First Appeal No. 615 of 1994 and Civil Application No. 2548 of 1995. Case: The State of Maharashtra Vs Raoji Ragho Dighe. Bombay High Court

Case Number:First Appeal No. 615 of 1994 and Civil Application No. 2548 of 1995
Party Name:The State of Maharashtra Vs Raoji Ragho Dighe
Counsel:For Appellant: Ameet Palkar, A.G.P.
Judges:Dr. Shalini Phansalkar Joshi, J.
Issue:Land Acquisition Act, 1894 - Sections 15, 18, 20, 23, 23(1), 23(1-A), 26(2), 30, 30(1), 31, 34, 4
Judgement Date:May 09, 2017
Court:Bombay High Court
 
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Judgment:

Dr. Shalini Phansalkar Joshi, J.

  1. The challenge in this Appeal is to the Judgment and Order dated 21st February 1992 passed by the Reference Court of Joint District Judge at Nashik, thereby correcting its Award dated 11th September 1984 in Land Reference No. 157 of 1982 and directing the State to pay the interest @ 15% p.a. from 19th February 1992 until the entire compensation amount is paid to the Respondents-Claimants or it is deposited in the Court.

  2. Facts leading to this Appeal may be stated, in brief, as follows:-

    The Appellant - the State of Maharashtra has acquired the lands, bearing Gat No. 160p, admeasuring 0-1; Gat No. 131, admeasuring 2-66 and 2 P.K.; and Gat No. 139, admeasuring 0.42.2 and 3.3 P.K., situate at Village Kone in Nashik, and belonging to the Respondents-Claimants, as per the Notification published on 17th July 1980, under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894. The Special Land Acquisition Officer made the Award. Against the Award passed by the Special Land Acquisition Officer, the Respondents-Claimants made a Reference under Section 18 of the LA Act. The Reference came to be decided by the Joint District Judge, Nashik, and the Award was passed by him on 21st February 1992, thereby enhancing the market value of the lands acquired from the Respondents-Claimants.

  3. Pending this Reference before the Joint District Judge, Nashik, the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 came to be amended by the Amending Act No. 68 of 1984 with effect from 24th September 1984. By the said Amending Act, certain additional benefits were given. By addition of subsection (1-A) to Section 23, additional component at the rate of 12% p.a. of the market value was provided for the first time. Similarly, by way of amendment in sub-section (2) of Section 23, the amount of solatium was increased from 15% to 30%. By making amendment in Section 34, the rate of interest was also increased from 6% to 9% for the first year after taking possession of the land, and 15% beyond the period of one year after taking possession till the payment of compensation amount.

  4. In view of this Amendment Act, the Respondents-Claimants filed Miscellaneous Civil Application No. 527 of 1985, seeking these additional benefits, which were not awarded in the Judgment and Award dated 11th September 1984.

  5. This Miscellaneous Civil Application was opposed on behalf of the Appellant-State. However, after hearing learned counsels for both the parties, the Trial Court was pleased to pass the impugned order dated 21st February 1992, granting additional benefits to the Respondents-Claimants, as per the amended provisions of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894.

  6. This order has been challenged in the present Appeal by the State of Maharashtra. The first and foremost submission advanced by learned A.G.P. is that, as the Reference was already decided, when the Award was passed by the Trial Court on 11th September 1984 itself, the Trial Court had no jurisdiction to entertain the Miscellaneous Civil Application filed by the Respondents-Claimants for grant of additional benefits. Secondly, it is submitted that the order passed by the Trial Court awarding enhanced rate of interest on whole of the compensation amount, i.e. total market value plus additional component plus solatium, cannot be called as legal and valid, as the enhanced rate of interest can be awarded only on the amount of compensation granted by the Court, which was in excess of the compensation awarded and paid by the Collector.

  7. By placing reliance on the Judgment of the Single Bench of this Court, that of State of Maharashtra v. Shyamkant Dattatraya Patil, 2006 (5) Bom.C.R. 739, it is submitted that the Trial Court has committed an error in interpreting the provisions of the Amending Act and thereby granting enhanced rate of interest on the total amount of compensation. According to learned A.G.P., therefore, the impugned order of the learned Trial Court needs to be quashed and set aside.

  8. Though the notice of this Appeal was duly served on the...

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