The Union of India Vs. Shri
Sube Ram & Ors  INSC 1021 (26 August 1996)
K. Ramaswamy, K.G.B. Pattanaik (J)
O R D
have heard learned counsel for both the parties.
under Section 4 (1) of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (for short, the
"Act") was published on March 8, 1957 acquiring the land for planned development of Delhi city. The Land Acquisition officer
awarded compensation on October
3, 1974 under Section
11 of the Act.
Additional District Judge enhanced the compensation on October 5, 1976. On appeal, the High Court further
enhanced the compensation on July 24, 1984 to Rs. 10/- per square yard with solatium
and interest at old rates, namely, solatium at 15% under Section 23 (2) and interest
at 6% under proviso to Section 28 of the Act on the enhanced compensation.
Consequently, the respondents filed the petition under Sections 151 and 152 of
the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 and the High Court by the impugned order
dated March 22, 1985 allowed the benefits under the Amendment Act 68 of 1984
and awarded solatium at 30% on the enhanced compensation and interest under the
proviso to Section 28 at 9% for one year from the date of taking possession for
one year and @ 15% thereafter till date of deposit into court on the enhanced
that view was reversed by this Court in Union application came to be filed for
review of the judgment and the High Court in the impugned order dater December 1, 1993 dismissed the review application.
Thus these appeals by special leave. Appeal also was filed against the original
appellate order with a delay of 3379 days.
Kalra, learned counsel for the respondents with his usual vehemence, contended
that the review application came to be filed eight years after the order was
passed by the Division Bench and five years after the judgment of this Court in
Raghubir Singh`s case. The High Court, therefore, was right in refusing to
entertain the review petition. In view of the Explanation to Order 47 Rule 1,
CPC, he also contended that change of law as interpreted by court would not be
a ground for review. There is an inordinate delay in filing the special leave
petition against the original order and the delay has been properly explained.
Therefore, the orders of the courts below is not vitiated by any error of law.
We find no force in the contentions.
now settled legal position that the claimants would be entitled to the enhanced
solatium and interest only if the proceedings were pending either before the
Land Acquisition Officer or Court. The Court defined under Section 2 (d) of the
Act as on the date of Amendment Bill was introduced and Act made by the
Parliament. Therefore, the question that arises is: whether the High Court has
jurisdiction to entertain the application for enhancement under the Amendment
Act 68 of 1984 came into force. It is true that if it were a case of a superior
Court having interpreted the law and the law having become final, by order 47
Rule 1, CPC it could not constitute a ground for review of the judgment. But
here is the case of entertaining the application itself; in order words, the
question of jurisdiction of the Court. Since the appellate Court has no amend
the decree and grant the enhanced compensation by way of solatium and interest
under Section 23 (2) and proviso to Section 28 of the Act, as amended by Act 68
of 1984, it is a question of jurisdiction of the court. Since courts have no
jurisdiction, it is the settled legal position that it is a nullity and it can
be raised at any stage.
learned counsel sought to place reliance on an order passed by this Court on
July 31, 1995 in SLP (C) No.22639 of 1994 dismissing the special leave petition
in limine. In view of the settled legal position that the order dismissing the
special leave petition in liming does not constitute res judicata; that too in
a dispute which was not even between the parties in this case. The above
decision may not stand in the way of this Court`s exercising the power under Article
136 of the Constitution.
learned counsel has contended that the Court has power to grant or to refuse to
grant the relief and it having gone into the question and decided the same on
merit, it can be said that the High court committed no error of law. So the
order is valid in condone the delay and entertain the appeal filed against the
original order dated March
22,1985 and also the
appeals are accordingly allowed. The award of, the solatium @ 30% under Section
23 (2) of the Acct and interest @ 9% for one year from the date of taking
possession and 15% thereafter till the date of deposit under proviso to Section
28 stands set aside and the original order of the High Court dated July 24,
1984 stands restored. But in the circumstances without costs.