BAI MANI WD O OF SHAH MANGALDAS GOKULDAS Vs. STATE OF GUJARAT
HIGH COURT OF GUJARAT
Bai Mani Wd O Of Shah Mangaldas Gokuldas
STATE OF GUJARAT
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(1.) This group of cross-appeals arises out of the judgment and award passed by the Assistant Judge Mehsana dated 15/07/1977 awarding compensation to the claimants in respect of the acquisition of 31 pieces of agricultural lands of varying sizes situated within the revenue limits of village Saij just adjoining Kalol town in Mehsana district. It is not necessary to set out elaborately the different survey numbers and their respective sizes. Suffice it to say that the sizes of the pieces of land involved in this acquisition are varying in the range between 2 gunthas=202 sq. metres to acres 6-27 gunthas=27013 sq. metres. The entire block of the said pieces of land was acquired for the public purpose of setting up an industrial estate by the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation. The relevant notification under sec. 4 declaring the intention of the State Government to acquire the said pieces of land was dated 25/11/1964 and was published in the State Government Gazette of 24/12/1964 The relevant sec. 6 notification deciding to acquire the said block of land was dated 29/01/1966 and published in the State Government Gazette of 27/02/1966 It appears that the claimants concerned had made claim for compensation at the rate of Rs. 45.00 per sq. metre in respect of the land of S. No. 155 while in respect of the rest of the lands the claim was made at the rate of Rs. 20.00 per sq. metre before the Land Acquisition Officer. The claimants as well as the acquiring body viz. the GIDC produced a number of sale instances in support of the claims and rebuttal thereof respectively. We will refer to the relevant sale instances at the appropriate time for purposes of appreciating whether the claims made by the claimants in their appeals before us or the grievances made by the State Government against the award made by the learned Assistant Judge in the appeals preferred by the Government are justified or not.
(2.) The Special Land Acquisition Officer granted compensation at different rates viz. Rs. 6000 to Rs. 12 0 per hectre. In other words he made the award granting compensation at the rates ranging between Rs. 0.60 and Rs. 1.20per sq. metre of the lands acquired. The claimants being aggrieved by this offer made by the Special Land Acquisition Officer sought for reference under sec. 18 of the Land Acquisition Act which reference was granted. It appears that the claimants in their reference applications before the Civil Court claimed compensation at the uniform rate of Rs. 12 per sq. metre instead of Rs. 45 and Rs. 20 per sq. metre as was the case before the Special Land Acqui- sition Officer. The learned Assistant Judge Mehsana before whom these applications reached for hearing on appreciation of the evidence adduced by the parties oral as well as documentary concluded that the fair market value of the lands under acquisition should be assessed at Rs. 3 and Rs. 4 per sq. metre. The learned Assistant Judge in assessing the fair market value as aforesaid relied basically on the judgment and award made by this Court in First Appeal No. 541 of 1971 and three other companion matters pronounced on 31/03/1975 in the matter of acquisition of land of S. Nos. 151 152 153 and 154 admeasuring acre 1-24 gunthas and 8 anni=9014 1/2 sq. yards and another parcel of land admeasuring 24935.05 sq. yards situated within the revenue limits of village Saij which were acquired for purposes of widening the State High Way running between Ahmedabad and Abu and for the workshop and the staff quarters of the Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation under sec. 4 notifications dated 5/03/1966 and 24/08/1967 respectively since in the present acquisition the remaining parts of these very survey numbers have been sought to be acquired by the GIDC. The learned Assistant Judge also found support for his conclusion from the various sale instances pertaining to small pieces of land of different survey numbers situated within the revenue limits of village Saij as well as within the limits of Kalol town evidenced by Exs. 100 101 104 106 102 105 and 152. The learned Judge made an attempt to ascertain the market value re-assessed by reference to the evidence led by the claimants about the yield from some of the lands under acquisition and also capitali- sing the rental value of the two pieces of land of S. Nos. 150 and 155 as evidenced by Exs. 223 and 224. The learned Assistant Judge has also awarded compensation on account of hedge trees and super- structures standing on some of the pieces of land under acquisition. The learned Assistant Judge awarded solatium at the statutory rate and interest on the amount of compensation as awarded by him at the rate of 4 per cent from the date of possession. It should be noted that the learned Assistant Judge has fixed the market price at Rs. 4 per sq. metre for those pieces of land which had frontage on the Ahmedabad-Abu road (hereinafter described as the State High Way) while he has fixed Rs. 3 per sq. metre for the lands which are situated in the interior. Accordingly he awarded compensation at a higher rate of Rs. 4 per sq. metre for S. Nos. 150 151 152 154 132 to 132/9 while at the rate of Rs. 3 per sq. metre for S. Nos. 49 163 164 131 158 155 157 to 157/4 109 56 1544 and 66/2. The claimants as well as the State Government being aggrieved by the judgment and award of the learned Assistant Judge have come by way of first appeals before us. [After stating the facts the Honble Judge further observed:]
(3.) The learned Advocates appearing for the claimants made a serious grievance that the learned Assistant Judge has not indicated as to why he has assessed the fair market value of the lands in question at the rate of Rs. 3 to Rs. 4 per sq. metre nor has he adopted any basis for slashing down the market price of the lands which this Court has fixed in First Appeal No. 541 of 1971 for these very pieces of land acquired for widening up the State High Way or for purposes of the workshop of the Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation. In submission of the learned Advocates for the claimants the conclusion of the learned Assistant Judge was more in the nature of ipse dixit than a reasoned conclusion. It was contended by them that there was no valid reason for the learned Assistant Judge to depart from the market price as fixed by this Court in respect of the lands acquired from S. Nos. 151 152 153 and 154 for purposes of widening of the State High Way under sec. 4 notification of 5/03/1966 since the notification by which the present lot of lands is acquired was immediately proximate in point of time i.e. 25/11/1964 and published on 24/12/1964 The time leg was hardly of 13 to 14 months which in no case would have justified the slashing down of the price fixed by this Court in respect of the lands acquired for purposes of widening of the State High Way by about 50% to 60% since the High Court has fixed the market price of the lands acquired from some of the very survey numbers viz. S. Nos. 151 to 154 at Rs. 8 per sq. metre. ... ... ... ... ... ...;
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