MADAN LAL Vs. STATE OF PUNJAB
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: PUNJAB & HARYANA)
STATE OF PUNJAB
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(1.)These appeals arise out of the judgment passed by a division bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court dated 9.8.1999 in LPA no. 84/91 and the subsequent appeals before the High Court in which the judgment in LPA 84/91 came to be followed and applied. About 115 acres, 5 kanals and 14 mar/as of land in the village in question came to be acquired for the establishment of a new mandi township at Kotkapura. The notification under section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (hereinafter called as the 'act') was issued on 5.5.1982, followed by a declaration under section 6 of the Act issued on 19.1.1984. The land acquisition collector passed an award on 22.2.1984 determining the compensation for the lands acquired by adopting the belt system, by classifying the lands into three blocks and for block 'a', the value was fixed @ rs. 80,000/- per acre, for block 'b' @ rs. 52,000/- per acre and for block 'c' @ Rs. 35,000/- per acre. Not satisfied with the amount awarded, the claimants sought for a reference under section 18 of the Act. The learned additional district judge, Faridkot, functioning as the reference court, disposed of all the claims referred to it by a common judgment dated 20. 11.1987 determining the market value of the land @ Rs. 1,01,000/ - per acre and awarded compensation on that basis. In addition, the claimants were also allowed compensation for the super structures, slanting trees etc. , found on the land acquired besides providing for the other statutory payments envisaged under the Act. The claimants further pursued the matter for enhanced compensation by filing about 55 appeals in all and the state which also felt aggrieved against the rate of enhancement, seems to have filed about 69 appeals before the High Court.
(2.)The learned single judge as well as the division bench of the High Court have considered the materials on record, the respective contentions of the parties and the nature of the land sought to be acquired and proceeded to adopt the method of fixing the value on square yard basis as against the acreage basis adopted by the reference court. Highlighting the possible views in the matter, the learned single judge observed that if the rate of Rs. 50/- per square yard is to be taken into account allowing 1/3rd deduction towards development of the land, the rate would come to Rs. 37/- (round figure). On the basis of the rate of Rs. 1,77,776/- per acre, the price of which per square yard works out to about Rs. 44.44 paise, if a similar deduction of 1/3rd is to be effected for development of the land, the rate per square yard was considered to come to Rs. 30/- (rounded figure). Taking into account all the relevant aspects, the learned single judge has chosen to adopt an uniform rate of Rs. 37/- per square yards for the lands in question. Still not satisfied, the appellants herein pursued the matter, on further appeal, before the division bench of the High Court invoking the powers of letters patent. The learned judges of the division bench concurred with the conclusion arrived at by the learned single judge and rejected the appeals on the view that no interference was called for with the findings arrived at by the learned single judge, in the matter. Hence, these appeals.
(3.)Heard learned counsel appearing on either side. The learned counsel appearing for the appellants invited our attention to the relevant portions of the judgments of the reference court, the learned single judge and of the division bench and contended that all the courts have failed to see that some of the comparable sale deeds produced though would help the appellants to secure the rate of Rs. 116.67/- per square yard, neither the learned single judge nor the division bench have chosen to advert and consider this aspect of the matter but rejected the claim merely on the ground that they were not raised at the initial stage. Though yet another ground of challenge was also raised based on exhibit A-105 taken together with the evidence of AW-24 the same not pursued for the obvious reason that it was of the sale of a well developed plot and therefore could not be said to be a comparable sale and that too it had taken place after the date of acquisition in this case. Per contra, the learned counsel for the respondent-state while adopting the reasoning of the judgment under challenge contended that the grievance about the non-consideration is not justified and that, as a matter of fact, the courts below adverted to all the materials including the one now sought to be relied upon and only on such an appreciation of the materials placed on record, the learned judges were inclined to rely upon some only of the documents which were relevant and not the other series of documents by assigning valid and justifying reasons, therefore. It is further contended by the learned counsel for the respondent state that the method of valuation adopted and the compensation awarded is just and reasonable and, therefore, no interference is called for in these appeals, at the instance of the claimants.
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