EGAPPA GOUNDER Vs. THE SPECIAL TAHSILDAR (LAND ACQUISITION)
HIGH COURT OF MADRAS
The Special Tahsildar (Land Acquisition)
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G. Ramanujam, J. -
(1.) An extent of 14 acres and 80 cent of land in Kathivakkam village, Saidapet taluk, Chingleput Dt, was acquired for providing residential accommodation for workers and for expansion of factory and godowns, etc. for Ashok Leyland Ltd., Ennore in pursuance of notifications under S. 4 (1) of the Land Acquisition Act dated 26th October, 1960 16th November 1969 and 5th April 1961. The Land Acquisition Officer dealt with the lands acquired under 6 awards, Ex. B. 2 to B. 7. The awards under Ex B. 2 and B -7 dealt with the lands abutting the Kathivakkam road and the Land Acquisition Officer awarded compensation at the rate ranging from Rs. 30 to Rs. 50 percent. The awards covered under Ex. B. 3, B. 4 and B. 6 as also B -7 dealt with lands in the interior situate on the western side of the road abutting lends covered by the awards in Ex. B. 2 to B -7 and the Land Acquisition officer fixed the value at Rs. 10 percent for these lands. Award under Ex. B, 5 dealt with the lands on the eastern side of the railway line running from Madras to Bezwada and the Land Acquisition Officer fixed the value of these lands at Rs. 30 percent. The claimant in respect of these lands abutting the Kathivakkam road as well as those in the interior put forward claims for compensation at the rate ranging from Rs 100 to Rs 1000 per cent and the claimants owning the lands on the east of the railway line have put forward a claim at the rate of Rs. 100 percent before the Land Acquisition officer. Not satisfied with amounts a warded by the Land Acquisition officer as compensation for the lands acquired, all the claimants sought references to the court below under S. 18 of the Land Acquisition Act. The court below fixed the market value of the lands covered by the awards, B. 2 and B -7 which are abutting Kathivakkam road at Rs. 73 percent and for the lands lying an the east of the railway line covered by the award B -5 at Rs. 50 percent. The lower court, however, valued the lands covered by the awards under Ex. B -3. B -4, and B -6, which did not abut the Kathivakkam road but lie in the interior under two categories adopting the belting system It took the lands immediately on the west of the road abutting tends covered by Ex B -2 and B -7 and awarded compensation for that category at Rs. 50 percent while it valued the lands in the farther west and nearer to the Buckingham Canal at Rs. 35 percent. The State hat filed all the above appeals, except A. S. 493 of 1964, challenging the enhanced valuation fixed by the lower court and the respondent in A. S. 550, 551, 554, 555, 556, 557, 559 and 560 to 566 of 1965 have filed Memorandum of cross objections seeking a farther enhancement of the compensation at rates ranging from Rs. 50 to 200 percent. A. S. 493 of 1964 is an independent appeal filed by the claimant in C.R.O.P. No. 95 of 1962 on the file of the lower court wherein he questions the decision of the lower court restricting his compensation at Rs. 50 percent though it has fixed the compensation for the lands acquired from him at the rate of Rs. 75 percent on the ground that the claimant has restricted his claim to Rs. 50 percent.
(2.) The Land Acquisition Officer fixed compensation of Rs. 50 percent for the road abutting lands relying on the sales under Ex. B. 8 and B. 9 dated 17th February, 1958 and 9th May, 1959 respectively He considered Ex, B. 8 and B. 9 which are sale deeds in respect of some of the lands acquired and which abut the main road. The price fetched under Ex. B. 8 and B. 9 was at the rate of Rs. 48 and Rs. 27 percent respectively. The Land Acquisition officer took the price fetched under Ex, B 8 as the basis for this valuation. The court below, on the other hand, relied en Ex. A. 4 as the basis for fixing the market value of the road abutting lands. It considered the land in S. No. 45/1 covered by Ex. A. 4 as being situate in an advantageous position opposite to the Ashok Leyland factory and the price fetched under Ex. A 4 cannot be granted to all the road abutting lands and on that basis reduced the market value of the lands to Rs. 75 percent while it awarded compensation for survey No, 45/1 alone at the rate of Rs. 100 percent which is the rate at which the property was purchased by the claimant under Ex. A 4 dated 7th September, 1960.
(3.) The learned Government Pleader seeks to justify the valuation made by the Land Acquisition officer in these appeals. "He submits that the lower court was not justified in relying on Ex. A. 4 fo. fixing the market value of the read abutting lands and that the lower court should have confirmed the valuation adopted by the Land Acquisition officer." it is pointed out that there was a preliminary enquiry in 1960 when the officials visited the spot and made local enquiries, that this has given rise to speculation in the value of the lands in the locality, and that Ex. A. 4 came into existence after such a preliminary enquiry preceding the notification under S. 4 (1) of the Land Acquisition Act, when the speculation has started. We are not however willing to eschew the sale under Ex. A. 4 from consideration in ascertaining the market value of the lands acquired as urged by the learned Government Pleader. It is true that there has been an inspection of lands sought to be acquired and a preliminary enquiry by the officials in August and September 1960 and that the owners of the land became aware of the contemplated acquisition, even then. The awards in these cases make a reference to the local inspection in the beginning of 1960 and preliminary enquiry in August and September, 1960 and the claim of the claimants for Rs. 100 percent even at that stage. Though the notifications under S. 4 (1) of the Land Acquisition Act were published on 26th October, 1960, 16th November, 1960 and 5th April, 1961, as a result of the preliminary enquiry in the village for the purpose of the proposed acquisition on behalf of the company, the proper sales for acquisition were well -known to the owners of the lands in the area even before the date of the notification. It also transpires that some of the claimants were contacted and their statements obtained during the preliminary enquiry in June 1960 long before the first notification dated 26th October 1960 under S. 4(1) as is evident from Ex. B. 13 and B. 14. The contention of the learned Government Pleader that during the interval between the time when the Government's intention to acquire this block of land became known to the public and the date of the actual publication of the S. 4(1) notification, prices have shown an increase and that as such no weight should be given to the sales recorded during the said interval. According to him the sale under Ex. A. 4 dated 7th August 1960 covering S. No. 45/1 which is a part of the acquired property come into existence during such interval and that the sale under in. A. 4 was for an extraordinary high value which has been prompted by the proposed acquisition of a large extent of land in the locality which was imminent - it is further pointed out that the lands in the area acquired were sold in February 1958 under Ex. B. 8 at the rate of Rs. 47 -86 percent and that the same lands have been sold under. Ex. A. 4 for Rs. 100 percent a 1960 which shows the phenomenal rise in the price of the lands in the locality in view of this speculation arising out of the impending acquisition.;
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