Decided on February 13,1985

Shri Radha Mohan Goenka And Anr. Appellant
The Collector Of Kamrup Respondents

Referred Judgements :-



K. Lahiri, A.C.J. - (1.)THE claimants have preferred appeals under Section 54 of the land Acquisition Act, 1894, for short "the Act", against a common Award made by the Assistant District Judge No. 2, Gauhati in Misc. Cases Nos. 10.11.72. As the appeals ate against the common judgment, involving common questions of law and fact, we propose to dispose of the appeals by a common judgment.
(2.)BY a Notification dated 2.1.1965 issued under Section 4 of "the Act" the Government of Assam acquired 85B -1K -4L of land in village Modgharia and 12B -2K -15L of land in village Noonmati Fee Simple Grant for the establishment of a Thermal Station of the Assam State Electricity Board. The land belonged to the claimants and others. The Collector of Kamrup assessed compensation to be paid to the land -owner at flat rate of Rs. 4,800 per bigha. A uniform rate was determined as the acquired land was in the same field, had the same nature, quality and advantages. Three sale deed were pressed into service for determining the market value. The first sale deed is dated 7.6.1960 whereby a parcel of land was sold @ Rs. 3731.34 per bigha. The second sale deed dated 29.12.1961 shows sale of land @ Rs. 3333 -00 per bigha: whereas the proximate sale deed to the date of Notification under Section 4(1) of the Act is dated 3.8.1962, whereby one bigha of land was sold at Rs. 7,500/ -. Although the proximate sale deed should the sale price at Rs. 7,500/ - the Collector took the mean sale price of the sale transactions between 1960 -62 and determined the market value of the acquired land at a flat rate of Rs. 4,800/ - per bigha as on 2.1.1965 and offered payment to the claimants and others. The land -owners, namely, the present claimants and others, being aggrieved by the Award made by the Collector asked for reference. Eleven such Reference cases against the award by the Collector came up for trial before Shri R.C. Bora, Assistant District Judge No. 2, Gauhati in reference Case Nos. 142 -152/66. However, the cases of the present claimants - Appellants were left out. In Reference Case Nos. 142 -152/66 witnesses were examined, and documents were produced by the parties. For ascertaining the market rate, the Court relied upon the sale transactions, considered the price paid for the land having advantages similar to the lands acquired on or about the date of the Notification (2.1.1965). Sale transactions of lands comparable in time and quality with the acquired land were taken into consideration and thereafter the Court enhanced the market value of the lard from Rs. 4,800/ - per bigha to Rs. 10,000/ - per bigha. Learned Judge accepted the sale deed dated 3.8.1962 relied by the Collector which evinced sale of land @ Rs. 7,500/ - per bigha about three years before the acquisition of toe land. The conclusive finding of the Learned Judge was that the acquired lands were in a compact block. Learned Judge also held that even in 1963 lands were sold @ Rs. 2000/ - per Katha, that is, @ Rs. 10,000/ - per bigha. In short, the Court determined the market value of the acquired land on the date of Notification under Section 4(1) of the Act on the basis of price paid within a reasonable time in bona fide transactions of purchase of lands adjacent to the lands acquired and endowed with similar advantages and also awarded solatium @ 15% by its judgment and order dated 25.5.1970. It is evident from Ext. 5 (Award List) that the Collector accepted the award, paid the amount awarded by the Civil Court and at the Bar, we were informed that no appeal was preferred by the Collector against the award made in Reference Case Nos. 142 -152/66. Later, the cases of the claimants along with another came up before Shri J.L. Singh Chotri, Assistant District Judge No. 2, at Gauhati. In the Reference Cases the Appellants relied on the judgment and award of Reference Case Nos. 142 -152/66 which arose out of the same Land Acquisition Case No. 26/64. The judgment and award of the cases were proved and marked as Ext. A and none objected to its use and admissibility. However, when the Appellants desired to prove the certified copies of three sale deeds Marked Exts. 2, 3 and 4 on the date fixed for evidence, those were admitted subject to the objections to be raised on behalf of the counsel for the Collector. The Collector examined one witness and proved the Notification, declaration, justification report, sale Statements, sketch map of the acquired land and the award list. The witness admitted that the Misc. Cases Nos. 142 -152/66 as well as pending Reference Cases stemmed from Land Acquisition Case No. 26/64. He admitted that the Civil Court had determined the market value of the land @ Rs. 10,000/ - per bigha and stated that the Collector made the payments as awarded by the Civil Court in terms of the judgment of the Civil Court. He deposed that, to his knowledge, no appeal had been taken against the judgment and award. On behalf of the claimants, three witnesses were examined who stated that the market value of the acquired land had been fixed at Rs. 4,890/ - per bigha by the Collector, but the land -owners asked for a reference and the Civil Court, determined the market price of the land @ Rs. 10,000/ - per bigha. The witness examined on behalf of the claimants stated that the lands of the claimants were of the same nature and quality. Learned Judge held that through in Misc. Case Nos. 412 -152/66, the Civil Court had determined the market price of the land at Rs. 10,000/ - per bigha yet the claimant was not entitled to such enhancement as the case records of the Cases were not called to show that the lands in these cases were of the same nature and quality with the cases in hand. He relied on the sale statement marked Ext. 3, on the basis of which the Collector had determined the market price of the land at Rs. 4,800/ - on the average sale price per bigha of lands sold on 7.6.1960, 29.12.1961 and 3.8.1962. Learned Judge, held that the average of the sale deeds from 1960 to 1962 held that the average of the sale deeds from 1960 to 1962 came to Rs. 4,855.00, and as such, the Collector was justified in awarding compensation @ Rs. 4,800/ - per bigha. Learned Judge rejected the sale deeds produced by the claimants as not proved. Learned Judge held that the award made by the Collector was just and proper and upheld the same. However, he held that the Appellants were entitled to interest, @ 6% per annum on the amount from the date of taking over possession of the land by the Collector till the date of payment of such compensation provided they had not been paid.
The main contention of the Appellants is that the judgment and award made by the civil Court relating to similarly situated lands containing determination of the market value of the land was the best evidence to determine the market, value of the acquired land. In short, the contention is that such judgments are relevant under Sections 11 and 13 of the Evidence Act. The other subsidiary point urged is the trial Court was positively wrong in determining the market rate @ Rs. 4,800/ - per bigha on the basis of the three sale transaction relied on by the Collector.

(3.)WE propose to touch the subsidiary point urged and, therefore, decide the main contention. The Court below rejected all the materials including the judgment of Reference Cases Nos. 142 -152/66 but relied on the sale transaction referred to in the sale statement on the basis of which the Collector had awarded Rs. 4,800/ - per bigha. The Notification under Section 4(1) of the Act was issued on 2.1.1965, which was the deed of 1962 evidencing sale or land @ Rs. 7,500/ - per bigha. As such when the trial Court trial Court accepted that the sale deeds were of the comparable lands, there was no reason not to accept the recent sale deed representing the highest price of comparable land. Under these circumstances, the award made by the trial Court @ Rs. 4,800/ - per bigha cannot be sustained.

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