Decided on March 07,1979



B.K.MEHTA - (1.) IN this group of Civil Applications. the petitionerMrs. Tarabai Lalji who was plaintiff in Civil Suit No. 25 of 1968 on the file of the Court of Civil Judge (S. D.) Jamnagar being suit under sec. 20 of the Arbitration Act 1949 (hereinafter referred to as the plaintiff for the sake of convenience) challenges the award of April 22 1975 made by the Arbitrator Shri N. M. Miabhoy retired Chief Justice of this Court in the matter of damages pertaining to lease of certain lands admeasuring acres 2872-16 gunthas situate at village Jodiya in Jamnagar district 8 by the Government of the State of Gujarat to the plaintiff for manufacture of salt on the grounds inter alia that the award being a nullity and prays for setting aside the said award and for certain consequential reliefs as a result thereof.
(2.) THE State of Gujarat which was defendant in the suit (hereinafter referred to as the State Government for the sake of convenience) on the other hand prays for a decree in terms of the aforesaid award by which the claim for damages was dismissed by the said Arbitrator. In order to appreciate the multifarious contentions advanced on behalf of the plaintiff in proper perspective it would be profitable to trace the history of this dispute which has a chequered career althroughout these years in the Courts as well as before the Arbitrator. The plaintiff had applied to the State Government for granting lease of the aforesaid land for purposes of manufacturing salt thereon by her application of December 17 1952 She applied simultaneously on the same day to the Salt Commissioner of India for a licence to manufacture salt in reply of which the Salt Commissioner by his letter of February 29 1963 intimated the plaintiff that there would be no objection to the grant of the licence subject to certain conditions inter alia of the State Government granting lease to the plaintiff conferring proper legal title and providing therein for a clear approach road to the land in question. A copy of the said letter was sent to the State Government.
(3.) ON June 12 1963 the State Government granted the lease to the plaintiff for purposes of manufacturing salt and a lease deed containing terms and conditions with a site plan of the land in question was executed on August 17 1963 between the parties and it was registered on August 21 1963 before the District Registrar of Jamnagar. It is claimed by the plaintiff that after taking over of the possession of the land in question on September 14 1963 she spent a considerable amount for construction of salt works according to the lay-out plan approved by the Assistant Salt Commissioner Jamnagar. The plaintiff was also granted licence to manufacture salt being Licence No. 97 on October 14 1963 It appears that some dispute arose between the plaintiff and the local authorities of the State Government about the use of the approach road to the leasehold site. It is claimed by the plaintiff that though the works were on the point of being commissioned somewhere from October 1965 the State Government closed down the approach road on or about August 5 1965 The plaintiff therefore under clause 19 of the said lease deed made an application on August 14 1965 to the Salt Commissioner of India in the matter since he was the statutory Arbitrator under the Salt Act. The plaintiff by her application dated February 25 1966 prayed for determination of compensation as claimed therein. However it was the grievance of the plaintiff that the Salt Commissioner of India avoided to initiate arbitration proceedings and therefore she was compelled to move Civil Judge (S. D.) Jamnagar by her application dated April 12 1966 being Civil Miscellaneous Application No. 41 of 1965 which was the competent court having jurisdiction in the matter praying that the agreement be filed in the Court. This Civil Miscellaneous Application was later on numbered as Civil Suit No. 25 of 1968 on the State Government entering appearance for purposes of contest.;

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