LAXMI NARAIN Vs. STATE OF HARYANA
HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA
STATE OF HARYANA
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Rajesh Bindal, J. -
(1.)Challenge in the present appeal has been made to the award of the learned Reference Court vide which the objections filed by the landowner claiming higher compensation on account of acquisition of land, were dismissed.
(2.)Briefly the facts of the case as are available on record are that the appellant, who appears in person, claimed that 10 kanals of land owned by his father Late Budh Ram was sought to be acquired by the State vide notification issued on 3.11.1958 issued under Sec. 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (for short, 'the Act'). Notification under Sec. 6 of the Act was issued on 3.11.1958, which was published on 14.11.1958. The Land Acquisition Collector (for short, 'the Collector') vide award dated 20.4.1959 assessed the market value of the acquired land at Rs. 71.99. Father of the appellant, namely, Budh Ram expired on 21.10.1957. The appellant was born on 18.7.1954 and his younger brother Satbir Singh on 14.3.1956. They were not in the knowledge of the acquisition. The amount of compensation was not paid to any one. In the year 1996, they came to know from their paternal uncle that the land owned by their father Late Budh Ram was acquired in the year 1958 but he was not paid any compensation. The matter was taken up with the authorities. On 5.8.1996, two vouchers, of Rs. 35.99 in favour of the appellant and Rs. 36/- in favour of his brother Satbir Singh, were sent, which were not accepted by the appellant. The appellant continued representing the authorities for payment of adequate compensation but no response was received. Civil Writ Petition No. 9250 of 2008 was filed in this Court raising the grievance that compensation was not paid despite acquisition of land. The same was disposed of on 23.9.2008 giving liberty to the appellant herein to file objections before the Collector, which were to be referred to the learned Court below for determination of compensation. The learned Court below vide impugned order, has wrongly dismissed the objections. The appellant was not at fault. The land was acquired in the year 1958. The compensation should have been paid to the rightful owner immediately thereafter. Father of the appellant died in the year 1957 even before the award was announced by the Collector. The authorities were duty bound to find out the legal heirs of the deceased landowner and pay the compensation to them. They having failed to discharge their duty, the appellant cannot be made to suffer. He further submitted that if the amount of compensation had been kept in a fixed deposit in the year 1958, the appellant would have got good amount of compensation after adding the interest thereon. Payment of Rs. 71.99 at this stage is a joke. Had the amount been paid at the right time, the same could be utilised for purchase of other land. The appellant being not at fault, the rejection of the objections filed by the appellant on account of delay is also erroneous.
(3.)On the other hand, learned counsel for the State submitted that after the announcement of the award by the Collector on 20.4.1959, the amount of compensation was deposited in the treasury along with the amount of other landowners. It is not in dispute that the appellant became major in the year 1972 but did not take steps either to claim compensation or to file any objections. For the first time in the year 1976, he moved application before the higher authorities. Immediately the matter was enquired into and from the record it was found that the amount was lying deposited in the Treasury. The vouchers were got prepared and sent to the appellant. However, he refused to accept the same. Even thereafter the appellant remained quite for about 12 years till such time he filed CWP No. 9250 of 2008 in this Court, which was disposed of on 23.9.2008 giving liberty to the petitioner to file objections which were to be decided as per law. If considered in the light of Sec. 18 of the Act, the objections filed at that stage were clearly time barred and the delay in filing thereof could not be condoned, as the limitation Act as such is not applicable. The claim of the appellant to pay him compensation at the present rate is totally misconceived as the compensation for acquisition of land had to be assessed as on the date of issuance of notification under Sec. 4 of the Act and not any date subsequent thereto. On merits, no evidence was led by the appellant in support of his case to claim higher compensation on the date of issuance of notification under Sec. 4 of the Act.
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