Mathew Vs. State of Kerala & Anr  INSC 1143 (17 September 1996)
APPEAL NOS.4124/91 AND 11812/95
O R D
under Section 3(1) the Kerala Land Acquisition Act, 1950 which is equivalent to
Section 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act. 1894 (1 of 1894) was published on
July 8, 1980 acquiring an extent of 3.37 hectares of land for public purpose,
namely, Greater Cochin Development Authority, for the purpose of the Site and
Service Scheme at Alwaye. The Land Acquisition Officer in his award dated March 19, 1982 determined compensation at Rs.280
per cent as against Rs.2000/- per cent claimed by the appellants. On reference,
the civil Court enhanced the compensation to Rs.1800/- per cent by its award
and decree dated August
7, 1984. On further
appeal by the State, the High Court reduced the compensation to Rs.1000/- per
cent. Thus, these appeals by special leave.
T.L.V. Iyer, learned senior counsel for the appellants, has contended that the
lands under Exs.A-6 to A- 8, of an extent ranging between 60 cents and 40 cents
had been sold on March
31, 1976, April 13, 1976 and April 21, 1976 respectively at the rate of Rs.800/- per cent. Ex.A-3 to
A-5 would indicate steep rise in the value till the date of the notification.
That was spoken of even by RW 2, the Executive Officer of the Panchayat. The
acquired lands are abutting the two roads on either side. The developed area is
situated near the acquired lands. These facts had been duly taken note of by
the reference Court in determining reference under Section 18. The High Court
had not adverted to these relevant facts but considered Exs.A-6 to A-8 and held
that the compensation at Rs.1000/- would be the just compensation. Unless the findings
of the reference Court were found to be perverse, the High Court would not have
interfered with the award of the reference Court. Shri G. Viswanatha Iyer,
learned senior counsel for the respondent, placed reliance on a document, a
letter addressed by the claimants themselves wherein they have agreed as on
October 15, 1979 to sell the property to GCDA @ Rs.350/- per cent.
view of this circumstance, it does not warrant more compensation than that has
been awarded by the High Court.
regard to the respective contentions, the question that arises for
consideration is: what would be the reasonable compensation which the acquired
lands are capable to secure? It is seen that Exs.A-3 to A-5 offer no comparable
value. As stated by Shri Viswanatha Iyer, that they offer only an evidence of
rise in the price. It is seen that lands under Ex.A-6 to A-8 also sere
purchased by common institution from the persons, brothers and sisters, which
happened to be contiguous to the institution for better utilisation. Under
those circumstances, they cannot be automatically offered as comparable sales
for the lands in question. Admittedly, the lands are situated outside Always
Municipal limits as on the date of notification. The High Court having
considered the totality of the facts and circumstances reduced the compensation
to Rs.1000/- per cent as against Rs.2000/- per cent as claimed by the
more than 4-1/2 times than what was granted by the Land Acquisition Officer.
The State did not file any appeal.
seen from the letter addressed by the appellants themselves on October 15, 1979, i.e. 10 months prior to the date
of the notification, that they had assessed the compensation at Rs.350/- per
cent and offered to sell it at that rate. But for the fact that no agreement as
contemplated under sub-section(2) of Section 11 has been executed, this
admission stares at their face to claim any further enhancement in the
compensation. It was not necessary for the High Court, before reversing the
judgment of the reference Court, to reach at a conclusion that the award and
judgment of the reference Court was perverse or wholly unsustainable. It is the
mandatory duty of the Court to consider the entire evidence by applying the
tests and principle of law as settled by this Court in assessing the
compensation and to find out as to what would be the reasonable market value
which the lands are capable to command in open market. In the estimate of the
High Court, the reasonable compensation is Rs.1000/- per cent which is three
times more than that was offered by the claimants themselves. Under these
circumstances, we do not think that these cases warrant interference to
increase further compensation.
appeals are dismissed, but without costs.