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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Land Acquisition Act - sec.30 & sec.18 references -Collector award 1985 Sec.30 disposed in 1991- with in 6 weeks applied for sec.18 reference - Lower court awarded enhanced compensation - High court held that the reference was barred by limitation - Apex court set aside the order of High court - after disposal of sec.30 only sec.18 arises - as they applied with in 6 weeks - reference was not barred by limitation = MADAN & ANR. ... APPELLANT (S) VERSUS STATE OF MAHARASHTRA ... RESPONDENT (S) = published in http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/imgst.aspx?filename=41051

Land Acquisition Act - sec.30  & sec.18 references -Collector award 1985 Sec.30 disposed in 1991- with in 6 weeks applied for sec.18 reference - Lower court awarded enhanced compensation - High court held that the reference was barred by limitation - Apex court set aside the order  of High court - after disposal of sec.30 only sec.18 arises - as they applied with in 6 weeks - reference was not barred by limitation =

It appears that after the order  dated  4.9.1991  was  passed  in  the
Reference  under  Section  30  of  the  Act,  the  appellants  received  the
compensation on 5.9.1991.  
Though the precise date is not available,  within
six weeks from the date of the order dated 4.9.1991 the appellants sought  a
Reference under Section 18 of the Act for enhancement  of  the  compensation
awarded.  
The aforesaid Reference which was numbered as L.A.R.  No.  75/1992
was decided by the Second Additional District Judge,  Beed  by  order  dated
29.10.1993 enhancing  the  compensation  amount  by  an  additional  sum  of
Rs.2,10,000/- along with solatium, interest  etc.  as  due  under  different
provisions of the Act.

5.    Aggrieved by the  aforesaid  Award  dated  29.10.1993,  the  State  of
Maharashtra  filed  an  appeal  before  the  High  Court   questioning   the
enhancement of  the  compensation  awarded  and  also  contending  that  the
Reference made was barred  by  limitation  in  view  of  the  provisions  of
Section 18(2) of the Act.  
The  High  Court  by  the  impugned  order  dated
09.09.2008 decided the appeal only on the issue  of  limitation  by  holding
the same to be time barred.  Accordingly, the appeal filed by the State  was
allowed and the Award passed by the  Second  Additional  District  Judge  in
L.A.R.No.75/1992 was reversed. =

  A cursory glance of the provisions of Sections 18 and 30 of  the  Act,
extracted above, may suggest that there  is  some  overlapping  between  the
provisions  inasmuch  as  both  contemplate  reference  of  the   issue   of
apportionment of compensation to the Court. 
 But, a  closer  scrutiny  would
indicate that the two Sections of the  Act  operate  in  entirely  different
circumstances.   
While  Section  18  applies   to   situations   where   the
apportionment made in the Award is objected to by a beneficiary  thereunder,
Section  30  applies  when  no  apportionment  whatsoever  is  made  by  the
Collector on account of conflicting claims.  
In such a situation one of  the
options open to the Collector is to make a  reference  of  the  question  of
apportionment to the Court under Section 30 of the Act.   
The  other  is  to
relegate the parties to the remedy of a  suit.   
In  either  situation,  the
right to receive  compensation  under  the  Award  would  crystallize  after
apportionment is made in favour of a claimant.  
It is only  thereafter  that
a reference under Section 18 for enhanced compensation can  be  legitimately
sought by the claimant in whose favour the order of apportionment is  passed
either by the Court in the reference under Section 30 or in the civil  suit,
as may be.


  On  a
logical extension of the principle laid down  in  Dr.  G.H.  Grant  Vs.  The
State of Bihar (supra) 
the State would have been entitled in  law  to  claim
enhanced compensation under Section 18 of the Act once its entitlement to
receive such compensation is to be decided in its favour under  Section  30.
This is what has happened in the present case.

14.   For the reasons aforesaid, we hold that the High Court  had  erred  in
allowing the appeal filed  by  the  State  and  reversing  the  order  dated
29.10.1993 passed by the Second Additional District Judge, Beed.  
The  award
of compensation in the instant case having been made  by  the  Collector  as
far back as in the year 1985  and  the  amount  involved  being  exceedingly
small we have considered the basis on which enhancement of compensation  was
made by the learned Reference Court in its order dated 29.10.1993.  
On  such
scrutiny, we do not find  any  error  in  the  view  taken  by  the  learned
Reference Court.  
Therefore, in  the  peculiar  facts  of  the  case,  while
allowing this appeal and setting aside the order dated 09.09.2008 passed  by
the High Court we deem it proper  to  restore  the  order  dated  29.10.1993
passed by the Second Additional District Judge in L.A.R. No.75 of 1995.

                                                   REPORTABLE

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

              CIVIL APPEAL NO.  10863                   OF 2013
                  (Arising Out of SLP (C) No.9603 of 2009)




MADAN & ANR.                            ...  APPELLANT (S)

                                   VERSUS

STATE OF MAHARASHTRA              ...   RESPONDENT (S)



                               J U D G M E N T


RANJAN GOGOI, J.

1.    Leave granted.

2.     This  appeal  is  directed  against  the  judgment  and  order  dated
09.O9.2008 passed by the High Court of  Bombay  at  Aurangabad  holding  the
Reference made by the Collector under Section 18  of  the  Land  Acquisition
Act,  1894  (hereinafter  referred  to  as  “the  Act”)  to  be  barred   by
limitation.   The  High  Court,  accordingly,  reversed  the   Award   dated
29.10.1993 passed by the Reference Court granting enhanced  compensation  to
the appellants.  Aggrieved, this appeal has been filed.



3.    The brief facts of the case may be usefully recited as hereunder:




      Acquisition of a total area of 8 Hectares 40 Ares  covered  by  Survey
No.49 situated at village Phule  Pimpalgaon  in  Taluka  Majalgaon  of  Beed
District  was initiated by a Notification under Section 4 of the  Act  which
was published in the gazette on 13.03.1980.  No objection under  Section  5A
of  the  Act  was  filed  by  any  person  interested.   Consequently,   the
Notification under Section 6 of the Act was published on 18.04.1982  and  an
Award was passed on 16.08.1985 granting compensation at the rate of  Rs.50/-
, Rs.65/- and Rs.75/- per Are respectively for different categories of  land
classified as Grade I, II and III in the Award.
As  there  was  a  dispute
with regard to the ownership  of  the  land,  the  Collector  (Special  Land
Acquisition  Officer)  referred  the  matter  to   the   civil   court   for
apportionment of compensation under Section 30 of the Act.  
The  Reference
under Section 30 made by the Collector which was registered and numbered  as
L.A.R. No. 94/1985 came to be disposed of by the learned  Second  Additional
District Judge,  Beed  on  4.9.1991  holding  that  the  present  appellants
(claimants 1 and 2) are entitled to compensation in respect of 20  acres  of
the acquired  land  and  the  remaining  parties  (claimants  3  to  7)  for
compensation in respect of remainder of the acquired land.

4.    It appears that after the order  dated  4.9.1991  was  passed  in  the
Reference  under  Section  30  of  the  Act,  the  appellants  received  the
compensation on 5.9.1991.  
Though the precise date is not available,  within
six weeks from the date of the order dated 4.9.1991 the appellants sought  a
Reference under Section 18 of the Act for enhancement  of  the  compensation
awarded.
The aforesaid Reference which was numbered as L.A.R.  No.  75/1992
was decided by the Second Additional District Judge,  Beed  by  order  dated
29.10.1993 enhancing  the  compensation  amount  by  an  additional  sum  of
Rs.2,10,000/- along with solatium, interest  etc.  as  due  under  different
provisions of the Act.

5.    Aggrieved by the  aforesaid  Award  dated  29.10.1993,  the  State  of
Maharashtra  filed  an  appeal  before  the  High  Court   questioning   the
enhancement of  the  compensation  awarded  and  also  contending  that  the
Reference made was barred  by  limitation  in  view  of  the  provisions  of
Section 18(2) of the Act.  
The  High  Court  by  the  impugned  order  dated
09.09.2008 decided the appeal only on the issue  of  limitation  by  holding
the same to be time barred.  Accordingly, the appeal filed by the State  was
allowed and the Award passed by the  Second  Additional  District  Judge  in
L.A.R.No.75/1992 was reversed.

6.    We have heard Mr. Sudhanshu S.  Choudhary,  learned  counsel  for  the
appellants and Mr. Anirudh P. Mayee, learned counsel appearing on behalf  of
the respondent-State.

7.    Learned counsel for the appellants has vehemently urged that from  the
materials placed on record  it  is  evident  that  the  appellants  did  not
participate in the enquiry leading to the Award dated 16.08.1985  passed  by
the Land Acquisition Collector.  No notice of the Award under Section  12(2)
of the Act was served on the appellants either.  It is pointed out that  the
appellants became entitled to receive compensation under the Award  only  on
4.9.1991 i.e. the date of the order of  the  court  in  the  Reference  made
under Section 30  of  the  Act.   Such  compensation  was  received  by  the
appellants on 5.9.1991.    Thereafter, the application for  Reference  under
Section 18 of the Act was made within the period of 6 weeks  from  the  date
of the order passed under Section 30 of the Act.  Relying  on  the  decision
of this Court  in  Raja  Harish  Chandra  Raj  Singh  Vs.  The  Deputy  Land
Acquisition Officer & Anr.[1] learned counsel has urged  that  the  date  of
knowledge of the Award referred to in Section 18(2), in  the  present  case,
has to be understood to be  4.9.1991  i.e.  the  date  of  the  order  under
Section 30 of the Act.  If that be so, according to the learned counsel  for
the appellants,  the  High  Court  was  clearly  in  error  in  holding  the
Reference under Section 18 of the Act to be barred  by  limitation.  Another
decision of this Court in Dr. G.H. Grant Vs. The State of Bihar[2] has  been
relied onto emphasize the true purport of Sections 18 and 30 of the Act.

8.    Controverting the submissions advanced on behalf  of  the  appellants,
learned counsel for the State  has  contended  that  the  appellants  having
claimed to be the owners of the land were at all times  aware  of  the  land
acquisition proceeding leading to the Award dated 16.08.1985 passed  by  the
Collector.  According to the learned counsel for the State, the  appellants,
therefore, should have sought a Reference under Section 18 within  the  time
prescribed by Section 18(2).  In this regard, learned counsel for the  State
has pointed out that even under Section 18 of the  Act  it  is  open  to  an
aggrieved party to seek a reference on the question of apportionment of  the
Award.  The Award in the  present  case  having  been  passed  by  the  Land
Acquisition Collector on 16.08.1985, the  Reference  under  Section  18  for
enhanced compensation made in the year 1991 is inordinately delayed and  the
conclusion of the High Court to the said effect is fully justified.

9.    For ready reference it may be convenient to set  out  hereinunder  the
provisions of Sections 18 and 30 of the Act:-

      “18. Reference  to  Court.—(1)  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  persons
      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 section 12, sub-section (2), or  within
           six months from the date of  the  Collector's  award,  whichever
           period shall first expire.”


      “30. Dispute as to apportionment.—When the amount of compensation  has
      been settled under section  11,  if  any  dispute  arises  as  to  the
      apportionment of the same or any part thereof, or as to the persons to
      whom the same or any part thereof, is payable, the Collector may refer
      such dispute to the decision of the Court.”



10.   From the order dated 29.10.1993 passed in L.A.R. No. 75/1992,  it  is,
inter alia, clear that there was a dispute  amongst  the  land  owners  (the
appellants are one set of such land owners) in respect of  their  respective
shares in the  acquired  land  on  account  of  which  no  apportionment  of
compensation was made by the Collector who made a  Reference  under  Section
30 of the Act to the court.  Further, in the order dated  29.10.1993  it  is
recorded that the appellants had no knowledge of the Award  till  the  order
dated 4.9.1991 came to be passed in the  Reference  under  Section  30.   In
Raja Harish  Chandra  Raj  Singh  (supra)  this  Court  has  held  that  the
expression “the date of the award” used in proviso (b) to Section  18(2)  of
the Act must be understood to  mean  the  date  when  the  award  is  either
communicated  to  the  party  or  is  known  by  him  either   actually   or
constructively.  It  was  further  held  by  this  Court  that  it  will  be
unreasonable to construe the words “from the date of the Collector’s  award”
used in the proviso to Section 18 in a literal or mechanical  way.   In  the
present case, it has already been noticed that a finding has  been  recorded
by the Reference Court in its order dated 29.10.1993 that  “the  petitioners
had no knowledge about the passing of the award till the date of payment  of
compensation on 5.9.1991 because they were  held  entitled  to  receive  the
compensation  after  the  decision  of  Reference  under  Section  30  dated
4.9.1991.”

11.   What transpires from the above is that it is for  the  first  time  on
4.9.1991 (date  of  the  order  under  Section  30  of  the  Act)  that  the
appellants came to know that they were  entitled  to  compensation  and  the
quantum thereof.  It is not in dispute that the Reference under  Section  18
was made within 6 weeks from the said date  i.e.  4.9.1991.   In  the  above
facts, it is difficult to subscribe to the view taken by the High  Court  to
hold that the Reference under Section 18 was barred by limitation.

12.   A cursory glance of the provisions of Sections 18 and 30 of  the  Act,
extracted above, may suggest that there  is  some  overlapping  between  the
provisions  inasmuch  as  both  contemplate  reference  of  the   issue   of
apportionment of compensation to the Court. 
 But, a  closer  scrutiny  would
indicate that the two Sections of the  Act  operate  in  entirely  different
circumstances.   
While  Section  18  applies   to   situations   where   the
apportionment made in the Award is objected to by a beneficiary  thereunder,
Section  30  applies  when  no  apportionment  whatsoever  is  made  by  the
Collector on account of conflicting claims.  
In such a situation one of  the
options open to the Collector is to make a  reference  of  the  question  of
apportionment to the Court under Section 30 of the Act.   
The  other  is  to
relegate the parties to the remedy of a  suit.   
In  either  situation,  the
right to receive  compensation  under  the  Award  would  crystallize  after
apportionment is made in favour of a claimant.  
It is only  thereafter  that
a reference under Section 18 for enhanced compensation can  be  legitimately
sought by the claimant in whose favour the order of apportionment is  passed
either by the Court in the reference under Section 30 or in the civil  suit,
as may be.

13.   The decision of this Court in Dr. G.H. Grant Vs. The  State  of  Bihar
(supra) would also support the above conclusion.
In the aforesaid case,  an
Award was made by the  Collector  on  25.3.1952.   On  5.5.1952,  the  owner
applied under Section 18 for a Reference to the  court  for  enhancement  of
the compensation payable to him.  While  the  matter  was  so  situated,  by
notification dated 22.5.1952 issued  under  Section  3  of  the  Bihar  Land
Reforms Act, 30 of 1950, the estate of the owner vested in the State.    The
possession of the land was taken over on 21.08.1952 under Section 16 of  the
Act.  On 15.10.1952, a Reference under Section 30 was sought  on  behalf  of
the State.  After noticing the different situations in which the  provisions
of Sections 18 and 30 of the Act would apply, this Court proceeded  to  hold
the Reference sought by the State of Bihar under Section 30 of  the  Act  to
be competent in law on the ground that after the award  was  passed  by  the
Collector the land had vested in the State by  virtue  of  the  notification
dated 22.5.1952 under Section 3 of the Bihar Land Reforms Act, 1950.   
On  a
logical extension of the principle laid down  in  Dr.  G.H.  Grant  Vs.  The
State of Bihar (supra) the State would have been entitled in  law  to  claim
enhanced compensation under Section 18 of the Act once its entitlement to
receive such compensation is to be decided in its favour under  Section  30.
This is what has happened in the present case.

14.   For the reasons aforesaid, we hold that the High Court  had  erred  in
allowing the appeal filed  by  the  State  and  reversing  the  order  dated
29.10.1993 passed by the Second Additional District Judge, Beed.  The  award
of compensation in the instant case having been made  by  the  Collector  as
far back as in the year 1985  and  the  amount  involved  being  exceedingly
small we have considered the basis on which enhancement of compensation  was
made by the learned Reference Court in its order dated 29.10.1993.  On  such
scrutiny, we do not find  any  error  in  the  view  taken  by  the  learned
Reference Court.  Therefore, in  the  peculiar  facts  of  the  case,  while
allowing this appeal and setting aside the order dated 09.09.2008 passed  by
the High Court we deem it proper  to  restore  the  order  dated  29.10.1993
passed by the Second Additional District Judge in L.A.R. No.75 of 1995.
                                                         …………..….…………………CJI.
                                         [P. SATHASIVAM]


                                                       …….…….……..………………………J.
                                        [RANJANA PRAKASH DESAI]




                                                       …….…….……..………………………J.
                                        [RANJAN GOGOI]
NEW DELHI
DECEMBER 06, 2013.
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[1]    AIR 1961 SC 1500
[2]    AIR 1966 SC 237

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