Civil Revision Petition No. 67/2015. Case: The Union of India Vs Shetal Biswas and Ors.. Tripura High Court

Case NumberCivil Revision Petition No. 67/2015
Party NameThe Union of India Vs Shetal Biswas and Ors.
CounselFor Appellant: A. Lodh and K. Karmakar, Advocates and For Respondents: S. Deb, Sr. Advocate and P. Deb Paul, Advocate
JudgesT. Vaiphei, C.J.
IssueConstitution Of India - Article 227; Land Acquisition Act, 1894 - Sections 11, 18, 23, 23(1), 23(1-A), 23(2), 28, 31, 31(2), 34, 4, 6
Judgement DateDecember 09, 2016
CourtTripura High Court

Judgment:

T. Vaiphei, C.J., (At Agartala)

1. The sole question which falls for consideration in this revision petition under Article 227 of the constitution of India is whether the interest payable to a landowner under Section 34 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 will also be admissible to the solatium awarded under Section 23(2) of the Act in consideration of the compulsory nature of the acquisition?

2. The controversy arose when the land of the claimant-respondents measuring 1.98 acres covered by C.S. Plot No. 3824, 3832 & 3841 under Khatian No. 1624 of Mouza D.C. Nagar, Sadar Sub-Division was acquired by the State Government for the purpose of "Army Project". According to the petitioner, after completing the land acquisition proceeding, the Land Acquisition Collector, West Tripura awarded a compensation @ ` 16,000/- per acre for Viti land, @ ` 19,000/- per acre in respect of bastu land and @ ` 12,500/- per acre for tilla land. Dissatisfied with the quantum of compensation so awarded, the claimant-respondents sought for, and were allowed a reference before the Land Acquisition Judge, Agartala under Section 18 of the Act for enhancement of the award. However, the LA Judge ultimately dismissed the reference by the judgment dated 22-6-1993. This prompted the claimant-respondents to prefer an appeal before this Court being First Appeal No. 26 of 1993. This Court by the judgment dated 20-7-2001 enhanced the awarded amount to ` 30,000/- per acre for all categories of the acquired lands together with interest @ 9% per annum for the first year and 15% per annum on the market value of the land. This Court also held that the claimant-respondents were entitled to solatium @ 30% on the market value of the land. It is the contention of the petitioner-authorities that Executing Court had calculated the land value after taking into consideration the interest on solatium from the date of possession of the lands, which is impermissible. Aggrieved by this, this revision petition is now preferred by the petitioner under Article 227 of the Constitution.

3. The main contention of Mr. A. Lodh, the learned counsel for the petitioner is that the claimant-respondents are not entitled to interest under Section 34 of the Act with respect to the solatium awarded under Section 23(2) of the Act and that even if such a claim is ultimately held to be admissible under the law, such interest cannot be paid prior to 19-9-2001 in the light of the judgment in Sunder v. Union of India, (2001) 7 SCC 211 as construed by the Apex Court in Gurpeet Singh v. Union of India, (2006) 8 SCC 457 and can be paid only with effect from 19-9-2001. He strenuously urges this Court to modify the impugned judgment to the extent indicated above. On the other hand, Mr. S. Dev, the learned senior counsel for the claimant-respondents, supports the impugned judgment and submits that interest on solatium has been held to be payable under Section 34 of the Act in terms of the judgment of the Apex court in Sunder case (supra).

4. For better appreciation of the controversy, it will be beneficial to refer to the provisions of Sections 23 and 34 of the Act, which read thus:

"23. Matters to be considered in determining compensation.--(1) In determining the amount of compensation to be awarded for land acquired under this Act, the Court shall take into consideration--

first, the market-value of the land at the date of the publication of the notification under Section 4, sub-section (1);

secondly, the damage sustained by the person interested, by reason of the taking of any standing crops or trees which...

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