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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

land compensation can be fixed basing on Potential of the land - Even though the valuation of the acquired land cannot be fixed as stated in those sale deeds, it could be fixed to its potential at the rate of Rs. 2,500/- per cent as compensation to the claimants.= Manimegalai .- Versus - The Special Tahsildar

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 REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
 CIVIL APPEAL NOs. 2294-2295 OF 2011
Manimegalai .... Appellant(s)
Versus
The Special Tahsildar
(Land Acquisition Officer)
Adi Dravidar Welfare .... Respondent(s)
 J U D G M E N T
R.K. Agrawal, J.
1) The above appeals have been filed against the judgment
and order dated 06.11.2009 passed by the High Court of
Judicature at Madras in A.S. Nos. 88 and 601 of 2001 and
Cross Objection No. 27 of 2007 whereby learned single Judge
of the High Court allowed the appeal filed by the respondent
while dismissing the cross objection filed by the appellant
herein.
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2) Brief facts:
(a) On 15.09.1993, the Government of Tamil Nadu, issued a
Notification under Section 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act,
1894 (in short ‘the LA Act’) for acquisition of dry lands for the
purpose of providing house sites to 250 landless poor Adi
Dravidars in Acharapakkam Village, Madurandagam Taluk,
Chengai, MGR District, Madras, having an extent of 4.30.0
hectares or 10.62 acres.
(b) The lands belonging to the appellant herein in Survey
Nos. 300/2A2, 300/3, 302/1A, 302/4, 317/1B2, 302/2B2B
and 320/2C2 were part of the said acquisition. The Land
Acquisition Officer, after complying with the formalities
required in connection with the acquisition of land under the
LA Act, passed an Award dated 22.03.1995, determining a
sum of Rs. 400/- per cent as compensation to the appellant
herein.
(c) Being aggrieved by the meager compensation, a
Reference under Section 18 of the LA Act was sought, seeking
market value for the acquired lands at the rate of Rs. 20,000/-
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per cent before the Subordinate Court, Madurantagam which
was filed as L.A.O.P. No. 120 of 1998. Learned subordinate
Judge, vide judgment and order dated 27.03.2000, granted
compensation at the rate of Rs. 2,500/- per cent together with
30% solatium and 12% additional amount from the date of
issue of Notification dated 15.09.1993.
(d) Respondent herein, being aggrieved by the judgment and
order dated 27.03.2000, filed A.S. No. 88 of 2001 before the
High Court. Learned single Judge of the High Court, vide
judgment and order dated 06.11.2009 allowed the appeal filed
by the respondent herein by reducing the amount of
compensation granted by learned subordinate Judge from Rs.
2,500/- to Rs. 1,670/- with solatium and other statutory
benefits.
(e) Aggrieved by the judgment and order dated 06.11.2009,
the appellant has filed these appeals by way of special leave
before this Court.
3) Heard Mr. V. Prabhakar, learned counsel for the
appellant. None appeared from the side of the respondent and
perused the records.
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Point for consideration:-
4) Whether in the present facts and circumstances of the
case the decision of the High Court is just and reasonable in
reducing the compensation?
Rival submissions:-
5) Learned counsel for the appellant contended that the
compensation awarded for the acquired lands was grossly
inadequate and abnormally low and does not reflect the
correct market value of the said lands. He further contended
that the market value of the acquired lands at the relevant
time was not less than Rs. 20,000/- per cent. The potential
value of the acquired lands and rise in price were not
considered by the Land Acquisition Officer. Learned counsel
finally contended that the High Court also erred in law while
computing the market value of the lands in question and
interference by this Court is sought for in this regard.
6) It was the stand of the respondent before the courts
below that the entire land belonging to the claimant was not
acquired but a portion of it alone was acquired. The
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remaining portion could be used by the claimant. Further, the
respondent is not entitled to pay compensation for the
unacquired land. It was further the stand of the respondent
that the compensation awarded to the claimant is already on
the higher side as compared to the compensation awarded to
the lands in vicinity and no interference is sought for by this
Court in this regard.
Discussion:-
7) The Government of Tamil Nadu issued a Notification for
the acquisition of dry lands, also known as punja lands, for
the purpose of providing house sites to the people. Certain
punja lands belonged to the appellant herein in Survey Nos.
300/2A2, 300/3, 302/1A, 302/4, 317/1B2, 302/2B2B and
320/2C2 were also part of the said acquisition. In the
proceedings before the Special Tahsildar, a notice inviting
objections was published in the village on 18.10.1993.
Subsequently, in the enquiry under Section 5A of the LA Act,
the appellant herein submitted her objections to the proposed
acquisition and contended inter-alia that her total holdings
were 6.11 acres and out of the same, an extent of 4.63 acres
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had been acquired, thereby, leaving a balance of 1.48 acres
and the same would be rendered useless. Hence, she prayed
that even the said extent also be acquired. However, the
respondent herein affirmed the acquisition only in respect of
4.63 acres of land.
8) An Award enquiry was undertaken by the respondent
wherein appellant herein claimed compensation at the rate of
Rs. 20,000/- per cent for the land acquired. The respondent
herein, on the basis of a sale deed dated 15.04.1993, wherein
an extent of 0.26 acres had been sold in Survey No.
294/A/1-B 16, proceeded to determine the value of the land at
Rs. 400/- per cent. In pursuance of the same, the land
measuring 4.63 acres was awarded a sum of Rs. 1,85,200/-
along with 30% solatium to the tune of Rs. 55,560/- and 12%
additional market value to the tune of Rs. 33,540/- thus
totaling to Rs. 2,74,309/-. However, it was held that no
severance compensation would be payable.
9) Aggrieved by the Award, the appellant sought for a
Reference under Section 18 of the LA Act. The appellant thus
made a Reference to the Court of Additional Subordinate
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Judge, Chengalpattu which was numbered as LAOP No. 54 of
1995. The appellant herein submitted her claim statement on
the file of LAOP No. 54 of 1995 contending that the
compensation awarded by the respondent was grossly
inadequate and abnormally low and did not reflect the correct
market value of the lands and that the correct market value of
the lands acquired was not less than Rs. 20,000/- per cent on
the date of the Notification and that the acquired lands were
situated in the midst of developed areas and is connecting the
major big areas in the vicinity. LAOP No. 54 of 1995, which
was pending on the file of learned Additional Subordinate
Judge, Chengalpattu was transferred to the file of learned
subordinate Judge, Madurantagam and re-numbered as LAOP
No. 120 of 1998. Vide judgment and order dated 27.03.2000,
learned subordinate Judge, granted compensation to the
appellant herein at the rate of Rs. 2,500/- per cent together
with 30% solatium, 12% additional amount from the date of
Notification which was reduced to Rs. 1,670/- per cent with
solatium and other statutory benefits by learned single Judge
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of the High Court in appeal vide judgment and order dated
06.11.2009.
10) Since the acquired lands are situated in different survey
numbers, different quantum of compensation has been
awarded for the lands so acquired. The general principles
which have been followed in assessing the compensation
payable in all these matters are the location of the lands
sought to be acquired, their potential for development, their
proximity to areas which are already developed and the
exorbitant rise in the value of the lands over the years. In
some of the cases, the authorities have taken recourse to the
comparison method in regard to the sale transactions effected
in respect of similar land in the area under the notifications
close to the date of notification by which the lands of the
appellant were acquired. The courts have also taken recourse
to assessing the value of the lands for the purposes of
compensation on a uniform rate in respect of the lands
acquired, making a special concession in respect of the lands
which are close to the roads and national highways where a
certain amount of development had already taken place.
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Therefore, value which has to be assessed is the value to the
owner who parts with his property and not the value to the
new owner who takes it over. Fair and reasonable
compensation means the price of a willing buyer which is to be
paid to the willing seller. Though the Act does not provide for
“just terms” or “just compensation”, but the market value is to
be assessed taking into consideration the use to which it is
being put on acquisition and whether the land has unusual or
unique features or potentialities.
11) Similarly, public purpose is not capable of precise
definition. Each case has to be considered in the light of the
purpose for which acquisition is sought for. It is to serve the
general interest of the community as opposed to the particular
interest of the individual. Public purpose broadly speaking
would include the purpose in which the general interest of the
society as opposed to the particular interest of the individual
is directly and vitally concerned. Generally the executive would
be the best judge to determine whether or not the impugned
purpose is a public purpose. Yet it is not beyond the purview
of judicial scrutiny. The interest of a section of the society may
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be public purpose when it is benefited by the acquisition. The
acquisition in question must indicate that it was towards the
welfare of the people and not to benefit a private individual or
group of individuals joined collectively. Therefore, acquisition
for anything which is not for a public purpose cannot be done
compulsorily.
12) In the case at hand, it is a matter of record that the said
land is fit for using the same for house sites and situated
adjacent to the National highway and is also near to the busy
area with various facilities. During the course of proceeding,
various sale deeds of adjacent lands were brought to our
knowledge. It is also undisputed fact that the entire land
belonging to the appellant herein was not acquired but a
portion of it alone had been acquired. It is the grievance of the
appellant that the acquisition of land to the extent of 4.63
acres out of total holding of 6.11 acres, rendering the balance
land to be an uneconomical holding for the purpose of
continuing agriculture operations. There is no doubt that the
land owners have to suffer when their lands acquired under
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the LA Act. Hence, they must be compensated properly in lieu
of their lands to do proper justice.
13) Since the point of consideration before this Court is
related to the amount of compensation, we confine ourselves
to that point only. Learned subordinate Judge, vide judgment
and order dated 27.03.2000 rightly held as under:-
“….There is a railway track in between the data land and
acquired land. Therefore, while considering on the said
angle, the nature of the acquired land and the data land are
not similar. On considering the plan marked on behalf of
the claimant and on behalf of the respondent i.e. Exh. B-2, it
is evident that acquired lands are situated in between the
national highway and railway track. The acquired lands are
nearer to the National highway. The respondent has
admitted in the cross examination that the acquired lands
are acquired for housing purpose, as it is fit for using as
housing plots. As the acquired lands are fit for housing
purpose, the claimants have relied on sale transactions that
are sold nearer to the acquired land, i.e. Exh. A-1, a sale
deed dated 20.11.1992 relating to land in S.No. 323, under
which 9374 sq ft. of land has been sold for Rs. 1,03,200/- at
the rate of Rs. 4,919/- per cent. Similarly, under the sale
deed dated 22.03.1993, an extent of 8 cents have been sold
for Rs. 39,150/- at the rate of Rs. 4,893/- per cent. Under
Exh. B-3 sale deed dated 09.07.1993 an extent of 3 ½ cents
in S.No. 326/1W2 and 325/1A4A have been sold for Rs.
22,900/- at the rate of Rs. 6,545/- per cent.
14) Learned subordinate Judge, further held as under:-
13) In Exh.B-4, an extent of 2 cents of land in S. No. 123 has
been sold for Rs. 4,752/-. The above sale transactions took
place prior to the notification issued under Section 4(1) but
the said transactions have been considered and rejected by
the respondents. The reason for rejecting Exh. B-3 is that
the land is a house site situated adjacent to the national
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highway. While considering the reason for rejection is
acceptable or not, the respondents themselves have admitted
that the acquired lands are fit to be converted as house sites.
As the acquisition of land is for house sites, the non
acceptance of value of the house site and acceptance of the
value of agricultural land in S.No. 294, is not acceptable.
The sale deeds Exh.A-1 to A-4 submitted on behalf of the
claimant are relating to the lands in S.No. 323, 325 and 326,
situate adjacent to National Highway and the value of those
lands are more than Rs. 4,000/- per cent which has been
accepted by the government itself, as market value while
registering the document. As the government has accepted
Rs. 4,000/- per cent as market value, the valuation for the
acquired land at the rate of Rs. 400/- per cent is very low.
The acquired lands are situated 2 or 3 survey numbers away
from the lands relating to the survey numbers in Exh. A-1 to
A-4. Even though the valuation of the acquired land cannot
be fixed as stated in those sale deeds, it could be fixed to its
potential at the rate of Rs. 2,500/- per cent as compensation
to the claimants.”
15) An assessment of the compensation payable for land
acquired must take into account several factors, including the
nature of the land, its present use and its capacity for a higher
potential, its precise location in relation to adjoining land, the
use to which neighbouring land has been put to use, the
impact of such use on the land acquired, and so on. In the
case at hand, the respondent determined the value of the suit
land based on the sale deed dated 15.04.1993 under which 26
cents in S.No. 294/A/1-B16 had been sold at the rate of Rs.
400/- per cent which has happened five months prior to the
date of acquisition of the suit land and that land has been
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taken as data land. Learned subordinate Judge very correctly
appreciated the fact that there is a railway track between the
data land and the acquired land and in that view of the
matter, both the lands cannot be considered as similar. It is
also evident that the acquired lands are in the midst of a
railway track and national highway having capacity for higher
potential. An extent of land in S.No. 323 which was adjacent
to the suit land was sold at the rate of Rs. 4,919/- per cent on
20.11.1992. Similarly, under the sale deed dated 22.03.1993,
an extent of 8 cents has been sold at the rate of Rs. 4,893/-
per cent. There is no doubt that the lands which are situated
adjacent to the main road will fetch good market value than
the lands which are situated beyond the road. Though learned
single Judge of the High Court was of the opinion that there
was no basis of granting Rs. 2,500/- per cent for the suit
lands, we are of the considered opinion that on the basis of the
alleged sale deeds which were done in the proximity within a
very short time amply prove its value in relation to the
adjoining lands. Learned subordinate Judge was right in
holding the potential value of the suit lands.
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Conclusion:-
16) In view of the above discussion, we do not find any merit
in the order passed by learned single Judge of the High Court.
We set aside the order passed by the High Court dated
06.11.2009 and restore the order passed by the Reference
Court dated 27.03.2000. Consequently, Civil Appeal No. 2294
of 2011 arising out of A.S. No. 88 of 2001 before the High
Court is allowed and Civil Appeal No. 2295 of 2011 arising out
of Cross Objection No. 27 of 2007 before the High Court is
dismissed with no order as to costs.
...…………………………………J.
 (R.K. AGRAWAL)
…………….………………………J.
 (ABHAY MANOHAR SAPRE)
NEW DELHI;
APRIL 16, 2018. 

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