CORPORATION OF COCHIN Vs. MICHAEL LUIZ
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
CORPORATION OF COCHIN
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(1.)These revisions are by the Corporation of Cochin, a local authority within the meaning of S.50 of the Land Acquisition Act. It challenges the orders refusing to lift the attachment of its assets.
(2.)In execution of awards for enhanced compensation granted by the Reference Court, the executing court ordered attachment of the assets of the Corporation. The attachments were effected. Thereupon the Corporation filed Execution Application praying for withdrawal of the attachment on the ground that the assets of the Corporation were not liable to be proceeded against for recovery of the enhanced compensation awarded under the Land Acquisition Act and that the Corporation was not a party either to the award or to the reference or to the decree and consequently no execution could be levied against it, for recovery of the amounts covered by the decree. The decree holders contended that the acquisition was on a requisition by the local authority, the Corporation of Cochin, and since they had the obligation to provide the funds necessary for the acquisition, they could be proceeded against in execution of the decree. It was further contended that in any view, the Corporation was a State and consequently what is decreed to be recovered from the State can be recovered by proceeding against the assets of the Corporation. The executing court overruled the contentions of the Corporation and ordered that the attachment cannot be withdrawn as claimed by the Corporation. The Execution Application filed by the Corporation were dismissed. These dismissals are challenged in these revisions by the Corporation.
(3.)In the Land Acquisition Act, the local authority is defined under S.3(aa) as to include a Town Planning Authority set up under any Law for the time being in force. There is no dispute that Corporation of Cochin is a local authority within the meaning Of the Land Acquisition Act. In the Act, the local authority appears to have been bracketed with a company, as defined under the Act. But whereas Part VII lays down conditions and procedure for acquisition of land by the State for companies, there are no corresponding provisions with regard to local authorities. Nor does the definition of company, under S.3(e) of the Act take within its purview, a local authority. S.41 of the Act provides for an agreement to be entered into by the Company with the Government providing to the satisfaction of the Government, the payment to the Government of the cost of the acquisition and. other matters. The local authority is paired with a company and is roped in by S.50 of the Act. The section reads:
"50. Acquisition of land at cost of a local authority or Company (1) Where the provisions of this Act are put in force for the purpose of acquiring land at the cost of any fund controlled or managed by a local authority or of any Company, the charges of and incidental to such acquisition shall be defrayed from or by such fund or company.
(2) In any proceeding held before a Collector or Court in such cases the local authority or Company concerned may appear and adduce evidence for the purpose of determining the amount of compensation.
Provided that no such local authority or Company shall be entitled to demand a reference under S.18."
It can be seen from sub-s.(1), that the obligation to provide the cost of acquisition and the charges incidental thereto has to come out of the fund of the local authority at whose requisition, the acquisition is to be made. It is therefore clear that the cost of acquisition has to come from the fund of the local authority and the provisions of the Act are set in motion on the understanding that the cost of the acquisition will come out of the funds of the local authority. R.4 of the Land Acquisition (Kerala) Rules provides for the form of requisition to be made for acquisition of land, under the Act. Form 2 insists on providing for information as to whether the sanction of the competent authority had been obtained for the requisition for acquisition to be made and whether necessary budget provision exists for meeting the cost of acquisition. On a scrutiny of these provisions it appears that in the absence of any other understanding between the Government and the local authority the cost of this acquisition has to be borne by the local authority. It is not disputed in this case that the local authority has the obligation to bear the expenses of the acquisition including the satisfaction of any decree for enhanced compensation passed by a Reference Court or in appeal. It is therefore clear that the amounts awarded under the decrees put in execution in these cases, must really originate from the funds of the local authority.
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