Decided on September 18,1974



- (1.) The question raised in this writ appeal is whether the application for reference under S.20 of the Kerala Land Acquisition Act, 1961, filed by the petitioner appellant was beyond the time provided by the Act. A learned Judge of this Court dismissed the writ petition filed against the order of the Special Land Acquisition Officer, holding that it was. For the appellant strong reliance was placed on two Division Bench rulings of this Court in Special Tahsildar, Kozhikode v. Karthyayani Amma ( 1971 KLT 847 ) and Malathi Amma v. The Land Acquisition Deputy Collector ( 1973 KLT 221 ). The Division Bench composed of two of us, before which the matter came on in the first instance, doubted the correctness of the rulings and felt that they required reconsideration for which purpose, this Full Bench has been constituted. Notice was issued to the Advocate General in view of the importance of the question raised; and the learned Government Pleader appeared at the hearing.
(2.) The Award was passed on 25-3-1968. Notice of the Award under S.12(2) of the Act was received by the petitioner appellant on 27-3-1968. Application for reference was filed on 20-5-1968, and rejected, as stated, as out of time. We may read S.12(2) and S.20 of the Kerala Land Acquisition Act. "12 (2) The Collector shall give immediate notice of his award to such of the persons interested as are not present personally or by their representatives when the award is made. x x x 20. Reference to Court: Any person interested who has not accepted the award may, by written application to the Collector, require that the matter be referred by the Collector for the determination of the Court, whether his objection be to the measurement of the land, the amount of the compensation, the person to whom it is payable, or the apportionment of the compensation among the persons interested. (2) The application shall state the grounds on which objection to the award is taken: Provided that every such application shall 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-s.(2) of S.12 or within six months from the date of the Collector's award, whichever period shall first expire." (The Sections are in similar, if not identical terms, as S.12(2) and 18 of the Central Land Acquisition Act). S.49 provides for service of notices under the Act. It is not material for the present purpose. S.61 authorises the framing of Rules under the Act; but no Rule has been brought to our notice prescribing the form or particulars of notice under S.12(2). A form of notice has been printed in the Land Acquisition Manual which comprises only executive or administrative instructions, not having any statutory force. Ext. X1 notice issued in this case conforms to the form ordained by these instructions.
(3.) There was no controversy in the instant case that if the notice of the Award was valid, the application for reference should be filed on or before 8-5-1968. It was rejected for not having been so filed. The writ petition to quash the said order was dismissed, as the learned Judge took the view that the notice issued in the form provided for issue of such notice, was proper and adequate, and that the petitioner need not know the reasoning in the Award for fixing compensation, as all that is to be stated in the reference application was that the applicant is dissatisfied with the compensation awarded.;

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