Decided on November 20,1957

STATE OF PEPSU Respondents


- (1.) IN order to appreciate the points of law involved in this petition for revision, which has been referred to Division Bench by Gurnam Singh, J. , it is necessary to state the facts briefly. Under section 4 (1) of the Patiala and East Punjab States union Land Acquisition Act, 2006, Bk, (hereinafter called the Act) a notification was published on 14-2-1952, that the land in dispute was needed for a public purpose. Its notice was served on the petitioner on 24-3-1952. A declaration under section 7 that the land was required for public purposes was then issued on 1-4-1952. This was followed by a notice under section 10. On 22-11-1952, notice under Subsection 3 of the aforesaid section was served on the petitioner. On 9-3-1953, the land Acquisition Officer cave his award. The petitioner applied for a copy of the award on 14-3-1958, which was supplied to him on 8-4-1953, On 8-5-1953, he filed an application under Section 19 of the Act, requiring the Collector to make a reference to the Court.
(2.) ACCORDING to the proviso to Section 19 of the Act (which is the same as section 18 of Land Acquisition Act} an application requiring the Collector to make a reference to the Court on the matters specified in Sub-section 1 of Section 19 is to be made : " (a) if the person making it was present or represented before the collector at the time when he made his award, within six weeks from the date of the Collector's award; (b) in other cases, within six weeks of the receipt of the notice from the collector under Sub-section (2) of section 12, or within six months from the date of the Collector's award whichever period shall first expire. " It is common ground that the application having been made on 8-5-1953, was belated by 17 days. Before the District Judge, Patiala, to whom the matter was referred being the Court under the Act, an objection was raised on behalf of the state that the reference was invalid inasmuch as it had been made after the expiry of the period prescribed. The Court entertained the objection and after noticing the conflict of authorities held that it was competent to decide whether the reference made by the Collector was valid and whether the application for reference was within time. The petitioner had claimed benefit of Section 12 of the Limitation Act and sought to exclude the time taken in obtaining a copy of the Collector's award. On this point, the Court was of opinion that section 12 of the Limitation Act did not apply to an application filed under section 18 of the Act. In the result, the Court found that the reference was invalid on the ground that the application made by the petitioner to the Land Acquisition Officer was barred by limitation The reference was therefore, rejected. The matter came up in revision before gurnam Singh, J,, who referred the matter for determination by a larger Bench in view of the conflict of opinion prevailing in the various High Courts on the two points involved; (1) whether the Court could go into the question of limitation after the reference had been made by the Collector, and (2) whether the application was within time after the period for obtaining the copy of the award was excluded.
(3.) IT may be stated that sections 19, 20 and 21of the Act are identically the same as sections is, 19 and 20 respectively of the Land Acquisition Act of 1894 and, therefore, the decisions which have been given with regard to the questions involved on an interpretation of the sections of the Indian Act would be relevant and helpful in deciding the points that have arisen in this case. Part III of the Land acquisition Act provides for reference to Court and procedure thereon. Section 18 provides that any person interested who has not accepted the award may, by written application to the Collector, require that the matter of referred for the determination of the Court whether his objection be to : (i) the measurement of the land, (ii) the amount of compensation, (iii) the person to whom it is payable, (iv) the apportionment of the compensation among the persons interested. Then follows the proviso, which lays down the period within which the application must be presented. Section 19 Sub-section (1) is as follows : "in making the reference, the Collector shall state for the information of the Court, in writing: under his hand,-- (a) the situation and extent of the land, with particulars of any trees, buildings, or standing crops thereon; (b) the names of the persons whom he has reason to think to be interested in such land; (c) the amount awarded for damages and paid or tendered under sections 5 and 17, or either of them, and the amount of compensation awarded under section 11; and (d) if the objection be to the amount of the compensation, the grounds on which the amount of compensation was determined. " Section 20 provides that the Court shall thereupon cause a notice specifying the day on which it wilt proceed to determine the objection. . . . . . . . . . . . .;

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