Collector. No notice of the Award under Section 12(2)
of the Act was served on the appellants either. It is pointed out that the
appellants became entitled to receive compensation under the Award only on
4.9.1991 i.e. the date of the order of the court in the Reference made
under Section 30 of the Act. Such compensation was received by the
appellants on 5.9.1991. Thereafter, the application for Reference under
Section 18 of the Act was made within the period of 6 weeks from the date
of the order passed under Section 30 of the Act. Relying on the decision
of this Court in Raja Harish Chandra Raj Singh Vs. The Deputy Land
Acquisition Officer & Anr.[1] learned counsel has urged that the date of
knowledge of the Award referred to in Section 18(2), in the present case,
has to be understood to be 4.9.1991 i.e. the date of the order under
Section 30 of the Act. If that be so, according to the learned counsel for
the appellants, the High Court was clearly in error in holding the
Reference under Section 18 of the Act to be barred by limitation. Another
decision of this Court in Dr. G.H. Grant Vs. The State of Bihar[2] has been
relied onto emphasize the true purport of Sections 18 and 30 of the Act.

8. Controverting the submissions advanced on behalf of the appellants,
learned counsel for the State has contended that the appellants having
claimed to be the owners of the land were at all times aware of the land
acquisition proceeding leading to the Award dated 16.08.1985 passed by the
Collector. According to the learned counsel for the State, the appellants,
therefore, should have sought a Reference under Section 18 within the time
prescribed by Section 18(2). In this regard, learned counsel for the State
has pointed out that even under Section 18 of the Act it is open to an
aggrieved party to seek a reference on the question of apportionment of the
Award. The Award in the present case having been passed by the Land
Acquisition Collector on 16.08.1985, the Reference under Section 18 for
enhanced compensation made in the year 1991 is inordinately delayed and the
conclusion of the High Court to the said effect is fully justified.

9. For ready reference it may be convenient to set out hereinunder the
provisions of Sections 18 and 30 of the Act:-

“18. Reference to Court.—(1) Any person interested who has not
accepted the award may, by written application to the Collector,
require that the matter be referred by the Collector for the
determination of the Court, whether his objection be to the
measurement of the land, the amount of the compensation, the persons
to whom it is payable, or the apportionment of the compensation among
the persons interested.

(2) The application shall state the grounds on which objection to
the award is taken:

Provided that every such application shall be made,—

(a) if the person making it was present or represented before the
Collector at the time when he made his award, within six weeks
from the date of the Collector’s award;

(b) in other cases, within six weeks of the receipt of the notice
from the Collector under section 12, sub-section (2), or within
six months from the date of the Collector’s award, whichever
period shall first expire.”
“30. Dispute as to apportionment.—When the amount of compensation has
been settled under section 11, if any dispute arises as to the
apportionment of the same or any part thereof, or as to the persons to
whom the same or any part thereof, is payable, the Collector may refer
such dispute to the decision of the Court.”

10. From the order dated 29.10.1993 passed in L.A.R. No. 75/1992, it is,
inter alia, clear that there was a dispute amongst the land owners (the
appellants are one set of such land owners) in respect of their respective
shares in the acquired land on account of which no apportionment of
compensation was made by the Collector who made a Reference under Section
30 of the Act to the court. Further, in the order dated 29.10.1993 it is
recorded that the appellants had no knowledge of the Award till the order
dated 4.9.1991 came to be passed in the Reference under Section 30. In
Raja Harish Chandra Raj Singh (supra) this Court has held that the
expression “the date of the award” used in proviso (b) to Section 18(2) of
the Act must be understood to mean the date when the award is either
communicated to the party or is known by him either actually or
constructively. It was further held by this Court that it will be
unreasonable to construe the words “from the date of the Collector’s award”
used in the proviso to Section 18 in a literal or mechanical way. In the
present case, it has already been noticed that a finding has been recorded
by the Reference Court in its order dated 29.10.1993 that “the petitioners
had no knowledge about the passing of the award till the date of payment of
compensation on 5.9.1991 because they were held entitled to receive the
compensation after the decision of Reference under Section 30 dated
4.9.1991.”

11. What transpires from the above is that it is for the first time on
4.9.1991 (date of the order under Section 30 of the Act) that the
appellants came to know that they were entitled to compensation and the
quantum thereof. It is not in dispute that the Reference under Section 18
was made within 6 weeks from the said date i.e. 4.9.1991. In the above
facts, it is difficult to subscribe to the view taken by the High Court to
hold that the Reference under Section 18 was barred by limitation.

12. A cursory glance of the provisions of Sections 18 and 30 of the Act,
extracted above, may suggest that there is some overlapping between the
provisions inasmuch as both contemplate reference of the issue of
apportionment of compensation to the Court. But, a closer scrutiny would
indicate that the two Sections of the Act operate in entirely different
circumstances. While Section 18 applies to situations where the
apportionment made in the Award is objected to by a beneficiary thereunder,
Section 30 applies when no apportionment whatsoever is made by the
Collector on account of conflicting claims. In such a situation one of the
options open to the Collector is to make a reference of the question of
apportionment to the Court under Section 30 of the Act. The other is to
relegate the parties to the remedy of a suit. In either situation, the
right to receive compensation under the Award would crystallize after
apportionment is made in favour of a claimant. It is only thereafter that
a reference under Section 18 for enhanced compensation can be legitimately
sought by the claimant in whose favour the order of apportionment is passed
either by the Court in the reference under Section 30 or in the civil suit,
as may be.

13. The decision of this Court in Dr. G.H. Grant Vs. The State of Bihar
(supra) would also support the above conclusion. In the aforesaid case, an
Award was made by the Collector on 25.3.1952. On 5.5.1952, the owner
applied under Section 18 for a Reference to the court for enhancement of
the compensation payable to him. While the matter was so situated, by
notification dated 22.5.1952 issued under Section 3 of the Bihar Land
Reforms Act, 30 of 1950, the estate of the owner vested in the State. The
possession of the land was taken over on 21.08.1952 under Section 16 of the
Act. On 15.10.1952, a Reference under Section 30 was sought on behalf of
the State. After noticing the different situations in which the provisions
of Sections 18 and 30 of the Act would apply, this Court proceeded to hold
the Reference sought by the State of Bihar under Section 30 of the Act to
be competent in law on the ground that after the award was passed by the
Collector the land had vested in the State by virtue of the notification
dated 22.5.1952 under Section 3 of the Bihar Land Reforms Act, 1950. On a
logical extension of the principle laid down in Dr. G.H. Grant Vs. The
State of Bihar (supra) the State would have been entitled in law to claim
enhanced compensation under Section 18 of the Act once its entitlement to

receive such compensation is to be decided in its favour under Section 30.
This is what has happened in the present case.

14. For the reasons aforesaid, we hold that the High Court had erred in
allowing the appeal filed by the State and reversing the order dated
29.10.1993 passed by the Second Additional District Judge, Beed. The award
of compensation in the instant case having been made by the Collector as
far back as in the year 1985 and the amount involved being exceedingly
small we have considered the basis on which enhancement of compensation was
made by the learned Reference Court in its order dated 29.10.1993. On such
scrutiny, we do not find any error in the view taken by the learned
Reference Court. Therefore, in the peculiar facts of the case, while
allowing this appeal and setting aside the order dated 09.09.2008 passed by
the High Court we deem it proper to restore the order dated 29.10.1993
passed by the Second Additional District Judge in L.A.R. No.75 of 1995.
…………..….…………………CJI.
[P. SATHASIVAM]
…….…….……..………………………J.
[RANJANA PRAKASH DESAI]
…….…….……..………………………J.
[RANJAN GOGOI]
NEW DELHI
DECEMBER 06, 2013.
———————–
[1] AIR 1961 SC 1500
[2] AIR 1966 SC 237

———————–
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