Ludhiana Improvement Trust Vs. Brijeshwar
Singh Chhal & Anr  INSC 419 (19 March 1996)
K.Ramaswamy, K.Bharucha S.P. (J) Paripoornan, K.S.(J)
JT 1996 (4) 239 1996 SCALE (3)555
APPEAL NOS. 7028, 7027, 7029, 7030 & 7026/96 (Arising out of SLP (C) Nos.
3736, 2708, 4065, 8031 and 16530 of 1994)
O R D
have heard learned counsel on both sides.
only question argued by the learned counsel for the appellant is with regard to
the belting of the land. An extent of 13 acres of land situated near Ludhiana was acquired for
under Section 36 of the Punjab Town Improvement Act, 1922 which is pari materia
to the notification under Section 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, was
published on July 13,
1973. The Land
Acquisition Officer in his award dated February 3, 1976 classified the lands as levelled-up
land and low-lying land. In respect of the levelled-up land he awarded compensation
@ Rs.21/- per sq.yd. and for the low-lying land @ Rs.13/- per sq.yd. On
reference, the District Judge awarded compensation @ Rs.107/- per square yard
in respect of the lands abutting the main road at a depth of 5 karanams and for
other land he awarded compensation @ Rs.80/- per sq. yd. and for the low- lying
area @ Rs.50/- per sq. yd. The claimants challenged the award of the District
Court and the High Court in the writ petitions has held that all the lands are
evenly situated. Accordingly, it awarded compensation uniformly at Rs.107/- per
sq. yd. The Improvement Trust felt aggrieved by the direction given by the High
Court with regard to the belting. Hence this appeals by special leave.
Land Acquisition Officer has stated that the lands measuring 61 kanals 10 marlas
bearing different khasra numbers mentioned in the award are situated in
low-lying area and are under the pond with a depth of 3 to 6 feet.
the lands are improved by expending considerable amount, they cannot be levelled-up.
Therefore, the Land Acquisition Officer awarded compensation for those lands at
Rs.13/- per sq.yd. The High Court in the impugned order relying upon its
earlier judgment held that the belting system adopted by the Land Acquisition
Officer and the reference Court is not correct in law. It is settled by
decisions of this Court that belting is a fair principle to determine just and
adequate compensation lest unjust at would ensue. When large extent of land is
acquired, land abutting the roads or developed area and interior land do not
command the same market value. When it is proved that the lands are situated in
low-lying area, obviously the lands situated at levelled area would command
higher market rate than the lands situated in low-lying area.
Singh, learned senior counsel appearing for the claimants, contended that the allottee
would prefer to purchase the lands in low-lying area to build their shops or
establishments underground so as to have economical use of the land allotted to
them. Therefore, the fixation of the market value at the uniform rate by the
High Court is correct in law. We cannot appreciate the stand taken by the
claimants. The claimants, as a fact, have to establish that the levelled-up
lands and the low-lying lands command same market value and that, therefore,
they are required to be awarded at the same rate. It is seen that the Land
Acquisition Officer has himself stated which was not disputed in the reference
Court that the depth of the land is 3 to 6 feet. Unless the land is levelled-up,
it cannot command the same market value as the levelled-up land possessed.
Under those circumstances, the High Court was clearly in error in holding that
the belting system cannot be adopted and compensation should be awarded in
respect of all the lands at the uniform rate.
appeals are accordingly allowed and the order of the reference Court paying
compensation @ Rs.50/- per sq.yd. to the low-lying lands admeasuring 61 kanals
10 gunthas in the khasra numbers mentioned in the award of the Land Acquisition
Officer stands restored. No costs.