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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Land Acquisition - compensation on different classifications for unauthorized land owners as per G.O.Ms.No.639, Revenue (Assn-IV) Department, dated 29.09.2001 Challenged.= The petitioners are aggrieved by the classification of their lands into Category-D, and they challenge the rationality in denying the ex-gratia on par with A-Category lands, or in the alternative at least on par with B-Category lands. = Under the G.O., lands were classified into four categories - i) Category-A are assigned lands for which DKT pattas were granted; ii) Category-B are Government lands occupied without pattas, but occupations were recorded in 10(1) and Adangal Accounts; iii) Category-D lands are also Government lands occupied without pattas, but possessions were recorded only in Adangals; and iv) Category-C are assigned lands purchased by persons from the DKT patta holders. 3. According to the G.O., for Category-A lands, lumpsum ex-gratia is fixed at the value equivalent to the market value along with an amount equivalent to 15% (for the lands resumed prior to 30.04.1984) and 30% (for the lands resumed after 30.04.1984) on the market value payable under Section 23(2) of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894. The assignees were not entitled for a reference under the Land Acquisition Act. 4. For Category-B lands, the possession of which is reflected in entries in 10(1) and Adangal Accounts, ex-gratia is fixed equivalent to the market value but without solatium. 5. For Category-D lands, the possession of which is reflected only in theAdangals, ex-gratia equivalent to 50% of the market value without solatium is fixed, and Category-C lands are not entitled for any ex-gratia. 6. The lands of the petitioners fall under Category-D, and as such, according to the respondents, they are entitled for 50% of the market value without solatium towards the ex-gratia in terms of the G.O.= Thus, in the considered view of this Court, all the occupants of Government land without a patta covered both by 10(1) account and adangals on the one side and only by adangals on the other, are alike and are equally placed. 23. For the foregoing reasons, G.O.Ms.No.639, Revenue (Assn-IV) Department, dated 29.9.2001 insofar as the classification it has made relating to D-category lands is held not sustainable and the same is set aside. Consequently, it is held that D-category lands shall be treated as B-category lands. Accordingly, the respondents are directed to consider the case of the petitioners for awarding exgratia treating their lands on par with B-category lands.

published in http://judis.nic.in/judis_andhra/filename=9853

THE HON'BLE SRI JUSTICE NOUSHAD ALI    

Contempt Case No.6883 of 2004

09.04.2013

1. Talreddy Yesanna and others.

Government of A.P., rep. by its Secretary, Revenue (Assn.IV) Department,
Secretariat Buildings, Hyderabad and others.

Counsel for the Petitioner: Sri B.D. Maheswar Reddy Counsel for Respondents:
G.P. for Land Acquisition.

<Gist :

>Head Note:

?Cases referred:

ORDER:

1.      The petitioners were occupants of Government land in Alaganur village,Kurnool District. 
Their lands were acquired for construction of Alaganur
Balancing Reservoir along with some private lands. 
In this writ petition they
are seeking compensation/ex-gratia for their lands on par with the lands acquired under the Land Acquisition Act or in the alternative on par with 'B' category lands pursuant to G.O.Ms.No.639, Revenue (Assn-IV) Department, dated  
29.09.2001.
2.      The State Government issued orders in G.O.Ms.No.639, Revenue (Assn-IV)
Department, dated 29.09.2001 providing for payment of   ex-gratia towards
acquisition of government lands.
 Under the G.O., lands were classified into four
categories - i) Category-A are assigned lands for which DKT pattas were granted;
ii) Category-B are Government lands occupied without pattas, but occupations
were recorded in 10(1) and Adangal Accounts;
 iii) Category-D lands are also Government lands occupied without pattas, but possessions were recorded only in Adangals; and 
iv) Category-C are assigned lands purchased by persons from the
DKT patta holders.
3.      According to the G.O., for Category-A lands, lumpsum ex-gratia is fixed at the value equivalent to the market value along with an amount equivalent to 15% (for the lands resumed prior to 30.04.1984) and 30% (for the lands resumed after 30.04.1984) on the market value payable under Section 23(2) of the Land
Acquisition Act, 1894. The assignees were not entitled for a reference under the Land Acquisition Act.
4.      For Category-B lands, the possession of which is reflected in entries in 10(1) and Adangal Accounts, ex-gratia is fixed equivalent to the market value but without solatium.
5.      For Category-D lands, the possession of which is reflected only in theAdangals, ex-gratia equivalent to 50% of the market value without solatium is fixed, and Category-C lands are not entitled for any ex-gratia.
6.      The lands of the petitioners fall under Category-D, and as such, according to the respondents, they are entitled for 50% of the market value without solatium towards the ex-gratia in terms of the G.O.
7.      The petitioners are aggrieved by the classification of their lands into Category-D, and they challenge the rationality in denying the ex-gratia on par with A-Category lands, or in the alternative at least on par with B-Category lands. 
The petitioners would contend that they were in occupation of the land
for more than three decades. Therefore their lands are similar to other
categories of lands in all respects and hence denial of compensation by
classifying the lands as Category-D is a discrimination.
8.      In the counter affidavit, the respondents admit the fact that the
petitioners were in possession of lands and their lands were resumed for the
purpose of construction of the reservoir. The counter, however, states that they
were not granted pattas and their possession was found recorded only in the
Adangals and there are no entries in 10(1) account. Therefore, the lands were
classified as D-Category lands and the petitioners were paid 50% of the market
value as ex-gratia. The petitioners were paid at Rs.30,000/- per acre for dry
lands and Rs.40,000/- per acre for irrigated dry lands under Award dated
13.10.2000 as per G.O.Ms.No.639, dated 29.09.2001. The respondents would contend
that it is not possible to treat the lands of the petitioners as B-Category
lands. According to them, B-Category lands stand on a different footing because
the lands which find entry both in 10(1) Account and Adangals are different from
the lands which find entry only in Adangals. The occupants whose names are
entered in 10(1) account will be prospective assignees whereas the other
occupants are not prospective assignees. In other words, an occupant, whose name
is reflected in 10(1) account, will be eligible for patta, but the same is not
the case with other category of occupants. Thus a distinction is maintained
between an occupant who is supported by the entries in 10(1) account and
Adangals and an occupant who is supported merely by the Adangals. Therefore,
according to the respondents there is no discrimination meted out to the
petitioners.
9.      I have heard Sri B.D. Maheswar Reddy, learned counsel appearing for the
petitioners and the learned Government Pleader for Land Acquisition for
respondents.
10.     There is no dispute that the lands of the petitioners were resumed, and by
treating the lands as Category-D, ex-gratia amount at 50% of the market value
was paid to them under G.O.Ms.No.639, dated 29.09.2001.
11.     Principle of equality before law and equal protect of the laws is the
touchstone of Article 14 of the Constitution. Article 14 ensures equality among
people and its aim is to protect persons similarly placed against discriminatory
treatment. Though classification is permissible under   Article 14, the
classification must not be arbitrary but it must be rationale. It must be based
on some equalities or characteristics commonly found in the classified group.
The classification itself must be founded on an intelligible differentia which
distinguishes those that are grouped together from others and that differentia
must have rationale relationship to the object sought to be achieved. Any
classification, which is not rationale, strikes at the root of Article 14. There
should be no substantial difference in between the two groups to classify them
into two groups. The difference which will warrant a reasonable classification
must be real and substantial and must bear some just and reasonable relation to
the object sought to be achieved. A classification in order to the
constitutional must rest upon distinctions that are substantial not merely
illusory.
The test is 
whether there is reasonable classification free from
artificiality and arbitrariness.
12.     The case of the petitioners has to be considered in the light of the
aforesaid principles.
13.     The petitioners firstly claim that they are entitled to be treated on par
with A-category lands. They seek to draw a parity of their lands with A-category
lands stating that both are Government lands and assignment of the lands does
not confer special rights on the landholders. According to them, the assigned
lands are only heritable but not alienable and can be resumed by the Government
whenever required for public purpose.
Therefore, the petitioners are entitled for ex-gratia on par with A-category lands.
14.     The said contention is devoid of merits. 
All occupations of Government
land without authorisation are unauthorised and all persons occupying such lands
are encroachers.
Such encroachers do not have any enforceable rights nor are
their rights protected under law.
They are liable to be evicted either under
A.P. Land Encroachment Act, 1905 or under the provisions of the A.P. Board
Standing Orders, whereas assignment of land confers title on the holders and
their rights are protected against eviction except for unauthorised alienations
under the A.P. Assigned Lands (Prohibition of Transfers) Act, 1977.
The land of
an assignee may be resumed by Government but it has to be done for special
reasons to serve the public purpose.
The assigned lands are heritable. Thus
there is a clear discernible difference between the assigned lands falling under
category-A and the unassigned lands falling under category-B and D and there is
no similarity between    A-category lands on the one hand, and B, D and C
category lands on the  other.
Therefore, there is no discrimination in paying
higher exgratia to A-Category lands compared to other categories. 
In
T. NADIPI
SUNKANNA AND OTHERS VS. GOVERNMENT OF ANDHRA PRADESH (W.P.No.17183 of 2004,                    
dated 10.02.2011) a similar issue was dealt with and held that no discrimination
exists in classifying the lands as above.
15.     The alternate claim of the petitioners is that they are at least entitled
to be considered on par with  category-B lands and that since both are
unassigned lands, they are entitled for equal compensation and that the G.O to
the extent it has provided lesser compensation is discriminatory.
16.     It is to be noticed that both B-category and D-category lands are
unassigned lands and the persons in occupation of these categories of lands for
all legal and practical purposes are encroachers. They are not even licensees.
Therefore, the question is
  whether classification of these lands into two
categories is a permissible classification under law.
17.     G.O.Ms.No.639 dated 29.09.2001 seeks to distinguish B-category lands from
D-category on the basis of revenue records. Lands whose possession is confirmed
by entries in 10(1) Account and also Adangals are classified as category-B lands
and the lands whose possession is registered only in the Adangals are classified
as category-D lands.
Thus entries in revenue records is taken as the basis for
classification viz., two entries is the basis for category-B and one entry for
D-category.
Therefore it is necessary to examine the significance of 10(1)
Account and Adangals.
Both Accounts are village records maintained as per the
A.P. Board Standing Orders.
Adangal 
is the name given to a revenue register maintained in the villages. 
It is a book containing accounts of the whole
village showing cultivation in the village. It reflects the ground position
including the name of the cultivator, who actually cultivates the land and
whether the person in occupation of the land has violated any law and if so, the
details of the same. 
10(1) Account 
is the monthly register of cultivation of
village. 
It is also known as Cultivation Account. 10(1) Account contains the
details of crops including both Government and Inam lands. The area of
cultivation of each crop mentioned in 10(1) Account should be based on the
Adangal. 
18.     Thus both the aforesaid registers almost deal with the village accounts
relating to cultivation in the village. There is no additional advantage
conferred on an occupant on account of the entries made in 10(1) account.
10(1)
account does not create a special right in an occupant for grant of patta.
Therefore there is no rationale nor is there any object in conferring more
benefits in respect of the land on the basis that it finds entry in 10(1)
account in addition to the Adangal.
19.     The stand of the respondents that Adangal is not a permanent record and that there will be changes in every fasli year from 1st July to 30th June depending on the crop conditions and their names will not be included in 10(1) account, whereas the names of 10(1) account holders will be considered for grant
of pattas hardly makes a material difference to give a distinct status to B- Category lands.
20.     All lands at the disposal of the Government except those prohibited are assignable lands as per Standing Order 15 (4). 
The assignment of lands are
generally free of market value except in case of project affected lands or other
lands provided elsewhere in the Standing Orders.
The prohibited lands are -    
Poramboke (tank-beds, fore-shore of tank-beds, cattle stands, grazing lands and
reserved lands 
(reserved for depressed class members or for any public purpose, such as schools, hospitals etc.; 
lands 
adjoining forests subject to certain conditions; 
lands 
containing topes or valuable trees; 
lands 
within cantonment limits; 
lands 
reserved under Section 26 of the Forest Act; 
lands 
within Port Limits; 
lands 
near the sea coast within one furlong of high water mark of the sea;  water-course porambokes;
lands 
in the vicinity of aerodromes; 
lands 
containing minerals, quarries, etc.; padugais, i.e., land within the flood-bank of rivers, lanka rivers, lanka lands not held on ryotwari tenure etc.; 
lands
where "Pati  Matti" is available and; and 
any other lands 
which are required or likely to be required for any public or special purposes necessary for the provision of amenities to the community or connected with the development of the
village.

21.  The aforesaid prohibited lands are not available for assignment in favour
of any person and, except these lands all other lands are assignable lands.
As
noticed above, entries in 10(1) account do not confer any special rights or
benefits on the occupants.
On the other hand, order of preference among the
landless poor persons for being eligible for patta as provided byBoard Standing Order No.15(10) states that as between a sivoi jamadar and a non-sivoi jamadar, 
the sivoi jamadar, who has been in continuous occupation of the land, will get preference. 
'Sivoi jamadar' 
means a person who has been in occupation of the
land at the time of consideration of his assignment, provided he had been in
continuous occupation of the land from the fasli immediately preceding the one
in which his assignment is considered.
 Continuous occupation of land is thus one
of the criteria for granting pattas and it does not lay down that those
occupations supported by 10(1) account alone will be considered for assignment.
22.     Therefore, the distinction sought to be made out on the basis of the entries made in 10(1) account vis--vis the entries made in the Adangals is arbitrary and artificial in nature. There is no substantial difference between the two categories of occupations both being encroachments without pattas and the distinction is mere illusory. 
Thus, in the considered view of this Court,
all the occupants of Government land without a patta covered both by 10(1) account and adangals on the one side and only by adangals on the other, are alike and are equally placed.
23.     For the foregoing reasons, G.O.Ms.No.639, Revenue (Assn-IV) Department,  dated 29.9.2001 insofar as the classification it has made relating to D-category lands is held not sustainable and the same is set aside. 
Consequently, it is held that D-category lands shall be treated as             B-category lands.
Accordingly, the respondents are directed to consider the case of the petitioners for awarding exgratia treating their lands on par with B-category lands.
24.     The writ petition is accordingly disposed of. No order as to costs. As a
sequel, W.P.M.P.No.8946 of 2004 shall stand closed as unnecessary.

JUSTICE NOUSHAD ALI  
Date: 09.04.2013.

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