M. M. Punchi, J. -
(1.)It is to establish a right of appeal in the appellate forum of the High Court that the Special Military Estates Officer, Bangalore, the common appellant in these two Civil Appeals by Special Leave, is here in this Court, challenging the common judgement and order of the High Court of Karnataka.
(2.)The facts leading to the present appeal are these. Some lands, the extent and description of which is not material here, belonging to the first respondent in either of these two appeals, were requisitioned by the Union of India under S. 29 of the Defence of India Act, 1962 (hereinafter referred to as the Defence Act) by issuing a notification to that effect on April 8, 1963. The possession of such lands was taken by the military authorities on May 28, 1963. The competent authority, being the Deputy Commissioner of the district, fixed Rs. 280/- per acre per annum as crop compensation. Respondent No. 1 was not satisfied with the measure of compensation. He sought a reference from the competent authority to an arbitrator. The Arbitrator so appointed went into the matter and finally made an award on June 30, 1971, whereby he worked out rental compensation at the rate of Rs. 6,969.60 per acre per annum on the premises that the value of the land worked out to be Rs. 1,16,160 / - per acre and if 6 per cent interest were to be awarded thereon the figure arrived at would be Rs. 6,969.60 per acre which could well be the rental income per annum. Obviously, the increase was sharply contrasted being Rs. 280/- per acre per annum as awarded by the competent authority and almost Rs.7,000/- per acre per annum as awarded by the Arbitrator. The aggrieved Special Military Estates Office filed two appeals against the orders of the Arbitrator in the High Court of Karnataka at Bangalore, taking shelter under S. 11 of the Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property Act, 1952 (hereinafter referred to as the Requisitioning Act). At the time of their final disposal, a preliminary objection was raised on behalf of the respondents that the appeals were not maintainable, which found favour with the High Court. The appeals were consequently held not maintainable and accordingly dismissed. This has led the appellant - Special Military Estates Officer, to this Court.
(3.)It is not far history that the Defence Act was passed by the Parliament in the wake of Chinese aggression, in order to provide, inter alia, special measures to ensure public safety and interest in the Defence of India and Civil Defence and other connected matters. It had been passed when the Requisitioning Act was already in force. Under the provisions of both the Acts, immovable property could be requisitioned. Reference for the purpose may be had to S. 3 of the Requisitioning Act and S. 29 of the Defence Act. Under both Acts compensation on such requisition is determinable and payable and any person interested, being aggrieved by the amount of compensation so determined, can have an Arbitrator appointed to determine compensation the award of Arbitrator on such determination under S. 8 is appealable under S. 11 of the Requisitioning Act before the High Court within whose jurisdiction the requisitioned property is situate. The award of the Arbitrator made under S. 30 in pursuance of the requisition made under S. 29 of the Defence Act is apparently final, though specifically not provided so, since no right of appeal against the award of the Arbitrator has been conferred thereunder on any authority. The Defence Act ceased being applicable as it perished on January 10, 1968. Simultaneously S. 25. in the Requisitioning Act was substituted. The substituted S. 25 reads as follows:
"25.(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, any immovable property requisitioned by the Central Government or by any officer or authority to whom powers in this behalf have been delegated by that Government, under the Defence of India Act, 1962, and the rules made thereunder (including any immovable property deemed to have been requisitioned under the said Act) which has not been released from such requisition before the 10th, January, 1968, shall, as from that date, be deemed to have been requisitioned by the competent authority under the provisions of this Act for the purpose for which such property was held immediately before the said date and all the provisions of this Act shall apply accordingly.
(a) all determinations, agreements and awards for the payment of compensation in respect of any such property for any period of requisition before the said date and in force immediately before the said date, shall continue to be in force and shall apply to the payment of compensation in respect of that property for any period of requisition as from the said date;
(b) anything done or any action taken (including any orders, notifications or rules made or issued) by the Central Government or by any officer or authority to whom powers in this behalf have been delegated by that Government, in exercise of the powers conferred by or under Chapter VI of the Defence of India Act, 1962, shall, in so far as it is not inconsistent with the provisions of this Act, be deemed to have been done or taken in the exercise of the powers conferred by or under this Act as if this section was in force on the date on which such thing was done or action was taken.
(2) Save as otherwise provided in sub-sec. (1), the provisions of the Defence of India Act, 1962, and the rules made thereunder, in so far as those provisions relate to the requisitioning of any such immovable property as is referred to in sub-sec. (1), shall as from the 10th January, 1968, cease to operate except as respects things done or omitted to be done before such cesser and S. 6 of the General Clauses Act, 1897, shall apply upon such cesser of operation as if such cesser were a repeal of an enactment by a Central Act".