Decided on December 10,1963



Jaganmohan Reddy, J. - (1.) This appeal and the cross-objections are against the judgment and decree of the Subordinate Judge, Masulipatnam in O. P. No, 18 of 1957 awarding Rs. 90,000.00 as compensation together with 15% solatium for lands and buildings known as the Lady Ampthil Government Secondary School for Women. Masulipatnam, acquired under the Land Acquisition Act, (hereinafter called the Act) pursuant to the notification published on 7-10-1955 under Section. 4(1) of the Act. The Revenue Divisional Officer, Bandar (Masulipatnam) awarded compensation on the basis of capitalisation of rent of Rs. 200.00 per month, fixing the compensation at Rs. 76,250.00 including solatium. Inasmuch as the appellant was aggrieved, he asked for a reference under Section 18 of the Act claiming Rs. 1,65,678.00 as the market value of the land to which the appellant is entitled.
(2.) The appellant is the Church Mission Society represented by E. H. Hambcrger, Dioceasan Treasurer and Power of attorney-holder. The Society was the owner of two pieces of land bounded by fencing. The inner compound is comprised of land Acs. 6-10 cents, while the outer compound is a vacant land comprised of Acs. 5-49 cents. The acquisition in question relates to the area of the entire inner compound together with the buildings plus the area of 1775 sq. yds. from out of the outer compound. The total land thus acquired is Acs. 6-52 or 31,557 sq. yds. At this stage, it may be stated that there were prior negotitions in respect of the acquisition of this land and it would, therefore, be pertinent to state the facts relating thereto. The Mission Society the appellant, leased the buildings on rent in or about 1941 fur a favourable rent of Rs. 200.00, probably having regard to the fact that the Government was running a school for girls and they themselves had a similar institution previously. Some years thereafter the Society decided to sell those properties and were receiving substantial offers by purchasers intending to develop it into building sites, but the Society was keen on selling it to the Government, because it was running a school. The Government evinced interest in the purchase of these buildings and negotiations started between them. The appellant had got a valuation made by a retired. Superintending Engineer (C. W. 1) one Sri Ganaprakasam in order to obtain the necessary and requisite sanction from its Society in London. The Government in its turn had a valuation of the building made in 1951 through its subordinates, the Tahsildar and the Executive Engineer, P.W.D. According to this valuation Ex. B.6, the land of the inner compound as it is called was valued at Rs. 3.00 per sq. yd. while the land o the other compound valued at Rs. 2-8-0. The buildings some of which were recommended for purchase and the others not so-recommended were aso valued. The total value-of the lands and the buildings according to Ex. B.6 is Rs. 1,93,516.00 which was rounded to Rs. 1,93,500.00, The basis of the Tahsildars valuation of the land is set out in Ex. B.4 dated 20-4-1951. which is a letter from the Tahsildar, Bandar, to the Asst. Enigneer, P. W. D. Bandar, and it would appear that he was basing this rate per sq.yd. on a sale deed No. 1082/51 of 19-4-1951 of lands situated within 100 yards from the site inquest ion. The Executive Engineer also seems to have valued these lands about the same time. The-net result of this valuation is stated in Ex. B.6. Thereafter the Revenue Divisional Officer, Bandar, by his letter L. Dis. 13302/54 dated 27-11-1954 wrote to Mr. B. L. Long Ford Attorney for Church Missionary Trust, intimating to him that the Government had sanctioned the acquisition of the site-and the buildings in which the present Lady Ampthil Government Secondary Training School for Women is situated and that the P.W.D. had estimated the value of the site and the buildings at Rs. 1,93,500.00. He enquired of the Trust whether the amount was acceptable to it. Thereafter he stated thus : "I am awaiting the application together with land plans and schedules from the Executive-Engineer, Krishna Eastern Division, Vijayawada as directed in Collectors D. Dis. 24396/54 dated 10-10-1954. I shall initiate Land Acquisition Proceedings on receipt of the application from, the Executive. Engineer, Krishna Eastern Division, Vijayawada whom you may contact if necessary. By this letter, the Revenue Divisional Officer had intimated the decision of the Government to acquire-this land, that the value of the land and buildings-was fixed at Rs. 1,93,500.00 which was the price-at which the Government were offering to acquire-the property and enquired whether that offer was-acceptable. He further intimated that he would initiate acquisition proceedings which was in the contemplation of the officer, notwithstanding the fact that the offer might be accepted by the Trust. In the circumstances, we can only think that the proceedings which he ultimately initiated were formal in order to give legal validity to the acquisition. In reply to this letter, the trustees replied that the estimated value of the P. W. D. at Rs. 1,93,500.00 is acceptable to the trustees. He further stated that he had already consulted the members of the local property committee and that they had agreed that the valuation be accepted. He further stated thus: "I think therefore yon may consider the figure as agreed. I will take immediate steps to seek formal approval by the Trustees and will communicate with you again as soon as I have something definite." Thereafter by his letter dated 15-2-1955 the Trustee communicated formal acceptance in these terms: "I am pleased to able to inform you that I now have the certified copy of the necessary resolution of the trustees, enabling me as their Attorney to complete the sale of this property to Government with the figure of rupees one lakh ninety. three thousand five hundred only (Rs. 1,93,500) as the agreed value for the purposes of transaction. With the General Power of Attorney already held end this certified resolution I am now fully empowered to execute whatever documents may be needed and to complete the transaction as soon as you are in a position to do what is needful on your side."
(3.) It appears thereafter that the Government changed its mind and decided only to acquire the inner compound and about 1700 and odd sq.yds. of the outer compound and not the entire outer compound as originally contemplated and published a notification under Section 4(1) as stated already, on 7-10-1955. During the proceedings before the Revenue Divisional Officer, the trustee raised several contentions, but these contentions were negatived and the Tahsildars report and the sale deed mentioned therein were ignored. The Land Acquisition Officer proceeded to award compensation only on the capitalisation basis of the rent and adopted Rs. 300.00 suggested by the Collector as the basis of 20 years purchase, because the buildings were old. He arrived at the figure of Rs. 76,250.00. The Subordinate Judge also rejected the contention that the market value should form the basis of the acquisition and ignored the evidence led on behalf of the appellant, He too based his decree on the basis of rental value, but increased the compensation by Rs. 27,250.00 including the solatium, but did not give any interest, which is also one of the objections raised before us.;

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