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Mathura Prasad Rajgharia and Ors. Versus State of West Bengal

1970 (10) TMI 79 - SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

Civil Appeal No. 2194 of 1966 - Dated:- 27-10-1970 - A.N. Grover, J.C. Shah and K.S. Hegde For the Appellant/Petitioner/Plaintiff: M.C. Chagla, Sr. Adv. and D.N. Mukherjee, Adv For the Respondents/Defendant: S.V. Gupte Sr. Adv., and S.C. Majumdar, Adv. JUDGMENT J.C. Shah, J. 1. An area of land known as "premises No. 104" Narkeldanga Main Road, in the town of Calcutta admeasuring 39 bighas and 19 cottahs (63980 sq. yards) was notified for acquisition under Section 4 of the Land Acquisit .....

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ition Act awarded ₹ 10,38,700/- as compensation for the land, and ₹ 800/- for trees. The amount of compensation awarded (inclusive of the statutory solatium of 15% under Section 23(2) of the Land Acquisition Act) was ₹ 11,95,425/-. 3. The appellants applied for a reference under Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act as amended by the Calcutta Improvement Act, 1911. The reference was heard by the Calcutta Improvement. Tribunal. The Tribunal enhanced the amount of compensation b .....

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mpensation for the land was determined under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, as modified by the Calcutta Improvement Act, 1911. By the Calcutta Improvement Act, certain modifications are made in the Land Acquisition Act, 1894. Section 69 of the Calcutta Improvement Act, 1911, provides: The Board (Improvement Trust Board) may, with the previous sanction of the State Government acquire land under the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, for carrying out any of the purposes of this Act&quo .....

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er the said Act; (b) the said Act shall be subject to the further modifications indicated in the Schedule; (c)x x x (d) the award of the Tribunal shall be deemed to be the award of the Court under the said Land Acquisition Act, 1894, and shall, subject to the provisions of Section 77-A, be final Section 72 provides for the Constitution of a Tribunal. The Tribunal consists of the President and two assessors. The section further provides for the qualifications of the President and the two assessor .....

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(i) the decision being contrary to law or to some usage having the force of law; (ii) the decision having failed to determine some material issue of law or usage having the force of law; (iii) a substantial error or defect in the procedure provided by the said Act which may possibly have produced error or defect in the decision of the case upon the merits. X X X X X X The Schedule to the Act sets out the modifications in the Land Acquisition Act, 1894. At the relevant time, by Rule 9 of the Sche .....

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otified for acquisition to ensure improved facilities in respect of the area covered by Improvement Scheme No. VI (Manicktola) of the Calcutta Improvement Trust. For improving the area contiguous to the area sought to be acquired in these proceedings, Scheme No. IV-M was undertaken in 1941 by the Improvement Trust. The boundary of Scheme No. IV-M included a portion of premises No. 104, Narkeldanga Main Road. For the purpose of that scheme some lands covered by the scheme were notified for acquis .....

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rst belt was of a depth of 100 feet, and the second belt was of a depth of 150 feet. The remaining area was taken as the third belt of the land having frontage on the Narkeldanga Main Road. The land was accordingly laid out into five belts - three out of the land on the Narkeldanga Main Road, and two out of land on the Kankurgachi Road. According to the accepted practice, the price of the second belt was taken at 75% of the price per cottah of the land in the first belt, and the land of the thir .....

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n Road. Relying upon that evidence the Tribunal held that the market value of the first belt on the Narkeldanga Main Road was ₹ 1,500/- per cottah in September 1941, and that there was, between the years 1941 and 1947, 80% appreciation in the value of the land. The Tribunal also held that since Scheme No. IV-M had been in operation in the vicinity of "premises No. 104" and that two supplementary schemes Nos. IV-M1 and IV-M2 had come into operation, an additional allowance of 25% .....

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42 - which is an award made by the Collector in a land acquisition proceeding in respect of land premises No. 31, Kankurgachi Road, and on that basis valued the land of the front belt at ₹ 2,703/-. Premises No. 31 was within Scheme No. VI-M and was notified for acquisition under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, on August 1, 1946. The date of the declaration under Section 6 was June 12, 1947. The Collector allowed in respect of premises No. 31, compensation at ₹ 2,703/- per cot .....

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8377; 2,87,000/-, and adding thereto the price of the front belt on Narkeldanga Main Road at ₹ 3,400/- and the rear belts at 75% and 50% which worked out at ₹ 11,80,750/-, the total amount determined by the Tribunal was ₹ 14,77,650/-, but since a very large area of land was acquired, the Tribunal was of the view that a deduction of 12 1/2% of the aggregate value should be made. Accordingly the Tribunal determined the compensation at ₹ 12,92,940/- for the land under acquis .....

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;artificial method" of determining the value of the land having a frontage on the Narkeldanga Main Road by first adding 80% to the value prevailing in 1941 and then adding to the value so determined an additional 25% in consequence of the operation of Schemes Nos. IV-M1 and IV-M2, and then adding thereto 1% for "vista"; and (3) that the valuation under the Calcutta Improvement Act, 1911, is to be made according to the "disposition" of the land at the date of the publicat .....

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as modified by the Calcutta Improvement Act, 1911. The modifications which have a bearing are - (1) that the market value of the land is to be deemed the market value according to the disposition of the land at the date of the publication of the declaration relating thereto under Section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894; and (2) that an appeal lies against the order of the Tribunal only on questions mentioned in Section 77A of the Calcutta Improvement Act, 1911. In the view of the High Court .....

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asis of what the value actually is but on the basis of what the value must be deemed to be and in considering that we have to take into account the disposition of the land. The word 'disposition' means how the land could be disposed of at that time. It does not mean the existing use of the lands but mean its disposing power 'with the arrangement as it was on that date'." The expression "market value according to the disposition of the land" apparently means the val .....

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potentiality in the light of the demand for land. We, however, do not think it necessary to dilate upon this question further, because, in our view, the award made by the High Court reducing the amount awarded by the Tribunal' cannot be justified on the evidence on 'the record, and the law applicable thereto. We accede to the request of Mr. Gupte appearing on behalf of the State of West Bengal not to express our opinion on the meaning of the expression "disposition of the land" .....

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he lands which have no such frontage. No objection was raised before us against the adoption of "the method of belting". It was also accepted that of the land under acquisition the front belt would be 100 feet deep; the second belt 150 ft. deep and the rest may be included in the third belt. No objection was again raised to the opinion of the Tribunal that the price of the second belt should be taken at 75% per cottah of the value of the land per cottah in the first belt; and the price .....

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including the operation of the two Schemes IVM1 and IV-M2, and the Tribunal was in error in considering separately the effect of "different factors" which contributed to wards the rise. On that hypothesis the High Court held that in determining the market value of the Narkeldanga Main Road belts the additional 25% awarded for the application of Schemes Nos. IV-M1 and IV-M2 should be disallowed. for that addition was based on no legal principle, but on speculation without any basis for .....

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e influx of refugees from East Pakistan. It was found by the Tribunal that as a result of the inter-action of these events there was between 1941 and 1947 a rise of 80% in the value of the land. This, the High Court called, the increase in the price of the land on account of the "time factor". This 80% increase was not restricted to the area which was served by the improvement schemes. In the view of the Tribunal there was a general rise in the price level of the land all over the town .....

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as a rise of 80%, for the lands served by the supplementary schemes the rise would be appreciably higher because of the better amenities available as a result of those two schemes. The finding of the Tribunal that the rise of 80% in the value of the lands in the town of Calcutta between 1941 and 1947 was a finding on a question of fact, was accepted by the High Court, as it was bound to accept in an appeal under the Act. The High Court was also bound to accept the finding of the Tribunal that th .....

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y acquired. It would certainly have been more consonant with principle if the Tribunal had instead of bifurcating the appreciation into 80% on account of the general conditions and 25% on the aggregate on account of the special conditions adopted a composite increase. But we are unable to agree that the valuation of the improvements resulting from Schemes Nos. IV-M1 and IV-M2 was "completely artificial and speculative". We do not again agree with the High Court that the valuation was n .....

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ying out or altering streets, providing open spaces of ventilation or recreation, demolishing or constructing buildings, clearing bustees, executing housing schemes and schemes for the rehousing of persons displaced by the execution of improvement schemes. The object of the Act was to secure improvement of the town by opening up congested areas and making available amenities such as wider roads, underground drainage, parks and other urban facilities. The locality of the Narkeldanga Main Road and .....

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o reasons for assuming that the increase in the price of lands served by the improvement schemes and not served by the schemes will be the same. In effect the High Court discarded, without assigning any reasons, the appreciation resulting from the application of the improvement schemes. 17. The Tribunal is a statutory body consisting of an expert in valuation with whom are associated assessee Ors. In determining the value of the lands, inter-play of various factors has to be taken into account. .....

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t in interfering with the conclusion of the Tribunal. The valuation of the land by the Tribunal on the basis that the front belt on the Narkeldanga Main Road should be valued at ₹ 3,400/- and adjustments should be made in respect of the rear two belts, and the overall value should be reduced by 12 1/2 % on the ground that a large area of land was acquired, must be accepted as correct. 18. The first belt of the land on the Kankurgachi Road was valued on the basis of Ext. 42 which was an awa .....

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ctor of Aligarh the Land Acquisition Officer in awarding the amount of compensation under Section 11 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, is performing a statutory duty, and in assessing compensation he is bound to exercise his judgment as to the correct basis of valuation, and his judgment cannot be controlled by an agreement between the parties interested. It appears, however, that in Ext. 42 the Collector was not guided solely by the agreement between the claimant and the Improvement Trust Boar .....

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mprovement Trust. The Improvement Trust is a statutory body, exercise of the power of which is controlled by the provisions of the Act. Even granting that the order made by the Collector pursuant to the agreement between the Board and the claimant be not regarded as an award, the order made by consent furnished good and cogent evidence of an agreement to purchase property at its market value at the date of the declaration under Section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act. Even if an order made by the .....

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d under acquisition. The Tribunal was of the view that a completed contract between the claimant and the Board was a good and sufficient evidence of the price of land. The Collector accepted the agreement and made an award on the basis thereof. It would require strong and cogent reasons to displace the value of the evidence furnished by the order. The award cannot be said to be "null and void". The Tribunal accepted the award and on the basis at that award determined the value of the a .....

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