KAJARI LAL AGARWALA Vs. UNION OF INDIA
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: CALCUTTA)
KAJARI LAL AGARWALA
UNION OF INDIA
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Gajendragadkar, C. J. -
(1.)The appellant Kajari Lal Agarwal was the owner-in-khas of 37.85 acres of land in Mauza Shibnath Das, J. L. No. 110 and Mauza Kholai Singh, J. L. No. 112 in Silliguri Town in the district of Darjeeling. The said lands were acquired by the Union of India, and the State of West Bengal, respondents 1 and 2, respectively, under the relevant provisions of the West Bengal Land (Requisition and Acquisition) Act, 1948 (No. 2 of 1948) (hereinafter called 'the Act') for the Assam Rail Link Project. Respondent No. 3 is the Land Acquisition Officer, Darjeeling. In those proceedings, the appellant claimed compensation at a flat rate of Rs. 100 per cottah amounting to Rs. 2,27,100. He also pout in a claim for Rs. 8,000 on account of the severance and other grounds. Respondent No. 3 made an award under S. 7 of the Act on the 5th February 1951 directing the payment of Rs. 22,074 to the appellant in lieu of his lands at the rate of Rs. 600 per acre. After the award was pronounced, a notice was served on the appellant under S. 12 (2) of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (No. 1 of 1894) (hereinafter called 'the Central Act') on the 21st March 1951, the appellant accepted the said amount as compensation money under protest.
(2.)Thereafter, the appellant filed an application before respondent No. 3 on the 2nd February 1953 and claimed that a reference should be made by him to the Court for decision of his claim for a large amount of compensation under S. 8 of the Act. The appellant alleged in his application that having regard to the market value of the land at the relevant time, the amount awarded to him by respondent No. 3 was grossly inadequate. Respondent No. 3 rejected the appellant's application for reference on the ground that it was barred by time.
(3.)The appellant challenged the validity of this order by moving the Calcutta High Court in its revisional jurisdiction (Civil Revision Court Case No. 676 of 1954). On the 16th June 1955, a Divisional Bench of the Calcutta High Court allowed the appellant's revisional application and sent the case to respondent No. 3 with a direction that the appellant's application for reference should be dealt with in accordance with law. In remitting the case to respondent No. 3, the High Court observed that though, in its opinion, no limitation had been prescribed for making an application for reference, such an application must nevertheless be made within a reasonable time. On that view, the High Court left it to respondent No. 3 to consider whether the appellant had moved for reference within a reasonable time (vide Kajari Lal Agarwal vs. Union of India, (1955) 59 Cal WN 935).
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