State of Bihar & Anr Vs. Nilmani Sahu & Anr
 INSC 1255 (7
O R D
have heard learned counsel on both sides.
appeals by special leave arise from the order of the Division Bench of the High
Court of Patna in LPA No.133 of 1995 dated November 28, 1994.
admitted facts are that notification under Section 4(1) of the Land Acquisition
Act, 1894 was published on December 10, 1964.
A large extent of land admeasuring 43.14 acres was acquired together with the
trees standing thereon.
Land Acquisition Officer in his award dated April 3, 1979 determined the value of the trees
at Rs.2466/-. On reference under Section 18, the civil Court upheld the valuation
given to the trees by award and decree dated March 27, 1980. In furtherance thereof, the appellants have paid the
compensation together with solatium and interest thereon on September 6, 1991 , i.e., a sum of Rs.15,000/-and odd
and it was accepted by the respondents. When an appeal was filed against the
reference Court's award and decree, the High Court, in the first instance, had
adjudged the valuation of the trees and recorded the finding, considered the
question in paragraph 23 and had held that the contention that the compensation
for the value of trees fixed was meagre and unsustainable. At that time, the
claim was not less than Rs. 14 lacs and odd. In support thereof, a self
procured letter addressed by a merchant was brought on record and pressed for conssideration
of the value for trees. The High Court had considered it and rejected the
evidence as not reliable and, therefore, it was held that "It can be
safely said that it was a procured document. Then again, the report of the Kanungo
who had gone to see the land, show that incorrect information about the number
of the trees was given. As a matter of fact on one of the occasions he had
noticed that main part of the land was submerged under water. The number of
trees supplied to him was found to be highly exaggerated. This officer
independently verified the number of those trees for which the compensation was
payable. In jungle, it is a matter of common experience a large number of
plants grow which, in fact, are useless, save and except the same at best can
be used for fuel. Under these circumstances, it cannot be accepted. In the
circumstance, value of the trees given by the respondent-State, has got to be
accepted." The order thus has become final. An application came to be
filed under Sections 151 and 152 CPC to correct the decree. The learned single
Judge after considering the evidence afresh came to the conclusion that the
value of the trees was Rs.25,39,919.50 and computed together therewith solatium
and interest at Rs.76,21,630.30. When an appeal was filed, the Division Bench
had held that since it is an amendment of the decree, LPA would not lie and
accordingly it dismissed the appeal.
find force in the finding of the Division Bench that an appeal would not lie
against the amendment of the decree and it is only a revisable, since the
learned single Judge had amended the decree in appeal, a revision to the
Division Bench would not lie. The view taken by the Division Bench cannot be
faulted. However the question is: whether the learned single Judge was right in
correcting the decree and directing payment of the aforesaid amount of Rs.76,21,630.30
by way of order under Section 151 and 152 of CPC. We find that the view taken
by the learned single Judge, Justice R.K. Dev, with due respect, if we can say
so, is most atrocious. It is an admitted position that the valuation of the
trees and the quantification was done by the Land Acquisition Officer at Rs.2,466/-.
On reference, after adduction of evidences the, reference Court confirmed the
same. When regular appeal was filed under Section 54 of the Act, the High Court
had gone into the question and did not.
the number of trees and value thereof; it accordingly confirmed the award of
the reference Court. In other words, the decree of a sum of Rs.2,466/- granted
by the reference Court stood upheld and became final. The question is: in an
amendment of the decree, could the High Court go behind the order which had
become final and correct the valuation, as stated earlier, to the tune of sum
of Rs.25,39,919.50? The High Court obviously in gross error in reconsidering
the matter and came to fresh conclusion as to the number or the trees and value
thereof under the guise of arithmetical mistake. The learned single Judge,
therefore, was wholly wrong in his conclusion as to the amount above referred
to for correction of the decree.
appeals are accordingly allowed and the order of the learned single Judge
stands set aside. No costs.