COLLECTOR OF KAMRUP Vs. ANANDI DEBI
HIGH COURT OF GAUHATI
COLLECTOR OF KAMRUP
Click here to view full judgement.
LAHIRI, C.J. -
(1.)Whether the respondent is entitled to 15 per cent solatium of the market value of the land as awarded by the civil court on reference under the Assam Land (Requisition and Acquisition) Act, 1948 ? This is the only contention raised by the appellant in these appeals. No other point has been urged by Mr. S.A. Laskar, learned Additional Senior Government Advocate, Assam.
(2.)Briefly, the necessary facts for disposal of these appeals are that two parcels of lands were acquired by the Collector under the provisions of the Assam Land (Requisition and Acquisition) Act, 1948, shortly 'the Assam Act'. The Collector awarded compensation. The respondent sought for a reference, obtained it and upon hearing the parties and on conclusion of trial the Court awarded market value, interest and 15 per cent solatium on the market value, in consideration of the compulsory nature of the acquisition. The appellant being aggrieved by the award of 15 per centum solatium on the market value, has preferred these appeals.
(3.)It has been urged that in a proceeding under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, shortly 'the Central Act', the Court is hound to award a sum of 15 per centum on the market value, in consideration of the compulsory nature of acquisition. It has been contended that solatium is not payable to the claimant whose lands have been acquired under the provisions of the Assam Act. The provisions of S.7(2) of the Assam Act read as under :
"(2). When the compensation has been determined under Sub-Sec. (1) and Sub-Sec. (1A) the Collector shall make an award in accordance with the principles set out in S.11 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, and no amount referred to in Sub-Sec. (2) of S.23 of that Act, shall be included in the award." (Emphasis added)
Under S.7(1) and 7(1A) market value of the land is determined on the basis of the principles set out therein. S.7(2) provides that when the compensation has been so determined the Collector shall make an award in accordance with the principles set out in S.11 of the Central Act. However, it is specifically stated that no amount referred to in Sub-Sec. (2) of S.23 of the Central Act shall be included in the award. In other words, the provisions of Sub-Sec. (2) of S.7 of the Assam Act expressly prohibited award of 15 per centum of solatium on the market value. Accordingly, it has been urged that the Court below has illegally granted 15 per cent solatium to the claimant in land acquisition proceedings covered by the Assam Act. However, the common case of the parties is that the lands could also be acquired under the Central Act. It is also conceded that if the lands were acquired under the Central Act the claimant would have been entitled to solatium under S.23(2) of that Act. It has been contended that when the lands have been acquired under the Assam Act no solatium could be awarded in view of the provisions contained in S.7(2). The Collector had the choice to acquire the land either under the Central Act or under the Assam Act. In our opinion the question has already been answered by the Supreme Court in P.C. Goswami v. Collector of Darrang in Civil Appeals Nos. 81-83 of 1972 decided on Aug. 8, 1980 but reported in AIR 1982 SC 1214. In P.C. Goswami (supra) the precise question that arose before the Supreme Court was whether the appellants were entitled to solatium notwithstanding the provisions contained in S.7(2) of the Assam Act. Their Lordships perused the provisions of S.7(2) of the Assam Act, particularly the portion underscored by us. Their Lordships cogitated and applied the principles of law enunciated by their Lordships in State of Kerala v. T.M. Peter, AIR 1980 SC 1438. In Peter (supra) similar provisions of the State Act had denied payment of solatium altogether although the very same land could have been acquired under the Central Act. Their Lordships struck down the provision in order to achieve the virtue of equality and to eliminate the vice of inequality contained in the State Act.
Copyright © Regent Computronics Pvt.Ltd.