(1.) These ten appeals arise out of an award passed by the learned Land Acquisition Judge at Suri in the district of Birbhum. Different plots of CS. plots Nos. 271, 272 and 256 of mouza Shyambati were acquired under the West Bengal Act II of 1948 and the notification was published on October 22, 1953. At the time of this notification the lands were already in the possession of the State having been under requisition and so possession on the basis of acquisition had also been taken on October 22, 1953. All the ten cases, out of which these ten appeals arise, are covered by the some award of the learned Land Acquisition Judge and all these appeals have been heard together as common questions of law and facts are involved. The Appellants, who are the landlords, are entitled to get the entire compensation by virtue of the agreements with their tenants. The Collector's award was on the basis of Rs. 425 per acre for puratan patit and Rs. 30 per acre for dahar and kandar lands. The owners were not satisfied with the same and prayed for references which were made. The learned Land Acquisition Judge accepted the contention of the owners that all these three plots of lands were utilised for all practical purposes as building sites and they should be valued as building sites and not as dahar or puratan patit lands. He, however, held that the compensation was to be paid on the basis of the price of land prevailing on December 31, 1946, and found that Rs. 2,940 per acre would be the rate prevalent on that date and directed payment of compensation on that basis. He overruled the contentions raised on behalf of the owners that the valuation was to be made on the basis of the prevalent price on the date of the notification as also that they are entitled to get the statutory allowance referred to in Section 23 of the Land Acquisition Act. Against this the owners have come up in appeal.
(2.) The first point that is pressed by Mr. Amarendra Nath Gupta, learned Advocate appearing on behalf of the Appellants, is to the effect that the learned Judge erred in valuing the plots at the rate of Rs. 2,940 per acre and that too as on the basis of December 31, 1946, Mr. Gupta's contention is that it must be with reference to the date of the publication of the notice which, in this particular case, is October 22, 1953. On that date, prima facie, the second proviso to Sub-section (1) to Section 7 of the Act under which the valuation was to be determined with reference to December 31, 1946, would govern. But, it would appear that this proviso was struck down as void ab initio by this Court in State of West Bengal v. Muxari Mohan Biswas.,1958 64 CalWN 714 and State of West Bengal v. Bon Behari Mondal,1960 64 CalWN 722as also in the Midnapore Zemindary Co, Ltd. v. State of West Bengal,1960 ILR(Cal) 228. It may further be noted in this connection that this second proviso was deleted from this Act by the West Bengal Act VIII of 1954 which came into effect on March 30, 1954. The Appellants, prima facie, are not entitled to get benefit of this amendment inasmuch as the notification was published before that date. But when that proviso had been struck down by this Court ab initio, their rights would be governed under the first proviso to Sub-section (1) of Section 7 and under that proviso the market value is to be determined as on the date of publication of the notice or, in other words, which effect from October 27, 1953.
(3.) Now, as to the valuation of the lands on that date it would appear that the owners had filed a kobala which would show that the price in 1953 would be near about Rs. 10,000 per acre. On the other hand, there is Ex. 4 which is a judgment in another land acquisition case relating to this mouza, which would show that an award was passed at the rate of Rs. 1,200 per bigha or Rs. 3,600 per acre on the date of notification which was in 1950. The acquired lands are contiguous' to Santiniketan, separated by road, and these three plots are situated side by side and have also been held to be fit for building purposes. In F.A. No. 212 of 1961, which we have disposed of in July last, we have valued 10.67 acres of lands in this mouza at the rate of Rs. 4,000 per acre and that date of notification is also. October 22, 1953. We have also to take into account the fact that larger the area the lesser would be the total value thereof. Keeping in mind all these facts and circumstances, we are of opinion that the compensation for the value of these lands as on October 22, 1953, should be worked out at the rate of Rs. 4,500 per acre.;