E V KRISHNA KUTTY S O VALAMBATH Vs. SPECIAL TAHSILDAR LAND ACQUISITION
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
E.V.KRISHNAN KUTTY S/O VALAMBATH
SPECIAL TAHSILDAR, LAND ACQUISITION
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(1.) The question that arises for consideration is as to whether a claimant in a land acquisition case who has received the compensation without protest pursuant to the award of the Land Acquisition Officer and has not filed an application seeking reference under S.18 is "a person aggrieved" within the meaning of S.28A of the Land Acquisition Act 1894 as amended by Act 29 of 1984, hereinafter referred to as 'the Act'. A Division Bench of this Court in State of Kerala v. Kumaran Nair ( 2001 (1) KLT 539 ), held that a claimant who has not objected to the award passed by the Collector and who failed to file a reference application under S.18 of the Act is not a person "aggrieved by the award of the Collector". When this Writ Petition came up for consideration before the Single Bench, the learned Judge doubted the correctness of the Division Bench judgment in view of the decisions of the Supreme Court in Union of India v. Pradeep Kumari ( AIR 1995 SC 2259 ) and in Union of India v. Hansoli Devi ( AIR 2001 SC 2184 ). When the matter came up before the Division Bench on reference, the Division Bench also doubted the correctness of the Division Bench judgment in Kumaran Nair case (supra) in the light of the decisions of the Supreme Court in Babu Ram v. State of U.P. ( 1995 (2) SCC 689 ) and Union of India v. Pradeep Kumari (AIR 1995 SC 2259) and referred the matter to a larger Bench. Hence the matter is placed before this Full Bench.
(2.) The brief facts are as follows. Large extent of land in Ramanthali Village in Thaliparamba Taluk was acquired by the Government for the purpose of the Naval Academy at 'Ezhimala'. An extent of 0.9060 Hcrs. of land situated in R.S. No.396/8 in Ramanthali Village in Thaliparamba Taluk belonging to one Valambath Narayanan Nair, S/o. Chathappa Poduval, Ramanthali was acquired by the Government for the said purpose. The notification under S.4 of the Act (S.3 of the Kerala Act) was issued on 22.2.1983 and an award notice under S.12(2) dated 9.12.1983 (Ext. P1) was issued pursuant to the award to the said Narayanan Nair. A cheque for a sum of Rs.1,67,849/- was issued to the said Narayanan Nair, who received the same without any written protest. He also did not file any application for reference under S.18 of the Act. Later the Sub Court, Payyannur had passed a common award in LAR Nos.124/1987 and 169/1987 on 26.7.1989 (Ext. P2) awarding enhanced compensation to another person, whose land was also acquired for the very same purpose under the very same notification. Valambath Narayanan Nair then filed an application under S.28A of the Act dated 27.2.1990 before the District Collector, Kannur (Ext. P3), which was received by the 1st respondent on 23.3.1990. The said application was rejected by the 1st respondent Special Tahsildar (LA), Kannur (the Officer notified as District Collector) as per proceedings dated 20.6.2001 (Ext. P4), stating that the application is not maintainable in view of the decision of the Division Bench in Kumaran Nair case (supra). The Special Tahsildar has observed that verification of the records showed that the petitioner had not made any grievance at the time of award enquiry or while accepting the compensation. In the mean time, Valambath Narayanan Nair died on 13.7.2001. Ext. P4 is seen addressed to Valambath Narayanan Nair through P/A O.V. Krishnan Kutty, S/o. Narayanan Nair. The said Krishnan Kutty as a legal heir of Valambath Narayanan Nair has challenged Ext. P4 proceedings in this Writ Petition.
(3.) It is the contention of the petitioner that the eligibility of the person for making an application under S.28A arises only when the Court enhances the compensation in a similar case and that the intention of the Legislature in inserting a new provision - S.28A of the Act is to give equal compensation to all persons whose lands had been acquired by the Government in the same notification under S.4 of the Act. The purpose, it is stated, is to remove anomalies in the determination of compensation by the Collector and to remove inequality in the payment of compensation for the same or similar quality of lands to different persons. In other words, it is the contention of the petitioner that S.28A provides an additional remedy for all aggrieved persons whose lands have been acquired to call upon the Collector to pay the compensation at the rate determined by the Court in other cases. It is further contended that even a person who did not object to the award passed by the Collector while receiving the compensation and a person who did not file any reference application under S.18 of the Act are entitled to make an application for redetermination of the compensation under S.28A of the Act. The grievance of the petitioner is that the 1st respondent had rejected the application (Ext. P2) without considering the basic judgments, which the claimant had relied on.;
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