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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Land acquisition - Rejection of Sale Deeds on surmises not valid - High court too not corrected the error - Apex court held that In the order of the Reference Court as well as in the order of the High Court there is no indication on what basis the said finding had been arrived at. What had led the learned courts below to come to the conclusion that the appellants had prior knowledge of the proposed acquisition and on that basis had executed the sale deeds “in a hurry to dispose of the plots which had been carved out” also is not known. The further conclusion that the vendees of the aforesaid sale deeds, not being local residents, did not know about the acquisition proceedings and they were charged fanciful prices for the land is plainly unacceptable in the absence of any materials on record to the said effect. Evidence of vital nature furnished by the two sale deeds dated 13.06.1969 (Exbt.1) and 16.10.1969 (Exbt.2) could not have been rejected on the basis of such surmises and conjectures as has been done in the present case. =M/S MAHAMAYA GEN. FINANCE ... APPELLANT (S) CO. LTD. VERSUS STATE OF U.P. & ORS. ... RESPONDENT (S)= 2014 ( May. Part ) http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41525

Land acquisition - Rejection of Sale Deeds on surmises not valid - High court too not corrected the error - Apex court held that In  the  order  of   the Reference Court as well as in the order  of  the  High  Court  there  is  no indication on what basis the said finding had been  arrived  at.    What  had led the learned courts below to come to the conclusion that  the  appellants had prior knowledge of the  proposed  acquisition  and  on  that  basis  had executed the sale deeds “in a hurry to dispose of the plots which  had  been carved out” also is not known.  The further conclusion that the  vendees  of the aforesaid sale deeds, not being local residents, did not know about  the acquisition proceedings and they were charged fanciful prices for  the  land is plainly unacceptable in the absence of any materials  on  record  to  the said effect.   Evidence of vital nature  furnished  by  the  two  sale  deeds dated 13.06.1969 (Exbt.1)  and  16.10.1969  (Exbt.2)  could  not  have  been rejected on the basis of such surmises and conjectures as has been  done  in the present case.  =

The appellant sought a reference under Section 18 of the Act.   Before
the Reference Court the appellant filed sale deeds dated  13.06.1969  (Ex.1)
and 16.10.1969 (Ex.2) executed by it in respect of land in the  vicinity  of
the land acquired. The Reference Court, however, refused to accept and  rely
on the said sale deeds on the ground that  the  appellant,  having  come  to
know of the acquisition proceedings, had sold land at  inflated  price;  the
correct price was not known to the vendors who were not local  residents  of
Meerut.   The  Reference  Court,  by  order  dated  26.08.1975,  accordingly
maintained the compensation awarded by the Land Acquisition Officer. - High court also dismissed the appeal = 


The finding of the Reference Court, upheld  by  the  High
Court, to the effect that the  sales  covered  by  Exbt.1  and  Exbt.2  were
executed at inflated rates by  the  appellant  on  coming  to  know  of  the
acquisition  proceeding  cannot  be  appreciated.   
In  the  order  of   the
Reference Court as well as in the order  of  the  High  Court  there  is  no
indication on what basis the said finding had been  arrived  at.   
What  had
led the learned courts below to come to the conclusion that  the  appellants
had prior knowledge of the  proposed  acquisition  and  on  that  basis  had
executed the sale deeds “in a hurry to dispose of the plots which  had  been
carved out” also is not known.  
The further conclusion that the  vendees  of
the aforesaid sale deeds, not being local residents, did not know about  the
acquisition proceedings and they were charged fanciful prices for  the  land
is plainly unacceptable in the absence of any materials  on  record  to  the
said effect.  
Evidence of vital nature  furnished  by  the  two  sale  deeds
dated 13.06.1969 (Exbt.1)  and  16.10.1969  (Exbt.2)  could  not  have  been
rejected on the basis of such surmises and conjectures as has been  done  in
the present case.  
The High Court having failed  to  rectify  the  aforesaid
apparent errors we are of the view that the  transactions  effected  by  the
two sale deeds  dated  13.06.1969  (Exbt.1)  and  16.10.1969  (Exbt.2)  must
receive due consideration in the determination of the  compensation  payable
to the appellant.

 In the aforesaid circumstances, we set aside the compensation  awarded
by the learned Acquisition Officer as affirmed by the  Reference  Court  and
the High Court by the orders under appeal.   Instead,  we  direct  that  the
compensation payable to the appellant shall now be computed by  taking  into
account the average of the price, at which  the  two  transactions  by  sale
deeds dated 13.06.1969 (Exbt.1) and 16.10.1969 (Exbt.2)  were  effected,  as
noted above, along with solatium and interest  as  payable  under  the  Act.
The Special Land  Acquisition  Officer,  Ghaziabad,  U.P.,  shall  make  the
necessary computation in terms of the present order  so  as  to  enable  the
appellant to receive the balance amount of compensation along with  solatium
and interest as payable, forthwith, and in  any  case  within  three  months
from the date of receipt of this order.



13.   Both the appeals shall now  stand  allowed  to  the  extent  indicated
above.
2014 ( May. Part ) http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41525
SUDHANSU JYOTI MUKHOPADHAYA, RANJAN GOGOI

                               NON-REPORTABLE

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
                      CIVIL APPEAL  NO.  5514  OF 2014
                  (Arising out of SLP (C) No. 2715 OF 2009)


M/S MAHAMAYA GEN. FINANCE                 ...    APPELLANT (S)
CO. LTD.

                                   VERSUS

STATE OF U.P. & ORS.                      ...  RESPONDENT (S)

                                    WITH

                     CIVIL APPEAL  NO.    5515  OF 2014
                 (Arising out of SLP (C) No. 11371 OF 2009)


                               J U D G M E N T

RANJAN GOGOI, J.

1.    Leave granted.

2.     By notification dated 21.10.1969 issued under Section 4 of  the  Land
Acquisition Act, 1894 (hereinafter referred to as “the  Act”)  approximately
455 acres of land situated in villages Prahlad Garhi, Maharajpur and  Karket
Madan was proposed to be acquired in favour of the Uttar Pradesh  Industrial
Development Corporation (hereinafter referred to as “the Corporation’).   An
area measuring 42 bighas belonging to the  appellant  was  included  in  the
said Notification.

3.    Consequential Notifications under Section 6 and 17(1) of the Act  were
published on 23.6.1970.  Possession of the acquired land was taken  over  on
10.09.1970 and the award was made by the Special  Land  Acquisition  Officer
on 4.5.1972 granting compensation at the rate of Rs.1.33  per  square  yard.
In doing so, a sale deed dated 20.1.1969 in respect of an area of about  200
square yard situated in the village Maharajpur sold for Rs.400/-  was  taken
as the base exemplar.  33% deduction was made on account  of  the  smallness
of  the  area  covered  by  the  aforesaid  sale  deed,  thereby,  assessing
compensation for the acquired land at Rs.1.33 per square yard.

4.    The appellant sought a reference under Section 18 of the Act.   Before
the Reference Court the appellant filed sale deeds dated  13.06.1969  (Ex.1)
and 16.10.1969 (Ex.2) executed by it in respect of land in the  vicinity  of
the land acquired. The Reference Court, however, refused to accept and  rely
on the said sale deeds on the ground that  the  appellant,  having  come  to
know of the acquisition proceedings, had sold land at  inflated  price;  the
correct price was not known to the vendors who were not local  residents  of
Meerut.   The  Reference  Court,  by  order  dated  26.08.1975,  accordingly
maintained the compensation awarded by the Land Acquisition Officer.

5.    Aggrieved, the appellant filed a first appeal before  the  High  Court
seeking enhanced  compensation.   The  claim  was  refused  by  order  dated
17.8.2004 primarily on the  ground  that  before  determining  the  rate  of
compensation, the Land Acquisition Officer had verified  66  sale  deeds  in
respect of lands situated in the neighbourhood which were  sold  within  one
year of/from the date of issuance of the Notifications in question.

6.    Not satisfied, the appellant sought a review of  the  aforesaid  order
dated 17.8.2004 which was declined by the High  Court  by  its  order  dated
26.08.2008.  The appeal arising out of SLP (C)  No.2715  of  2009  has  been
instituted in respect of the  order  of  the  High  Court  dated  26.08.2008
passed in the review application whereas SLP (C) No.11371 of 2009  has  been
filed against the main order of the High Court dated 17.08.2004.

7.    We have heard Mr. B.P. Gupta, learned counsel for  the  appellant  and
Mr. Rakesh Uttamchandra Upadhyay, learned counsel  appearing  on  behalf  of
the respondent.

8.    Learned counsel for the appellant has contended that the  order  dated
26.08.1975 passed by the Reference Court is ex-facie erroneous  inasmuch  as
the sale deeds dated 13.06.1969 (Ex.1) and  16.10.1969  (Ex.2)  which  could
have furnished a reasonable basis  for  computing  the  correct  quantum  of
compensation was brushed aside by the learned Reference  Court  for  reasons
that are plainly unacceptable.  Learned counsel has drawn our  attention  to
the fact that Exhibit-1 (sale deed dated  12.6.1969)  pertains  to  an  area
measuring 233  square  yards  and  the  sale  transaction  was  effected  at
Rs.5126/- i.e. Rs.22/- per square yards whereas Exhibit-2 (sale  deed  dated
16.10.1969) pertains to an area of 675 square yards which  was  sold  for  a
total consideration of Rs.13,320/-  i.e.  Rs.19.73  per  square  yards.  The
aforesaid sale transactions being in respect of land  located  in  the  same
village i.e. Maharajpur and additionally belonging to the appellant  itself,
the Reference Court was  not  right  in  brushing  aside  the  same  on  the
grounds, already noticed.  It is urged that the High Court having failed  to
correct the aforesaid error, appropriate interference by this Court will  be
justified.

 9.   Controverting the submissions advanced on  behalf  of  the  appellant,
learned counsel for the respondent No.2 has contended that the  compensation
determined by the Land Acquisition Officer, as  affirmed  by  the  Reference
Court and the High Court, was preceded by an elaborate exercise  wherein  as
many as 66 contemporaneous sale deeds were verified.   That  apart,  leaving
aside the two sale deeds dated 13.06.1969 (Ex.1) and 16.10.1969  (Ex.2),  no
other material was laid by the appellant at any stage of the  proceeding  to
show that in respect  of  same  acquisition  higher  compensation  has  been
awarded to any land owner.  The award made by the Land  Acquisition  Officer
as upheld  by  the  Reference  Court  and  the  High  Court  is,  therefore,
contended to be fair and reasonable not justifying any interference.

10.   We have considered the submissions advanced on behalf the parties  and
the materials on record.  The compensation awarded to the appellants at  the
rate of Rs.1.33 per square yard is based on the sale deed  dated  20.01.1969
(Ex. A-1) in respect of a plot measuring 200 square yards  situated  in  the
village Maharajpur which was sold by one Naseerudin for Rs.400/-.  The  sale
deeds dated 13.06.1969 and 16.10.1969 exhibited by the appellant before  the
Reference Court were not considered for  the  reasons  already  noted.   The
close proximity of the dates of aforesaid two sale deeds with  the  date  of
the acquisition which  has  been  cited  as  one  of  the  reasons  for  not
accepting Exbt.1 and Exbt.2 sale deeds does not commend  to  us.   That  the
said sale deeds are in close proximity of  time  with  the  acquisition  and
being in respect of land located in one of  the  villages,  covered  by  the
acquisition  Notification  and  above  all  the  land  being  owned  by  the
appellant itself, in our considered view, are vital factors that  could  not
have been ignored. The finding of the Reference Court, upheld  by  the  High
Court, to the effect that the  sales  covered  by  Exbt.1  and  Exbt.2  were
executed at inflated rates by  the  appellant  on  coming  to  know  of  the
acquisition  proceeding  cannot  be  appreciated.   In  the  order  of   the
Reference Court as well as in the order  of  the  High  Court  there  is  no
indication on what basis the said finding had been  arrived  at.   What  had
led the learned courts below to come to the conclusion that  the  appellants
had prior knowledge of the  proposed  acquisition  and  on  that  basis  had
executed the sale deeds “in a hurry to dispose of the plots which  had  been
carved out” also is not known.  The further conclusion that the  vendees  of
the aforesaid sale deeds, not being local residents, did not know about  the
acquisition proceedings and they were charged fanciful prices for  the  land
is plainly unacceptable in the absence of any materials  on  record  to  the
said effect.  Evidence of vital nature  furnished  by  the  two  sale  deeds
dated 13.06.1969 (Exbt.1)  and  16.10.1969  (Exbt.2)  could  not  have  been
rejected on the basis of such surmises and conjectures as has been  done  in
the present case.  The High Court having failed  to  rectify  the  aforesaid
apparent errors we are of the view that the  transactions  effected  by  the
two sale deeds  dated  13.06.1969  (Exbt.1)  and  16.10.1969  (Exbt.2)  must
receive due consideration in the determination of the  compensation  payable
to the appellant.

11.   The acquisition in the present case was proposed in the year 1969  and
the possession of the land had been taken from the appellant as far back  as
in the year 1970.  Due to long efflux of time that has occurred  we  are  of
the view that the present is a fit case wherein the  task  of  determination
of the basis for quantification of the compensation due and payable  to  the
appellant should be undertaken by us in order to give a quietus to  the  lis
between the parties.

12.   In the aforesaid circumstances, we set aside the compensation  awarded
by the learned Acquisition Officer as affirmed by the  Reference  Court  and
the High Court by the orders under appeal.   Instead,  we  direct  that  the
compensation payable to the appellant shall now be computed by  taking  into
account the average of the price, at which  the  two  transactions  by  sale
deeds dated 13.06.1969 (Exbt.1) and 16.10.1969 (Exbt.2)  were  effected,  as
noted above, along with solatium and interest  as  payable  under  the  Act.
The Special Land  Acquisition  Officer,  Ghaziabad,  U.P.,  shall  make  the
necessary computation in terms of the present order  so  as  to  enable  the
appellant to receive the balance amount of compensation along with  solatium
and interest as payable, forthwith, and in  any  case  within  three  months
from the date of receipt of this order.



13.   Both the appeals shall now  stand  allowed  to  the  extent  indicated
above.

                                                     ……………………....…………………………J
                       [SUDHANSU JYOTI MUKHOPADHAYA]


                       ……………………....…………………………J
                       [RANJAN GOGOI]
NEW DELHI,
MAY  08, 2014.
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