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Monday, January 22, 2018

we are at a loss to understand as to how there could be 250 trees or 396 trees in 7 kanals and 2 marlas of land (less than one acre) that too of B category as is sought to be 16 contended by the respondent. 9. In view of the above, it is clear that the High Court has over looked certain material aspects of the evidence before coming to the conclusion. The High Court needs to consider the entire material in proper perspective afresh. Hence, the matter is to be remitted to the High Court 17 of Punjab & Haryana for fresh disposal in accordance with law.

1
[Non-Reportable]
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 488 OF 2018
(Arising out of SLP (Civil) No. 2223 of 2017)
State of Punjab and Ors. ...........Appellants
Versus
Thuru Ram ........Respondent
J U D G M E N T
MOHAN M. SHANTANAGOUDAR, J.
Leave granted.
2. The Judgment
dated
06.05.2015
passed by the
High Court of
Punjab &
Haryana at
Chandigarh in
R.F.A. No. 2435
2
of 1996 is
called in
question by the
State of Punjab
on the ground
that the
compensation
ordered to be
paid in respect
of the fruit
trees standing
on the acquired
land is liable to
be reduced
substantially.
3. Land of the
respondent was
acquired along
with trees
standing on it
for
construction of
3
Hydel Channel.
A notification
under Section 4
of the Land
Acquisition Act,
1894
(hereinafter
referred to as
‘the Act’) was
issued on
12.01.1990 and
the declaration
under Section 6
of the Act was
made on
28.02.1990.
The Land
Acquisition
Collector
passed the
supplementary
4
award
awarding
compensation
of the fruit
trees standing
on the acquired
land on
10.03.1993.
Reference
Court had
rejected the
reference
sought by the
respondent
holding that
the award
made by the
Land
Acquisition
Collector was
proper and
5
correct. The
respondent
approached the
High Court of
Punjab &
Haryana by
filing the
appeal which
came to be
allowed by the
impugned
judgment and
reference was
accepted
awarding
compensation
to the tune of
Rs. 5,77,377/-
for the standing
trees on the
acquired land
6
along with
other statutory
benefits as per
Sections
23(1-A), 23(2)
and 28 of the
Act. Hence, this
appeal by the
State.
4. Heard the
parties. The
counsel for
appellant
taking us
through the
material on
record submits
that the
judgment of the
High Court is
liable to be set
aside inasmuch
7
as it has not
considered the
evidence in
proper
perspective
while coming to
the conclusion.
She has drawn
our attention to
certain
paragraphs of
the judgment of
the reference
court in
support of the
said
contention. Per
contra, learned
advocate for the
respondent
argued in
8
support of the
judgment of the
High Court.
5. The
respondent/the
claimant relied
upon Exhibit
A.1. i.e. the
assessment
report of AW-2
prepared by an
expert, in
support of his
contention
seeking
enhancement.
On the other
hand, the State
relied upon the
opinion of
another expert
i.e. RW-2 (the
9
report of RW-2
is at Exhibit
R.1.) to contend
that the
respondent is
not entitled for
compensation
as sought in
respect of the
trees.
6. According to
respondent,
396 fruit trees
were standing
on the acquired
land of the
respondent.
They were,
orange 28,
peach 76,
mausami 135
and mango
10
157. The Land
Acquisition
Collector
awarded total
compensation
of Rs.
37,321.12
including 30
percent
solatium and
12 percent
increase in
respect of such
fruit trees. As
mentioned
supra, the
reference court
on evaluating
the material on
record
confirmed the
11
award of the
Land
Acquisition
Collector.
7. Though, the
respondent
(AW-1) claimed
that the 396
fruit trees were
standing, in his
deposition he
stated that they
were 250 fruit
trees which
included
amrood, orange
and mango.
Such trees were
4 to 5 years
old. The expert
examined by
the respondent
12
i.e. AW-2
Sunder Singh
is a retired
District
Agricultural
Officer who
served for 34
years in various
capacities.
According to
his report total
value of all the
trees was
Rs.6,35,114.70.
Certain other
factors such as
distance of land
from the town
etc. are also
deposed by
him.
13
Per contra, the Patwari (RW-1) examined on behalf of the
appellant State has produced khasra girdawari register of the
relevant village in respect of certain years. The total area of the
acquired land belonging to the respondent is 7 kanals 2 marlas
(less than 1 acre). In 1985-86, wheat and other crops were shown
to have sown in the land. However, subsequently orchard
(Bagicha) has been added with different ink in the crops column
and according to him such entry was made, i.e. adding the word
Bagicha, without any order from the competent authority. No
initials were also found. According to RW-2, Horticulture
Development Officer the acquired trees of the respondent were
found to be of ‘D’ category. He has given the value of every kind
of standing fruit trees. The valuation of RW-2 is far less than the
valuation provided by AW-2.
8. The expert
examined by
the respondent
(AW-2) has
admitted that
there was a
tank for storing
water and
14
buckets were
lying. Meaning
thereby the
respondent was
allegedly
watering the
fruit trees by
pouring water
with the help of
buckets. There
was no
perennial
source of water.
In that regard
the reference
court
concluded that
the irrigation
facility was
scanty. AW-2
has further
15
deposed that
there could be
90 fruit trees in
one killa (equal
to one acre). If,
only 90 fruits
trees can be
planted in one
killa (one acre),
we are at a loss
to understand
as to how there
could be 250
trees or 396
trees in 7
kanals and 2
marlas of land
(less than one
acre) that too of
B category as is
sought to be
16
contended by
the respondent.
9. In view of the
above, it is
clear that the
High Court has
over looked
certain material
aspects of the
evidence before
coming to the
conclusion. The
High Court
needs to
consider the
entire material
in proper
perspective
afresh. Hence,
the matter is to
be remitted to
the High Court
17
of Punjab &
Haryana for
fresh disposal
in accordance
with law.
Ordered
accordingly, the
matter is
remitted to the
High Court.
The impugned
judgment is set
aside. Appeal
stands
disposed off
accordingly.
.................................................J.
(ARUN MISHRA)
.................................................J.
(MOHAN M. SHANTANAGOUDAR)
New Delhi
Dated: January 19, 2018

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