Tayi Ramaprasada Rao, J. -
(1.) Appeal Suit No. 193 of 1968 is filed by the State and Appeal Suit No. 9 of 1969 is by the claimant -owner These Appeals arise in land acquisition proceedings and the properties involved are comprised in Survey Nos. 2/1 and 3/1 of Kalikundram village, within the municipal limits of the City of Madras. The total extend acquired is 18 acres 17 cents. There are two ponds in the area. A notification under Sec. 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act was issued on December 7, 1960. There was a bungalow on the property which was a Madras terraced strayed building. There were five wells and two pump -sets, besides trees on the acquired lands. The Land Acquisition Officer 'found that the two ponds in the area were situate oft an extent of 53 cents. He caused the building to be valued by an Engineer who under exhibit R -26, valued the same along with the pump -sets therein. The Land Acquisition Officer accepted the value as given by R.W. 1. The Land Acquisition Officer, having regard to the extent of the lands acquired, valued only the superstructure and separately valued the lands covered by the acquisition. On the date when the award was passed Madras Act XXIII of 1961 which amended the main Land Acquisition Act, was in force. The Land Acquisition Officer, therefore, took the average price of lands in the vicinity and arrived at the market value of the lands acquired, added on thereto the value of the superstructures, pump -sets, wells, trees, etc., and granted a solatium at five per cent thereon, as prescribed in that Act. He fixed the value at Rs. 90 per cent for the level ground and at Rs. 10 percent for the pond area. He accepted the value of the engineer P.W. 1 arid granted a compensation of Rs. 21,204 -75 for the superstructure, etc., and added on the five per cent solatium in all to the compensation awarded by him. The claimants maintained that they were entitled to a price of Rs. 700 per cent for the lands and Rs. 1,00,000 towards the superstructure, etc. The claimants were dissatisfied with the award and caused a reference to he made under Sec. 18 of the Land Acquisition Act to the Civil Court. The learned City Civil Judge (IV Assistant Judge) on a, reference under Sec. 18, increased the compensation and valued the ground uniformly at Rs. 360 per cent, which works out at Rs. 2,000 per ground, and deducted a sum of Rs. 3,000 from the totality of such compensation for filling up the two ponds. He also slightly increased the compensation for the superstructure, wells, pump -sets and trees. He rightly held that Madras Act XXIII of 1961 having been held to be invalid by the Supreme Court, the prices of lands have to be valued on the date of the notification under Sec. 4(1) of the Act and also upheld the entitlement of the claimants to the 15 per cent solatium as is statutorily prescribed under the main Act. The State has filed Appeal Suit No. 193 of 1968. It is surprising that the State wants the award of the Land Acquisition Officer to be restored notwithstanding the fact that the award was based on Madras Act XX XXIII of 1961 which was subsequently struck down by the Supreme Court. Their gravemen of the charge is that the Court below gave a higher compensation than necessary. The claimants However, aggrieved against the order of the Court below, are reiterating their claim for lands at the rate of Rs. 70,000 per acre or Rs. 3,856 -75 per ground. They would also value the buildings, wells, trees, pump -sets, etc., at Rs. 1,21,201 -75 and would also ask for 15 per cent solatium on the enhanced compensation claimed by them. They have, in a supplementary application which we have allowed, sought for the payment of interest at the statutory rate of four per cent per annum on the enhanced compensation subject to the payment of additional Court fee payable thereon. They are, however, not questioning the deduction of Rs. 3,000 from the entirety of the compensation towards the cost for filling up the two ponds in the acquired area. Hence the appeals respectively by the State and the aggrieved claimants.
(2.) Before we advert to the method and mode of evaluation of the property acquired, it is essential to note certain general features of the surroundings in the sector of acquisition. Exhibit R -25 is the combined sketch showing the location of the acquired lands and the sales spots taken up for comparison. As both the Appellants felt that this sketch was not self -instructive, it was agreed that we should refer to a composite sketch filed in Appeal Suit No. 156 of 19(34 disposed of by us recently. That sketch was marked in the said proceedings as exhibit R -29. The learned Government Pleader, in order to further elucidate the topography, prepared another sketch which is equally instructive, to show the importance of the locality, the surroundings therein, as also the plots with which the acquired lands were compared for purposes of evaluation. It is with reference to these three sketches that the general features of the surroundings and the importance of the locality have to be set out.
(3.) The sector of acquisition is to the east of the Buckingham Canal and removed therefrom and is just in the heart of building colonies. To the west of the Buckingham Canal three utilitarian communal and beneficial projects of a developmental nature were undertaken and for that purpose vast lands were compulsorily acquired. By a notification, dated November 11, 1959, in the village of Kottur which is to the west of Buckingham Canal and north -west of the acquired lands, a project for the installation of the Regional Labour Museum of Industrial Safety, Health and Welfare was undertaken. About two months thereafter on January 13, 1960, another project was taken up and vast extents of lands were acquired for the situation of the Labour Research Institute and Voluntary Health Centre. On September 14, 1960, large areas were acquired on the west of the Buckingham Canal for the Central Polytechnic, Madras. In fact, the lands acquired for the public purpose of setting up the Central Polytechnic were not sufficient, and about 10 months thereafter, a further scheme had to be undertaken for the same purpose. It is in the midst of such thumping development in the area that the present acquisition was thought of on the eastern side of the Canal. Such an activity in the surrounding does have an impact and beneficial influence on the market price of lands in the vicinity as it was only the Buckingham Canal which separated the region of such beneficial activity from the lands acquired. Contemporaneously with such communal, educational and developmental projects on the west of the acquired lands, building colonies developed from time to time m the northern region of the acquired lands. Gandhi Nagar was one of the first of such colonies to come up. Later on various other Nagara such as Indira Nagar, Shastry Nagar, Bakthavathsalam Nagar, Nehru Nagar and Kamaraj Nagar came up on the northern side of the lands acquired. We are however concerned with the building colonies like Bakthavathsalam Nagar, Nehru Nagar and Kamaraj Nagar which are in the zone under consideration and which had a recent origin.;