Civil Appellate Jurisdiction Civil Appeal No. 2213 and 2221-2227 of 2001 and Civil Appeal No. 2214, 2215, 2216-2220 and 2228 of 2001, Civil Appeal Nos. 2090-2101 of 2004. Case: 1. Charan Dass (Dead) through L.Rs., 2. Jai Kishan, 3. Kishan Singh, 4. Basti Ram, 5. Devki Nand, 6. Harpal, 7. Shonkia (Dead) through L.Rs. Vs 1. Himachal Pradesh Housing, 2, Urban Development Authority and Ors.. Supreme Court

Case Number:Civil Appellate Jurisdiction Civil Appeal No. 2213 and 2221-2227 of 2001 and Civil Appeal No. 2214, 2215, 2216-2220 and 2228 of 2001, Civil Appeal Nos. 2090-2101 of 2004
Party Name:1. Charan Dass (Dead) through L.Rs., 2. Jai Kishan, 3. Kishan Singh, 4. Basti Ram, 5. Devki Nand, 6. Harpal, 7. Shonkia (Dead) through L.Rs. Vs 1. Himachal Pradesh Housing, 2, Urban Development Authority and Ors.
Counsel:For Appearing parties: Chandra Prakash Pandey, Naresh K. Sharma, Atul Sharma, Sarojanand Jha, M.A. Chinnasamy and Y. Prabhakara Rao, Advs
Judges:D.K. Jain and Asok Kumar Ganguly, JJ.
Issue:Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (for short 'the Act') - Sections 18, 4, 54, 23, 24
Citation:2010 (1) ALT 13 (SC) , 2009 (4) AWC 3625 (SC) , JT 2009 (11) SC 692 , 2009 (12) SCALE 293, AIR 2009 SCW 6232, 2009 (6) Supreme 648
Judgement Date:September 07, 2009
Court:Supreme Court
 
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Judgment:

D.K. Jain, J.

  1. This batch of appeals arises from the final judgment and order dated 7th June, 1999 rendered by the High Court of Himachal Pradesh at Shimla in twenty Regular First Appeals as also final judgment and order dated 14th August, 2003 delivered by the said High Court in twelve cognate Regular First Appeals wherein the former order has been relied upon. By the impugned order, while allowing the appeal preferred by the Himachal Pradesh Housing Board (hereinafter referred to as "the Housing Board"), the High Court has reduced the amount of compensation awarded by the District Judge in Reference under Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (for short "the Act").

  2. Material facts common to all the appeals and relevant for the purpose of disposal of these appeals, are as follows:-

    The State of Himachal Pradesh, respondent No.2 in Civil Appeal No.2213 of 2001, intended to acquire land of the appellants at Shoghi, about 12 K.M. from the capital of the State at Shimla, for construction of a Housing Board Colony. Accordingly, a Notification under Section 4 of the Act was issued and published in the Himachal Pradesh Gazette on 6th November, 1990. The quality of the lands involved in the acquisition fell in different categories. The Land Acquisition Collector, respondent No.3 herein, by his Award dated 3rd August, 1994 assessed the market value of the acquired land and announced his Award by which compensation at the rate of Rs.32,073/- per Bigha in respect of Bakhal Awal, Rs.24,288/- per Bigha for Bakhal Doem and Rs.7,785/- per Bigha for Ghasani Banjar Kadeem was awarded to the appellants-landowners.

  3. Not being satisfied, the appellants filed Reference Applications before the District Judge under Section 18 of the Act claiming compensation at Rs.22,00,000/- per Bigha, inter alia, on the ground that the market value of the acquired land was much more than what was awarded by respondent No.3. Vide his order dated 22nd June, 1996, the District Judge found the evidence adduced by the appellants (Exts. PW2/B and PW2/A) to be reliable. However, he found the exemplars filed by the Housing Board (RW3/A and RX), to be irrelevant for ascertaining the market value of the lands. Accordingly, he determined the market value of the acquired land at Rs.2 lakh per Bigha for all kinds of lands irrespective of their quality and classification. In addition thereto, the District Judge awarded Statutory interest and solatium to the appellants. Similarly, vide his order dated 22nd March, 1997, the District Judge again found the evidence adduced by the appellants in the form of two sale deeds to be reliable. Accordingly, relying on his earlier order dated 22nd June, 1996 (Ex.PZ), he awarded the same compensation to the appellants.

  4. Being aggrieved with the amount of compensation determined by the District Judge, the Housing Board preferred Regular First Appeals to the High Court under Section 54 of the Act, praying for setting aside the judgments of the District Judge dated 22nd June, 1996 and 22nd March, 1997. The challenge to the said judgments was on diverse grounds, including that the two sale deeds relied upon by the District Judge pertained to two very small pieces of land having a double storied shop; one sale instance was in respect of one biswa of land sold four months after Notification under Section 4 in the present case; the evidence of Gursaran, one of the claimants, who had appeared to prove the sale deed in respect of the land with a double storied shop lacked truthfulness and in some references the compensation awarded was in excess of the land owned by the claimants.

  5. Vide order dated 7th June, 1999, the High Court accepted the appeals filed by the Housing Board. Relying on the decisions of this Court in Special Tehsildar Land Acquisition, Vishakapatnam vs. A. Mangala Gowri (Smt.), Special Deputy Collector and Anr. vs. Kurra Sambasiva Rao and Ors. and Manipur Tea Co. Pvt. Ltd. vs. Collector of Hailakandi, wherein broad parameters, to be kept in view while determining the market value of the land acquired for public purpose have been laid down, the High Court concluded that as compared to the sale instances relied upon by the appellants viz., Ext. PW2/B and Ext. PW2/A, the sale deeds filed by the Housing Board viz., RW3A (again marked as RW5A), RW4A and RX were relevant exemplars for ascertaining the market value of the land in question. The High Court observed as follows:-

    ...we find on record in these cases that there are only three relevant sale deeds which are marked Exhibits PW2/A, PW2/B, RX and RY. Sale deed Ex.PW2/B is dated 22.1.1990 in respect of which vendee PW-Gursaran (RW5) has been examined by both the parties who is also one of the claimants in the claim petitions. He purchased 2 biswas of land from Piara Singh on 22.1.1990 for a consideration of Rs.99,500/-. On this land there was a double storeyed shop. This witness also purchased another piece of 0-1 biswas of land through sale deed Ex.PW2/A, for a consideration of Rs.30,000/- from Satish Balooni and the value of this land comes to Rs.6 lacs per bigha. The second sale deed was executed after notification issued on 6.11.1990 and, therefore, the market value of that sale deed cannot be taken into consideration for determination of the acquired land. The three sale deeds relied upon by the appellant-Board are marked RX, RW3/A, again...

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