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Union of India & Anr Vs. Zora Singh [1991] INSC 305 (22 November 1991)

Kania, M.H. Kania, M.H. Misra, Rangnath (Cj) Kuldip Singh (J)

CITATION: 1991 SCR Supl. (2) 478 1992 SCC (1) 673 JT 1991 (4) 538 1991 SCALE (2)1128

ACT:

Land Acquisition Act, 1894--Section 23(1-A)--Benefit under--Entitlement of Land Acquisition Act, 1894--Section 23(1-A) "Award"---Construction--"Award" whether `decree ', "Court" whether "Collector ".

Land Acquisition Act, 1894--Section 23(1-A) read with Section 30(1)(a) of the Land Acquisition Amendment Act, 1984--Applicability of.

HEAD NOTE:

The lands of the respondent and other land owners were acquired under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894.

Notifications under sections 4 and 6 of the Act were published on 10.5.1979 and 27.3.1981 respectively.

The respondent and other land owners filed Reference Applications u/s 18 of the Act against the award before the District Judge.

The District Judge classifying the acquired land into various grades awarded compensation and also granted bene- fits u/s 23(1-A) of the Act to the respondent and other land Owners. Hence, the State appealed to the High Court.

Those land-owners, who were not satisfied with the compensation awarded and those to whom benefit u/s 23(1-A) were not granted, also appealed to the High Court.

The Single Judge of the High Court confirmed the grant of benefits u/s 23(1-A) of the Act and also granted such benefits to those cases, where such benefits were not given by the District Judge.

The State preferred the Letters Patent Appeals before the Division Bench of the High Court, contending that the respondent and 479 other land owners were not entitled to the benefit of sec- tion 23(1-A) of the Act; that the section 23(1-A) was intro- duced by the Land Acquisition(Amendment) Act, 1984; that as the Collector had made his award on 31.3.1981 the provisions of section 23(1-A) of the Act was not applicable to the cases of the respondent and other land owners.

The Division Bench of the High Court dismissed the Letters Patent Appeals of the State. Hence the present appeals by special leave were filed by the State before this Court.

The parties before this Court made the same submissions which were made before the High Court.

Dismissing the appeal, (CA No.4568 of 1991) this Court,

HELD: 1. A perusal of the provisions of sub-section(1-A) of section 23 makes it clear that the said sub-section deals with substantive rights and it confers a substantive right to claim the additional amount calculated as set out in the said sub-section in the circumstances set out therein. Similarly, sub-section(2) of Section 23 also confers a substantive right on the claimant to a higher solatium. [486 E-F]

2. The provisions of the Act, being substantive in nature, can have only prospective application unless the language in which the provisions are couched, read in the context, shows that the intention of the legislature was to give retrospective effect to them. The language of sub- section(1-A) of section 23 shows that a duty is cast on the court to award an amount calculated as stated therein in addition to the market value of the land acquired for the period commencing from the date of the publication of sec- tion 4 of the Notification to the date of the award of the Collector or the date of taking possession, whichever is earlier. [486 F-G]

3. The expression "award" used in section 23(1-A) suggests that the intention of the legislature was to make the provisions of the said sub-section applicable to cases where the Collector had yet to make his award or the Trial Court hearing the Reference under Section 18 of the Land acquisition Act has still to make its award after the coming into force of the said sub-section on September 30, 1984. [486 H-487 A] 480

4. The expression "award" is to be distinguished from the expression "decree" and hence, it appears that in the absence of any contrary or inconsistent provision in the Act the provisions of subsection(1-A) of section 23 would not come into play where the awards had been made by the Collec- tor earlier as well as by the Reference Court but on the date of coming into effect of the said sub-section, an appeal from the said award might have been pending in a court. In that case, the court would not be "awarding" any amount but would be making a "decree" for an amount. [487 B-C]

5. By reason of the provision of section 30(1)(a) of the Amendment Act of 1984 the provisions of section 23(1-A) of the Act were, by a deeming provision, made also applica- ble to every proceeding for the acquisition of land under the Act where the Collector had not made his award by.April, 30,1982. On a correct interpretation of the provisions of section 23(1-A) read with section 30(1)(a) of the Amendment Act of 1984, an additional amount calculated in the manner indicated in section 23(1-A) is also payable in those cases where the Collector had not made his award on or before April 30,1982, but the Court might have made its award before September 24,1984. [487 D-E]

6. The construction that is being given to the provi- sions of section 23(1-A) and section 30(1)(a) will, in a sense, limit the benefits strictly conferred by section 30(1)(a) to only those cases, where the Collector as well as the Court have made their respective awards between April 30,1982 and September 24, 1984. That cannot be helped, as that is the result of the plain grammatical construction of the clear language used in the relevant provisions. [487 E- F]

7. The Court would not be justified in giving an unduly restricted meaning to the provisions of section 23(1-A) unwarranted by the plain language of the sub-section. [487 F]

8. Section 23(1-A) refers clearly to the duties of the court. The court is defined by section 3(d) as the principal court of original jurisdiction, except in the circumstances set out in the said subsection, which would be the court having jurisdiction to decide the reference under section 18 of the Act. There, is therefore, no warrant to read in the place of the word "Court" in Section 23(1-A) the word "Collector". Moreover, the decision of such a court deter- mining compensation is regarded as an award under the Act.

In the light of the provisions, there is no warrant to give an unduly restricted meaning to section 23(1-A) of the Act. [487 G-488 A] 481

9. On the plain language of section 23(1-A) itself, the duty was cast on the court to award an additional amount calculated as prescribed therein which would mean that such amount is directed to be awarded by the court, namely, the Reference court, in all cases which are pending before that court on September 1, 1984. Sub-section (1)(a) of Section 30 lays down that the provisions of section 23(1-A) of the Act are also made applicable to all proceedings for the acquisi- tion of any land under the said Act pending on April 30,1982, where no award had been made by the Collector before that date. At first glance this would appear to suggest that the additional amount referred to in section 23(1-A) could not be awarded where the Collector had made his award before April 30,1982. But this provision cannot be allowed to cut down the benefits available to the claimants on a plain reading of section 23(t-A). This is clear from the use of the word "also" in the opening part of section 30(1). [489 E-H]

10. In the present case as the Reference court has made its award after September 24,1984 the benefit of the provi- sions of Section 23(1-A) was clearly available to the claim- ant. [491 D] Jaiwant Laxman P.Sardesai etc. v. Government of Goa, Daman and Diu and Another etc., AIR 1987 Bombay 214(F.B.) and Union of India & Others v. Filip Tiago De Gama of lied- era Vasco De Gains, [1990] 1 SCC 277, overruled..

State of Punjab v. Krishan Lal, AIR 1987 Punjab and Haryana 222(F.B.); and Maya Devi and Others v. The Union Territory of Chandigarh, 1988 Punjab Law Journal 189, ap- proved.

Union of India and ,Another etc. v. Raghuvir Singh (dead) by Lrs. etc., [1989] 2 SCC 754; K. Kamala Jammannia- varu v. Special Land Acquisition Officer, [1985] I SCC 582 and Bhag Singh v. Union Territory of Chandigarh, [1985] 3 SCC 737, referred to.

CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Civil Appeal No. 4568 of 1991.

From the Judgment and Order dated 30.1.89 of the Punjab & Haryana High Court in LPA No. 1251 of 1987.

WITH CA Nos 4569 - 4686/91 482 M. Chandra Sekhar, Additional Solicitor General, G.L. Sanghi, Hatbans Lal, Har Dev Singh, S.P. Goyal, Harinder Pal Singh, Ms. Naresh Bakshi, S.M. Sarin, P.N. Puff, M.K. Dua, Ms. Madhu Moolchandani, Manoj Swamp, Dr.(Ms.) Meera Agarwal, R.C. Mishra, M.N. Krislmamam, K.P. Sunder Rao, Attar Singh, S.N. Terdal, Hemant Sharma, T.C. Sharma, N.D. Garg, Ms. Kusum Chowdhary and S.P. Sarin for the appearing parties.

The Judgment of the Court was delivered by KANIA, J. Leave granted.

Counsel heard. As the controversy before us is a limited one and relates only to the question of granting of benefit of the provisions of Section 23(1-A) introduced into the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (hereinafter referred to as "the said Act") by the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Act, 1984, (referred to hereinafter as "the Amendment Act of 1984") only a few facts are necessary for the appreciation of the submissions made before us.

This appeal, arising out of S.L.P. (Civil) No, 14297 of 1990 by Special Leave, is directed against the judgment of a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in Letters Patent Appeal No.1251 of 1987. The other appeals before us are connected appeals filed by the Union of India or the claimants. The respondent was the owner of a piece of land in one of the villages in District Bhatinda in Punjab.

Land admeasuring 74375 acres situated in various villages in Bhatinda District including the land of the respondent was acquired by the appellants under the said Act.

The Notifications under Sections 4 and 6 of the said Act were published on May 10,1979 and March 27, 1981, re- spectively. The Special Land Collector made and declared his award of compensation in respect of the acquisition of the said land and several other plots of land on March 31,1981.

Being aggrieved by the said award, the respondent and other landowners filed Reference applications under Section 18 of the said Act which were decided by the learned District Judge concerned in 1985 and 1986. The land acquired was classified into various grades and compensation awarded accordingly. In the case before us and several other similar cases the benefits under Section 23(1-A) of the said Act were granted to the land-owners. The State appealed to the High Court. In several other cases where the land owners were not satisfied with the compensation awarded, including the cases where the benefits conferred by Section 23(1-A) were not awarded the land owners filed appeals before the High Court.

483 What is relevant for our purpose is that a learned Single Judge of the High Court confirmed the grant of bene- fits under Section 23(1-A)of the said Act where such bene- fits had been granted by the learned District Judge and awarded the same where that had not been done by the learned District Judge. Letters Patent Appeals were filed by the State being dissatisfied with the judgment of the learned Single Judge.

It was submitted on behalf of the Union of India before the Division Bench deciding the Letters Patent Ap- peals that the claimants/land owners were not entitled to the benefit of Section 23(1-A) of the said Act introduced by the said Amendment Act, 1984 as aforestated. It was submit- ted on behalf of the appellants that the right to get addi- tional amount at the rate of 12% per annum on the enhanced amount of compensation from the date of Notification under Section 4 of the said Act and till the date of the award of the Collector or the date of taking possession whichever is earlier conferred under the provisions of Section 23(1-A) of the said Act was available only in cases where the Collector made his award after 30th day of April, 1982, being the date of the introduction of the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill, 1982 in the House of the People, whereas in the present case, the Collector had made his award on March 31, 1981. Reliance was placed on the Judgment of a Full Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in State of Punjab v. Krishan Lal, AIR (1987) Punjab and Haryana, 222. The Divi- sion Bench repelled this contention and pointed out that the learned Chief Justice H.N. Seth, who spoke for the Full Bench in Krishan Lal's case (supra) had explained that judgment in the subsequent decision rendered in Maya Devi and Others v. The Union Territory of Chandigarh, Punjab Law Journal (1988) 189. and pointed out that the land owner was entitled to the additional amount in terms of Section 23(1- A) of the Amendment Act of 1984 if the proceedings for determination of compensation were decided after September 24, 1984, and since the Regular First Appeal in respect of the proceedings for determination of the compensation was decided after September 24, 1984, the Court while adjudi- cating upon the amount of compensation payable to the claim- ant was bound to grant the additional amount in terms of Section 23(1-A) of the said Act. The Division Bench in its impugned judgment gave to the claimant the benefit of the added amount referred to in Section 23(1-A) of the said Act. The same submissions have been made on behalf of the respective parties before us.

Before discussing the submissions of the respective parties, it would not be out of place to set out the rele- vant provisions of the said Act.

The said Act, namely, the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, provides for compulsory acquisition of land. The term 'Award' has not been defined in 484 the said Act. Sub-clause (d) of Section 3, the definition section, defines the expression 'Court' as follows:

"(d)the expression 'Court' means a principal Civil Court of original jurisdiction, unless the appropriate Government has appointed, as it is hereby empowered to do, a special judi- cial officer within any specified local limits to perform the function of the Court under this Act.' Part II of the said Act deals with the question of acquisition of land. Section 11 of the said Act deals with the enquiry and award of compensation by the Collector.

Section 11-A which was introduced into the said Act by the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Act, 1984 (Act No.68 of 1984) provides for the period within which the award shall be made. Generally speaking, it prescribes that the period for making the award is limited to two years, and the section provides that, if the award is not made within that period, the entire proceedings for acquisition of land shall lapse.

There is a proviso to the said section and an Explanation, but it is not necessary to consider the same for the purpose of this case. Sub-section (1) of Section 18 which is includ- ed in Part III of the said Act runs as follows:

"18. Reference to Court- (1) Any person interested who has not accepted the award may, by written application to the Collector, require that the matter be referred by the Collector for the determina- tion of the Court, whether his objection be to the measurement of the land, the amount of compensation, the person to whom it is pay- able, or the apportionment of the compensation among the persons interested." Section 23 deals with the matters to be considered by the Court for determining the compensation to be awarded for the land acquired under the said Act. We may mention here that under the general scheme of the said Act, the landowner whose land has been acquired is entitled to be paid the market-value of the land acquired as prevailing at the time of the publication of the notification under Section 4 issued together with the solatium at the prescribed rate in consideration of the compulsory nature of the acquisition.

Prior to the coming into effect of the Amendment Act of 1984 solatium was fixed at the rate of 15 per centum. Sub-section (1-A) which was introduced into Section 23 of the said Act by the Amendment Act of 1984 runs as follows:

"In addition to the market value of the land, as above provided, the Court shall in every case award an amount calcu- 485 lated at the rate of twelve per centum per annum on such market-value for the period commencing on and from the date of the publi- cation of the notification under Section 4, subsection (1), in respect of such land to the date of the award of the Collector or the date of taking possession of the land, whichever is earlier." By the said Amendment Act of 1984 the expression "thirty per centum" was substituted in place of the expression "fifteen per centum" in sub-section (2) of Section 23 of the said Act. Sub-section (2) of Section 23 now runs as follows:

"(2) In addition to the market-value of the land, as above provided, the Court shall in every case award a sum of thirty per centum on such market-value, in consideration of the compulsory nature of the acquisition." .lmo These amendments were effected in the Land Acquisition Act (the said Act) by the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Act, 1984, ("the Amendment Act of 1984") as set out earlier.

Sub-sections (1) and (2) of Section 30 of the Amendment Act of 1984 run as follows:

"30 Transitional Provisions:

(1) The provisions of sub-section (1-A) of Section 23 of the principal Act, as inserted by Clause (a) of Section 15 of this Act, shall apply, and shall be deemed to have applied, also to, and in relation to, (a) every proceedings for the acquisition of any land under the principal Act pending on the 30th day of April, 1982 the date of intro- duction of the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill, 1982, in the House of the People, in which no award has been made by the Collector before that date;

(b) every proceeding for the acquisition of any land under the principal Act commenced after that date, whether or not an award has been made by the Collector before the com- mencement of this Act.

(2) The provisions of sub-section (2) of Section 23 and Section 28 of the principal Act, as amended by Clause (b) of Section 15 and Section 18 of this Act respectively shall apply, and shall be deemed to have applied, also to, and in relation to, any award made by the Collector or Court or to any order passed by the High Court or Supreme Court in appeal against 486 any such award under the provisions of the principal Act later the 30th day of April, 1982, the date of introduction of the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill. 1982, in the House of the People and before the commence- ment of this Act." (emphasis supplied by us) On behalf of the appellants reliance was placed by learned Counsel on the decision of this Court in Union of India and Others v. Filip Tiago De Gama of Vedem Vasco De Gama, [1990] 1 SCC 277. The respondent, on the other hand, placed strong reliance on the decision of a Full Bench of the Bombay High Court in Jaiwant Laxman P. Sardesai and etc.

v. Government of Goa, Daman Diu and Another etc, AIR 1987 Bombay 214. On the basis of the aforesaid judgment of the Bombay High Court it was submitted by the respondent/claim- ant that a wide and liberal interpretation should be given to the provisions of sub-section (1-A) of section 23 and the amount calculated as set out in the said sub-section awarded in all cases where any proceeding was pending in any court including the High Court or this Court in connection with the determination of compensation for the land acquired. We may mention that both the parties referred us to the deci- sion of a Constitution Bench of this Court in Union of India and Another etc:. v. Raghuvir Singh (dead) by Lrs etc, [1989] 2 SCC 754. We propose to discuss these decisions a little later but before doing so, we propose to analyse the relevant provisions of the said Act and the effect thereof.

A perusal of the provisions of sub-section (1-A) of Section 23 makes it clear that the said sub-section deals with substantive rights and it confers a substantive right to claim the additional amount calculated as set out in the said sub-section in the circumstances set out therein.

Similarly, sub-section (2) of Section 23 also confers a substantive right on the claimant to a higher solatium.

Under the well-settled rules of interpretation, the said provisions of the said Act, being substantive in nature, can have only prospective application unless the language in which the provisions are couched, read in the context, shows that the intention of the legislature was to give retrospec- tive effect to them. The language of sub-section (lA) of Section 23 shows that a duty is cast on the court tO award an amount calculated as stated therein in addition to the market value of the land acquired for the period commencing from the date of the publication of the Section 4 Notifica- tion to the date of the award of the Collector or the date of taking possession, whichever is earlier.

(Emphasis supplied) The expression "award" used in section 23 (I-A) suggests that the 487 intention of the legislature was to make the provisions of the said subsection applicable to cases where the Collector had yet to make his award or the Trial Court heating the Reference under Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act had still to make its award after the coming into force of the said sub-section on September 30, 1984. The expression "award" is to be distinguished from the expression "decree" and hence, it appears that in the absence of any contrary or inconsistent provision in the said Act the provisions of sub-section would not come into play where the award had been made by the Collector earlier as well as by the Refer- ence Court but ton the date of coming into effect of the said sub-section, an appeal from the said award might have been pending in a court. In that case, the Court would not be "awarding" any amount but would be making a "decree" for an amount.

By reason of the provision of section 30(1)(a) of the Amendment Act of 1984 the provisions of section 23(1-A) of the said Act were, by a deeming provision, made also ap- plicable to every proceeding for the acquisition of land under the said Act where the Collector had not made his award by April 30,1982. On a correct interpretation of the provisions of section 23 (1-A) read with section 30(1)(a) of the Amendment Act of 1984, an additional amount calculated in the manner indicated in section 23(1-A) is also payable in those cases where the Collector had not made his award on or before April 30, 1982, even in cases where the court might have made its award before September 24, 1984.

It is true that the aforesaid construction we are giving to the provisions of Section 23(1-A) and Section 30(1)(a) will, in a sense, limit the benefits strictly conferred by Section 30(1)(a) to only those cases where the Collector as well as the Court have made their respective awards between April 30, 1982 and September 24, 1984 but, in our view, that cannot be helped as that is the result of the plain grammatical construction of the clear language used in the relevant provisions. We are of the opinion that we would not be justified in giving an unduly restricted meaning to the provisions of Section 23(1-A) unwarranted by the plain language of that sub-section as appears to have been done in the case of Union of India and Others v. Filip Tiago De Gama of Vedem Vasco De Gama discussed more particularly hereinaf- ter, in order to give a wider meaning of the provisions of Section 30(1)(a). Section 23(1-A) refers clearly to the duties of the Court. As we have already pointed out, the court is defined by Section 3(d) as the principal court of original jurisdiction, except in the circumstances set out in the said sub-section, which would be the court having jurisdiction to decide the reference under Section 18 of the said Act. There, is therefore, no warrant to read in the place of the word 488 "Court" in Section 23(1-A) the word "Collector". Moreover, the decision of such a court determining compensation is regarded as an award under the said Act. In the light of these provisions, there is no warrant to give an unduly restricted meaning to Section 23(1-A) of the said Act, as pointed out above.

Coming now to the decisions cited before us we find that in the case before the Full Bench of the Bench of the Bombay High Court in Jaiwant Laxman P. Sardesai and etc. v. Govern- ment of Goa, Daman and Diu and Another etc. (AIR 1987 Bombay 214) the facts were that the Notification under Section 4 of the said Act was published on October 3, 1969, in the Gov- ernment Gazette of the Government of Goa. The Notification under Section 6 was published on June 10, 1971 The Land Acquisition Officer declared his award on August 2, 1972.

All these events undoubtedly occurred prior to April 30, 1982. However, on a Reference made under Section 18 of the said Act on December 24, 1973, the Civil Court investigated the claim and gave its award on June 24, 1985. The award was, therefore, made by the Court not before April 30, 1982, but after September 30, 1984, when the provisions of the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Act, 1984, had already come into effect. It was, therefore, strictly speaking, not necessary for the court to make any observation regarding the legal position in a case where both the Collector as well as the Court in a Reference under Section 18 had made their respective awards before April 30,1982. Moreover, we find that the judgment appears to proceed on a somewhat unwarranted assumption. This is clear from the following observations which appear at paragraph 5 of the aforesaid Report (p 217):

"It is not in dispute that where on the date of the commencement of the amending Act any proceedings for determination of compensation were pending before the Collector under Sec- tion 11 of the Act or before the Court under reference under Section 18 of the Act or before the High Court in appeal under Section 54 of the Act, then the amended section 23 (I-A) would be applicable to such proceedings, in absence of subsection (1) of Section 30." In our view, it was erroneously taken as undisputed that had the provisions of sub-section (1) of Section 30 not been in existence, the provisions of the amended section 23(1-A) would have applied to a case where the Collector as well as the Court had already made their award before April 30, 1982, but an appeal was pending in the High Court on April 30, 1982, or on the commencement of the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Act. As we have already pointed out, the cor- rectness of this as- 489 sumption is very much in dispute before us. In these circum- stances, we find ourselves unable to accept as correct the view taken by the Full Bench of the Bombay High Court to the extent that it extends the operation of the provisions of section 23(1-A) even to cases where the Collector as well as the Reference Court had made their awards before April 30, 11982, in the case before the Full Bench of the Bombay High Court in Jaiwant Laxman P. Sardesai and etc. v. Government of Goa, Daman and Diu and Another etc., AIR 1987 Bombay 214.

As far as the decision of a Division Bench comprising two learned Judges of this Court in Union of India and Others v. Filip Tiago De Gama of Vedem Vasco De Gama [1990] 1 S.C.C. 277 strongly relied upon by the appellants is concerned, we find that in that case the Land Acquisition Officer made his award determining the compensation on March 5, 1969. On a reference under Section 18 the Civil Court made its award on May 28, 1985, that is, even after Septem- ber 24,1984, when the Amendment Act of 1984 came into ef- fect. The view taken by the Division Bench is that, as the Collector had made his award before April 30, 1982, then the additional amount referred to in section 23 (1-A) could not be awarded. This view has been taken on the basis that sub- section (1)(b) of Section 30 of the said Act provides that the provisions of section 23(1-A) shall be applicable to every acquisition proceeding commenced after April 3 O, 1982, irrespective of the fact whether the Collector has made the award on or before September 24, 1984, and that sub-section (1) of Section 30 does not refer to court award and the court award is used only in sub-section (2) of Section 30. (See para 21 of the said report). We find that on the plain language of section 23(1-A) itself, which we have set out earlier, the duty was cast on the Court to award an additional amount calculated as prescribed therein which would mean that it is directed to be awarded by the court, namely, the Reference Court, in all cases which are pending before that court on September 1,1984. Sub-section (1)(a) of Section 30 undoubtedly lays down that the provi- sions of section 23(1-A) of the Act are also made applicable to all proceedings for the acquisition of any land under the said Act pending on April 30, 1982, where no award had been made by the Collector before that date. At first glance this would appear to suggest that the additional amount referred to in section 23 (1-A) could not be awarded where the Col- lector had made his award before April 30, 1982. But this provision cannot be allowed to cut down the benefits avail- able to the claimants on a plain reading of section 23(1-A).

This is clear from the use of the word "also" in the opening pan of section 30(1). In our opinion, the view taken by the Bench comprising two learned Judges of this Court in that case cannot be accepted as correct as it is too narrow and unduly cuts down the operation of the benefit conferred under the 490 plain language of section 23 (1-A) of the said Act. As far as the provisions of section 30(2) are concerned, we do not feel that we are called upon to interpret the same in this decision. In our view, therefore, the said decision cannot be accepted as good law in so far as it lays down that in order to bring the provisions of section 23(1-A) of the said Act into play the Collector must have made his award after April 30, 1982.

Coming to the decision in Union of India and Another v. Raghuvir Singh (dead) by Lrs. (Supra) referred to earlier, we find that it mainly concerned itself with the provisions of section 30(2) of the said Amendment Act with which we are not directly concerned here and in that connection, the Constitution Bench of this Court has made the following observations (p. 779):

"In construing section 30(2), it is just as well to be clear that the award made by the Collector referred to here is the award made by the Collector under Section 11 of the parent Act, and the award made by the Court is the award made by Principal Civil Court of Original Jurisdiction under Section 23 of the parent Act on a reference made to it by the Collector under Section 19 of the parent Act.

There can be no doubt that the benefit of the enhanced solatium is intended by section 30(2) in respect of an award made by the collector between April 30, 1982, and September 24, 1984, Likewise the benefit of the enhanced solatium is extended by section 30(2) to the case of an award made by the Court between April 30, 1982, and September 24, 1984, even though it be upon reference from an award made before April 30, 1982." The Court went on to point out that (p.780):

"Section 30(2) of the Amendment Act extends the benefit c. the enhanced solatium to cases where the award by the Collector or by the Court is made between April 30, 1982, and September 24, 1984, or to appeals against such awards decided by the High Court and the Supreme Court whether the decisions of the High Court or the Supreme Court are rendered before September 24, 1984, or after that date.

All that is material is that the award (empha- sis supplied) by the Collector or by the Court should have been made between April 30, 1982, and September 24, 1984. We find ourselves in agreement with the conclusion reached by this Court in K. Kamalajammanniavaru v. Special Land Acquisition Officer, (1985) 1 SCC 582 and 491 find ourselves unable to agree with the view taken in Bhag Singh v. Union Territory of Chandigarh [1985] 3 SCC 737. The expanded meaning given to section 30 (2) in the latter case does not, in our opinion, flow reasonably from the language of that sub-section. It seems to us that the learned Judges in that case missed the significance of the word 'such' in the collocation 'any such award' in section 30(2). Due significance must be at- tached to that word, and to our mind it must necessarily intended that the appeal to the High Court or the Supreme Court, in which the benefit of the enhanced solatium is to be given, must be confined to an appeal against an award of the Collector or of the Court rendered between April 30, 1982, and September 24, 1984." We find that this decision which was rendered by a Constitution Bench of this Court comprising 5-learned Judges runs in no way counter to the view which we have taken and, in fact, it leads some support to the view which we are taking. In the case before us, as the Reference Court has made its award after September 24, 1984 the benefit of the provisions of section 23(1-A) was clearly available to the claimant as held in the impugned judgment.

In the result, the appeal arising out of Special Leave Petition (Civil) No.14297 of 1990 in Union of India v. Zora Singh must be dismissed with costs.

As far as the other appeals filed by the Union of India which have been heard together with the Zora Singh's case are concerned, learned Counsel for the Union of India has not drawn our attention to any material difference in the relevant facts therein from the facts in Zora Singh's case.

In fact, the arguments proceeded on the footing that all the relevant facts were the same as in the case of Zora Singh.

In a result, all these appeals must also be dismissed, however, with no order as to costs.

As far as the appeals before us which have been filed by the claimants are concerned, the same will have to be placed before appropriate Benches of this Court for disposal in the light of this decision.

V.P.R. Appeals dis- missed.

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