Decided on September 27,1968



- (1.) These appeals and cross objections arise out of proceedings taken under the provisions of the (Travancore) Land Acquisition Act (Act XI of 1089) for the acquisition of 1,72 acres of double-crop wet land and 56.54 acres of dry land (or garden land as If has been called) for the Kozha Agricul- fural Research Farm in the Kottayam District. The lands, it would appear, are contiguous lands lying in one block. The Collector made seven separate awards by which he granted a total compensation of Rs. 1,16,000/- (rounded off to the nearest thousand) exclusive of the 15% solatium and interest. Not content with this, the landowners (or plaintiffs as they have been called by the Court below in accordance with the instructions in the old Travancore Civil Courts Guide, the State Government being called the defendant) asked for a reference to Court under S.18 of the Act, There were accordingly seven separate references all of which were heard together, the evidence being recorded in L. A. R. No, 94 of 1960 (the subject matter of A. S. No. 436 of 1963) which was treated as the main case. The Court awarded additional compensation totalling Rs. 4,93,000/- inclusive of solatium and Interest. The State Government has come up with these appeals seeking a total reduction amounting to Rs. 4,03,000/- while the plaintiffs by their cross objections seek enhancements amounting to Rs. 4,04,000/-.
(2.) The question in all these cases is; What is the amount awardable under clause, 'firstly' of Sub-section (i) of S.32 of the Act In other words what was the true market value of the acquired lands within the meaning of that clause on the relevant date thereunder, namely, 14-3-1958 the date of the declaration under S.6 Or, rather, since we are sitting in appeal: Is the award by the Court below under that clause erroneous The dispute, we might mention, relates only to the award under that clause --Indeed there was no award under any of the other clauses except for a petty award under clause 'secondly' in one of the cases.
(3.) Before we proceed to consider this question we have some observations to make regarding the conduct of these proceedings, and we make them in the expectation that due notice will be taken of them by the authorities concerned so that such remissness may not occur in the future with consequent loss to the exchequer, perhaps in some cases, injustice to a party who can't go to Court. (We told that such remissness is a general feature and that is our own experience. The fault, it would appear is of the systems rather than of particular individuals. That is really why we are Waking these observations--their object is the reform of the system, not the apportionment of blame) If our expectations are not completely belied, these appeals and the dis-preportionate amount of time we have had to spend on them (largely because of the unsatisfactory wsy in which the pro- ceedings were conducted by the Collector and before the Court below, leaving the learned Advocate General in the unhappy position of trying to make the best out of what has been done very ill indeed and pointing out that the other side has not done much better) will not have been altogether in vain.;

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