DISTRICT COLLECTOR OF KRISHNA Vs. PULAVARTHI VISWANADAM AND ORS.
HIGH COURT OF MADRAS
District Collector Of Krishna
Pulavarthi Viswanadam And Ors.
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Govinda Menon, J. -
(1.) UNDER Section 19 , Defence of India Act, where there is a compulsory acquisition of property, the question of compensation has, in the first instance, to be fixed by agreement between the officers of Government and the owner of the property. Where no agreement is reached, the Central Government shall appoint an arbitrator who is qualified for appointment as a High Court Judge _for deciding the compensation. Such an arbitrator, in making the award, shall have regard to the provisions of Sub -section 1 of Section 23, Land Acquisition Act, 1894, so far as the same can be applicable and Clause (f) of Section 19, Defence of India Act lays down that an appeal shall lie to the High Court against the award of an arbitrator except in cases where the amount thereof does not exceed an amount prescribed on that behalf by rules made by the Central Government.
(2.) AN area of 71 cents of land situated on the main Cantonment Road by the side of the Andhra Scientific Co. in Masulipatam town, belonging to the respondents was acquired by the Government for constructing a fire station. The District Collector of Krishna, fixed the compensation at Rs. 12,101 -13 -4 being the value of the land, Rs. 129 -6 -0 being the value of the barbed wire fencing, and Rs. 2 -8 -0 being the value of the trees, aggregating in all to Rs. 12,233 -11 -4. He also offered a 15 per cent. solatium in the sum of Rs. 1835 -0 -11. The grand total therefore offered by the District Collector was Rs. 14,068 -12 -3. The owner of the land was not willing to accept this amount and therefore the District Judge of West Godavari was appointed as arbitrator. The learned Judge, after considering the oral and documentary evidence let in before him, came to the conclusion that the value of the site should be fixed at Rs. 6 per sq. yard whereas the offer was at the rate of Rs. 3 -8 -0 per sq. yard. Computing the amount on this basis, the land value will be Rs. 20,746. He also increased the price of the barbed wire fencing and reinforced concrete poles from Rs. 129 -6 -0 to Rs. 600. The solatium was proportionately increased to Rs. 3,202 -4 -5 and the grand total came to Rs. 24,550 -12 -5. The learned Judge also allowed interest at 6 per cent. per annum on the excess amount allowed by him. The State has preferred an appeal against the excess amount and the interest allowed and the claimant has preferred a memorandum of cross -objections. The first question for consideration is whether the learned Judge was justified in increasing the site value from Rs. 3 -8 -0 to Rs. 6 per sq. yard. In this connection we have also to decide whether the respondent in the memorandum of cross -objections is entitled to claim the rate of Rs. 15 per sq. yard. Ex. D -14 is a plan, not drawn to scale, of the proposed site as well as the surrounding areas. We may at once say that it is a very unsatisfactory delineation of the land sought to be acquired and its neighbourhood. Therefore the lower Court made a local inspection of the site, the result of which is stated in para 6 of the judgment. After giving a description of the locality and the various buildings around the site, the learned Judge comes to the conclusion that the locality was both residential and commercial in character. Then the documents filed on behalf of the Government showing the value of the sites in the neighbourhood were considered. Under Ex. D -2 it was found that the price works out at Rs. 2 -1 -6 per sq. yard. The land is situated not far away from the site in question. Under Ex. D -3 the rate comes to Rs. 1 -8 -0 per sq. yard. Ex. D -1, which relates to a site a little far away, shows that the rate is Rs. 0 -13 -6 per sq. yard. Under Ex. D -8 the rate works out at Re. 0 -5 -10 per sq. yard. Like this the learned Judge has discussed various other documents and pointed out what the price per square yard in that locality is. From these documents it is clear that sites in the locality had been sold at much lower rates. But most of these transactions were prior to the acquisition in question. In the present case the notification for acquiring the property was made on 21 -9 -1943 and the acquisition itself was on 9 -10 -1944. We have therefore to find out what the value would be at or about the time of the notification.
(3.) EXS . D -2 and D -3 are of September 1937; Ex. D -5 is of December 1938; Ex. D -6 of January 1943; and so on. The transaction which is nearest in point of time to the one in question and also relating to a plot which is part of the same survey number is Ex. D -4 dated 24 -6 -1943. Under that the rate comes to Rs. 2 -12 -0 per sq. yard. This was in June 1943. After considering all these documents the learned Judge was of opinion that during the year 1943 there was a progressive rise in the site values and the site had acquired a potential value as a building site. Therefore the learned Judge fixed Rs. 6 per sq. yard as the proper value. The learned Government Pleader contends that the lower Court was not justified in fixing such a high figure when the documentary evidence showed that lands adjacent and nearby to the site in question were sold at prices below Rs. 3 per sq. yard. In such circumstances the value of Rs. 3 -8 -0 per sq. yard fixed by the Collector, according to the learned counsel, is the proper value. Considering the circumstance that the learned Judge had the benefit of a persona] inspection of the locality and was satisfied that the lands were increasing in value during those years, and the fact that the potential value of the site should also be taken into consideration, leaving aside the question of what adjacent lands fetched at sales sometime anterior to the notification, we are of opinion that it cannot be said that the learned Judge has exercised his discretion in a wrong manner. One thing is clear and that is that during the years 1943 -44 the price of lands in urban areas shot up like a rocket and the increase was phenomenally high. The factor which weighed with the learned Judge was that the price would have been much more than Rs. 3 -8 -0 per sq. yard in 1944. We do not therefore feel justified in reducing the value of Rs. 5 per sq. yard fixed by the learned Judge. The respondents' claim of Rs. 15 per sq. yard is, to say the least, highly exaggerated and fanciful. Since the learned Judge has fixed the site value taking into consideration not only the value on the date of the notification but also the potential value of the site during the year 1944, we cannot say that the respondents are entitled to anything more than Rs. 6 per sq. yard. As we are definitely of opinion that no increase in the site value can be allowed, we confirm the value of Rs. 6 per sq. yard and dismiss the memorandum of cross -objections with costs.;
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