Singh & Anr Vs. Union of India  Insc 472 (7 September 2005)
Bhan & S.B. Sinha
W I T
H CIVIL APPEAL NO.4117 OF 2003 CIVIL APPEAL NOS.1429-1435 OF 2004 CIVIL APPEAL
NOS.2747-2751 OF 2004 CIVIL APPEAL NOS.2935, 2947-2957 OF 2004 CIVIL APPEAL
NOS.3075-3076, 3079, 3083-3094 OF 2004 CIVIL APPEAL NOS.3170-3182 OF 2004 CIVIL
APPEAL NOS.3186-3357 OF 2004 CIVIL APPEAL NOS.3359-3369 OF 2004 CIVIL APPEAL
NOS.3371-3382 OF 2004 CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 3384-3394 OF 2004 CIVIL APPEAL
NOS.3396-3402 OF 2004 CIVIL APPEAL NOS.3426-3438 OF 2004 CIVIL APPEAL
NOS.3443-3454 OF 2004 CIVIL APPEAL NO.3463 OF 2004 CIVIL APPEAL NO.4908,
7759-62, 7765-7795 OF 2004 AND CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 5546-5551, 5553-54, 5557-60
& 5562 OF 2005 [@ SLP (CIVIL) NOS.12073, 12075, 16318-20, 19846, 19848,
19851-52, 19854, 5558, 22411 & 23819 OF 2004] AND CIVIL APPEAL NO. 5561 OF
2005 [@ SLP (CIVIL) NO.17837 OF 2005] S.B. SINHA, J:
granted in the special leave petitions.
appeals involving similar questions of fact and law were taken up for hearing
together and are being disposed of by this common judgment.
Union of India issued four notifications on or about 13.2.1981, 20.2.1981,
13.3.1981 and 31.12.1981 under Section 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act (The
Act) for acquisition of various blocks of land situated in village Rithala for
construction of supplementary drain, sewage treatment plant, remodeling the Nagloi
Drain and planned development of Delhi. In relation to the aforementioned acquisitions, four awards were
passed being 4/85-86, 20/82-83, 1/83-84 and 16/85-86. The Land Acquisition
Officer in its awards in regard to acquisitions in terms of notifications dated
13.2.1981 and 20.2.1981 sub-divided the acquired lands in two blocks and
awarded compensation at the rate of Rs. 3800/- per bigha/ Rs. 3.77 per sq. yard
for block A and Rs. 2600/- per bigha/ Rs. 2.57 per sq. yard for block B.
in regard to the acquisition in terms of notification dated 13.3.1981,
compensation was awarded at the rate of Rs. 6500/- per bigha/ Rs. 6.45 per sq.
yard whereas as regard the acquisition under notification dated 31.12.1981,
compensation was awarded at the rate of Rs. 10837/- per bigha / Rs. 10.75 per
sq. yard for block A, Rs. 9000/- per bigha/ Rs. 8.9 per sq. yard for block B
and Rs. 7000/- per bigha/ Rs. 6.9 per sq. yard for block C respectively.
Reference having been made to the Civil Court at the instance of the claimants in terms of Section 18 of
the Land Acquisition Act, the Reference Court
enhanced the amount of compensation in the following terms:
of Notification Amount of compensation 13.2.1981 Rs. 20000/- per bigha/ Rs.
19.85 per sq. yard 20.2.1981 Rs. 10800/- per bigha/ Rs. 10/- per sq. yard
13.3.1981 Rs. 10800/- per bigha/ Rs. 10/- per sq. yard 31.12.1981 Rs. 21000/-
per bigha/ Rs. 20.83 per sq. yard Being not satisfied, the parties hereto
preferred respective appeals in the High Court wherein the High Court awarded
the following amounts of compensation:
of Notification Amount of compensation 13.2.1981 Rs. 67000/- per bigha/ Rs. 67
per sq. yard 20.2.1981 Rs. 67000/- per bigha/ Rs. 67/- per sq. yard 13.3.1981 Rs.
67000/- per bigha/ Rs. 67/- per sq. yard 31.12.1981 Rs. 73584/- per bigha/ Rs.
73 per sq. yard Before this Court, 179 appeals have been filed by the Union of
India and 163 appeals have been filed by the claimants out of which 244 matters
were listed before us.
representative fact of the matter is being noticed from Civil Appeal No. 2747
award being No. 16/85-86, 677 claim applications were filed claiming different
amount of compensation. The Land Acquisition Collector in his awards while
determining the market value took into consideration several deeds of sale and/
or awards for acquisition of lands in neighbouring villages held :
in view the above facts and taking into account of raising trend in the market
value of the land, I assess the fair and reasonable market value of the land
which kept in Block A is based on average price of sale deeds mentioned at sarila
No. 5-11 which comes to Rs. 10837/- per Bigha.
I assured the fair and reasonable market value of land in Block "A" @
10, 340/- making the round figure of Rs. 10837/- per Bigha, Block "B"
@ Rs. 9000/- per Bigha and Block "C" @ Rs. 7000/- per Bigha and
accordingly awarded the same. No compensation is assessed for Gair Mumkin Sarak
which consists the total land measuring 42 Bigha 06 Biswas." He, however,
in certain individual cases considered the question relating to grant of
further compensation in view of special features therein.
the Reference Court the claimants relied upon the
of India passed by Shri S.R. Goel, Additional District Judge, Delhi in respect
of land acquired vide Award No. 20/82-83 (date of notification U/s. 4 dated
20.2.1981). Market value therein was fixed at the rate of Rs. 20,000/- per bighas.
of India passed by Shri H.R. Malhotra, Additional District Judge, Delhi in
respect of land acquired vide Award No. 4/85-86 (Notification U/s. 4 dated
13.2.1981) wherein the Market Value was fixed at the rate of Rs. 20,000/-.
Exhibit P-III: copy of sale deed executed on 9.4.1981 in respect of land
measuring 1 bigha out of Khasra No. 967 in village Rithala for a total
consideration of Rs. 35,000/-.
P-IV: copy of sale deed executed on 27.7.1981 for 1 bigha of land out of Khasra
No. 1217 situated in village Rithala for a consideration of Rs. 49,000/-.
Exhibit P-V: copy of sale deed executed on 3.11.1981 in respect of 7 Biswas of
land out of Khasra No. 133 situated in Village Rithala for a consideration of Rs.
Exhibit P-VI: copy of sale deed executed on 3.11.1981 in respect of 7 Biswas of
land out of Khasra No. 133 situated in Village Rithala for a consideration of Rs.
claimants had also relied upon a circular dated 21.10.1981 as also a judgment
delivered by Additional District Judge in LAC No. 557 of 1993 acquired was
assessed at Rs. 21000/- per bigha.
of India, on the other hand, relied upon the following documents which were
also marked exhibits before the Reference Court:
Exhibit R-1: copy of judgment delivered by Additional District Judge Union of
India relating to Award No. 1/83-84 wherein market value was fixed at the rate
of Rs. 10,800/- per bigha as on 13.3.1981.
Exhibit R-II: copy of judgment delivered by Additional District Judge, Delhi in
Land Acquisition Collector No. 57/83 titled as Jit Ram & Rithala wherein
the market value of the land was fixed at the rate of Rs. 10,800/- per bigha
for all kinds of land.
Exhibit R-III: copy of sale deed executed on 28.11.1981 for a piece of land
measuring 4 bighas 12 biswas out of Khasra No. 59/15 situated at Village Rithala
for a consideration of Rs. 46,000/-.
Exhibit R-IV: copy of the sale deed executed on 5.6.1981 for a piece of land
3-12 bigha comprising in Mustalil No. 58 Kila No. 15 situated at Village Rithala
for a consideration of Rs. 32,500/-.
Exhibit R-V: copy of the sale deed executed on 9.2.1981 for 1 bigha 3 biswas of
land being part of Khasra No. 6/17 situated in village Rithala for a
consideration of Rs. 10,800/-.
Exhibit R-VI: copy of sale deed whereby about 3 bigha 3 biswas of land falling
in Khasra No. 58/14 in village Rithala was sold for a consideration of Rs.
Exhibit R-VII: sale deed executed on 9.2.1981 whereby land measuring 1 bigha 3 biswas
part of Khasra No. 6/19 in village Rithala was sold for a sum of Rs. 10,800/-.
the aforementioned Exhibits, Exs. R-1, R-III, R-IV, R-V, R-VI and R-VII pertain
to portions of the acquired lands. The High Court, however, in its impugned
judgment principally relied upon a brochure issued by the Delhi Development
Authority in respect of Rohini as also the circular letters issued by the Union
of India fixing value of the land for the purpose of computing the stamp duty
under the Indian Stamp Act.
Mohan, the learned Additional Solicitor General appearing on behalf of the
Union of India in assailing the impugned judgment would submit that the High
Court committed a manifest error in solely relying upon two documents, viz., Exs.
A & B wherein the schedule of rates of developed residential and commercial
land in different areas of Delhi were mentioned as also a brochure of Delhi
Development Authority inviting applications for purchase of fully developed
lease-hold plots in the adjacent residential scheme without taking into
consideration the deeds of sale and other judgments which had been relied upon
by the parties before the Reference Court.
learned counsel would contend that the circular letters fixing the circle rates
is inadmissible in evidence and, thus, the High Court has committed a manifest
error in basing its judgment thereupon. Reliance in this behalf has been placed
on Krishi Utpadan Mandi Samiti, Sahaswan, District Badaun through its Secretary
vs. Bipin Kumar and Another [(2004) [(1995) 5 SCC 310], U.P. Jal Nigam, Lucknow
through its Chairman and Urban Development Authority, Hyderabad and Others,
(1995) 2 SCC 305], Another [(1995) 1 SCC 717] and Jawajee Nagnatham vs. Revenue
Divisional Officer, Adilabad, A.P. and Others [(1994) 4 SCC 595].
furthermore urged that the sale deeds produced by the parties could not have
been brushed aside on the ground that the same had not been proved by examining
the vendors and vendees thereof in view of the Constitution Bench decision of
this Court in Cement Corpn. Of India Ltd.
piece of evidence for determining the market value as on the date of
acquisition would be the sale deeds and in particular pertaining to portions of
the acquired lands which having not been taken into consideration by the High
Court, the impugned judgment cannot be sustained.
learned Additional Solicitor General would further contend that such market
value has to be assessed not only having regard to the comparable sales method
but also having regard to the size of the land, area, other features thereof
and several other relevant factors.
learned Additional Solicitor General submitted that the deduction at the rate
of 53% or more is permissible in law as the same would vary from place to
place, area to area and extent of development required to be carried out.
Reliance in this behalf has been placed on Land Acquisition Officer, Kammarapally
Village, Nizamabad District, A.P. vs. Nookala Rajamallu and Acquisition Officer
and Others [(1996) 9 SCC 640].
attention was also drawn to a decision of 3-Judge Bench of this SCC 167]
wherein this Court accepted the amount of compensation as made by the Land
Acquisition Collector at the rate of Rs. 12100/- per bigha for Block A, Rs.
12000/- per bigha for Block B and Rs. 6000/- per bigha for Block C and rejected
grant of higher compensation by the Reference Court as also the High Court.
R.F. Nariman, Mr. R. Venkataramani and other learned counsel appearing on
behalf of the Respondents, on the other hand, would submit that the xerox
copies of the deeds of sale produced before the court were not admissible in
evidence and in that view of the matter, the High Court acted within its
jurisdiction in relying upon the brochure issued by the Delhi Development
Authority in respect of the village Rithala which admittedly is adjacent to Rohini
which is a fully developed colony. Rohini, it was urged, was developed during
the period 1961 and 1981 and in that view of the matter the notifications under
Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act having been issued on different dates in
the year 1981, the price offered for grant of a long term lease by Delhi
Development Authority would provide for the best instance for computation of
the amount of compensation.
learned counsel drew our attention to the fact that if the market value of the
acquired land was to be determined on the basis of deeds of sale, various
factors relevant therefor including distance of the acquired land from the land
sold, the quality of the land, and other features thereof as well as various
other factors were required to be proved by adduction of oral evidence which
having not been done, the High Court cannot be said to have committed any error
in relying upon the brochure issued by the Delhi Development Authority.
learned counsel, however, conceded having regard to the decisions of this Court
that the circle rates notified in the circular letters issued by the Union of
India for the purpose of fixing the rate of stamp duty would not be admissible
our attention to a recent decision of this Court in R.P. Singh Nariman
submitted that having regard to the fact that the market value of the land
acquired in village Mangolpur Kalan, Delhi was determined at the rate of Rs.
7000/- per bigha in respect of an acquisition made in the year 1961 and, thus,
this Court may assess the market value of the lands situate in village Rithala
upon considering the increase therein at the rate of 12% per annum.
support of the cross-objections filed by the Respondents, the learned counsel
would submit that deduction at the rate of 60% by the High Court was on a high
side as village Rithala was a semi-developed area. Our attention in this regard
has been drawn to a recent decision of this Court in Om Prakash (Dead) By LRs.
and Others vs. Union of India and Another [(2004) 10 SCC 627] wherein the
judgment of the High Court awarding compensation at the rate of Rs. 82255/- per
bigha for acquisition of the land in the year 1983 was not interfered with.
the High Court in its impugned judgment did not place any reliance whatsoever
upon the sale instances whereupon strong reliance has been placed by the
parties solely on the ground that neither the vendors nor the vendees thereof
had been examined as witnesses. It has also not placed any reliance upon any
other judgment or award filed by the parties.
High Court while arriving at the said finding evidently took into consideration
the law as it then stood. The correctness of the decisions wherein the
aforementioned view had been taken was doubted and the matter was referred to a
larger Bench. A Constitution Bench of this Court in Cement Corporation of India
Ltd. (supra), opined:
Section 51A of the Land Acquisition Act seeks to make an exception to the
the acquisition proceedings, sale deeds are required to be brought on records
for the purpose of determining market value payable to the owner of the land
when it is sought to be acquired.
Although by reason of the aforementioned provision the parties are free to
produce original documents and prove the same in accordance with the terms of
the rules of evidence as envisaged under the Indian Evidence Act, the L.A. Act
provides for an alternative thereto by inserting the said provision in terms
whereof the certified copies which are otherwise secondary evidence may be
brought on record evidencing a transaction. Such transactions in terms of the
aforementioned provision may be accepted in evidence.
of an evidence is not a term of art. It has an etymological meaning. It
envisages exercise of judicial mind to the materials on record.
of evidence by a court would be dependent upon the facts of the case and other
relevant factors. A piece of evidence in a given situation may be accepted by a
court of law but in another it may not be.
Section 51 A of the L.A. Act may be read literally and having regard to the
ordinary meaning which can be attributed to the term 'acceptance of evidence'
relating to transaction evidenced by a sale deed, its admissibility in evidence
would be beyond any question. We are not oblivious of the fact that only by bringing
a documentary evidence in the record it is not automatically brought on the
record. For bringing a documentary evidence on the record, the same must not
only be admissible but the contents thereof must be proved in accordance with
law. But when the statute enables a court to accept a sale deed on the records
evidencing a transaction, nothing further is required to be done. The
admissibility of a certified copy of sale deed by itself could not be held to
be inadmissible as thereby a secondary evidence has been brought on record
without proving the absence of primary evidence. Even the vendor or vendee
thereof is not required to examine themselves for proving the contents thereof.
This, however, would not mean that contents of the transaction as evidenced by
the registered sale deed would automatically be accepted. The legislature
advisedly has used the word 'may'. A discretion, therefore, has been conferred
upon a court to be exercised judicially, i.e., upon taking into consideration
the relevant factors." In view of the said latest pronouncement of this
Court, thus, the High Court was required to consider the deeds of sale in their
proper perspective for determining the market values of the acquired land.
of Mr. Nariman that the Xerox copies of the deeds of sale produced by the
parties were not admissible in evidence in terms of Section 51A of the Land
Acquisition Act is stated to be rejected. The provisions of the Indian Evidence
Act postulate that secondary evidence can be led by the parties in the event
primary evidence is not available. In a case of this nature, however, the
claimant-respondents may be aware of the transactions.
they did not raise any objection as regard admissibility of the said deeds of sale
. The xerox copy of the deeds of sale were marked exhibits without any
objection having been taken by the Respondents herein.
an objection cannot, therefore, be taken for the first time before this Court. [See
R.V.E. Venkatachala Gounder vs. Arulmigu Viswesaraswami
& V.P. Temple and Another, (2003) 8 SCC 752 &
Dayamathi Bai (Smt.) vs. K.M. Shaffi - (2004) 7 SCC 107]. What would be their
evidentiary value may ultimately fall for consideration by the Court but the
said deeds of sale cannot be rejected only on the ground that only Xerox copies
thereof had been brought on records. The onus to prove the market value as
obtaining on the date of notification was on the claimants. It was for them to
adduce evidence to prove their claims by bringing sufficient and cogent materials
on record so as to enable the court to determine the market value of the
acquired land as on the date of issuance of notification under Section 4 of the
Land Acquisition Act. If the claimants themselves filed Xerox copies of the
deeds of sale or failed to examine any witness to prove the relevant factors
for determining the market value of the land acquired with reference to the
said sale instances, they cannot now be permitted to resile therefrom and
contend that the said documents should be totally ignored.
have noticed hereinbefore the concession of Mr. Nariman as regard
inadmissibility of the notification issued by the Union of India determining
the circle rates. The notifications issued by the Union of India, therefore,
whereupon strong reliance has been placed by the High Court cannot form the
basis for determining the market value of the acquired lands.
leaves us with the brochure issued by the Delhi Development Authority. Before,
however, we advert to the rival contentions raised by the parties in this
behalf, it may be observed that the Delhi Development Authority was not a party
before the High Court and an application was filed only before this Court for impleading
it as a party. The Delhi Development Authority, thus, got no opportunity to
raise any contention as to why the sale brochure should not be considered to be
a determinative criterion for the purpose of fixation of market value of the
lands in question. We may, furthermore, notice that a housing scheme at Rohini
was floated by the Delhi Development Authority. The lands at Rohini were
agricultural in nature.
were acquired in the year 1961. It became a residential area at the time of
issuance of the notification in question issued under Section 4 of the Land
Acquisition Act. The approximate population of Rohini was 8,50,000.
were work centres. Major facilities like health, education, social and cultural
were thence available. The provisional rates for land in the said brochure were
notified as under:
of plot in sq. mts.
Rate per sq. mt.
EWS/JANTA Rs. 100 32 LIG Rs. 125 48 LIG Rs. 150 60 MIG Rs. 200 90 MIG Rs.
200" The High Court without having regard to different sizes and different
categories of land separately took into consideration the value of 48 sq. mts.
of land at the rate of Rs. 150/- per sq. mtr. It, keeping in view of the fact
that the Delhi Development Authority sought to create lease-hold right whereas
upon acquisition of land a free-hold right would be created, multiplied the
said figure by two and arrived at a conclusion that the market value of 1 sq. mtr.
of land at Rohini would be Rs. 300/-. The mean figure thereof was taken at Rs.
200/- per sq. mts. as wholesale price of free-hold plots in a developed
condition. From the said Rs. 200/-, 60% had been deducted towards costs of
development and considering the large extent of land, the retail market price
was worked out at Rs. 80/- per sq. mtr.
adopting the said method, in our opinion, the High Court committed manifest
errors. The market value of fully developed land cannot be compared with wholly
underdeveloped land although they may be adjoining or situated at a little
distance. For determining the market value, it is trite, the nature of the land
plays an important role.
529], this Court held:
It was next submitted that the claimants were entitled to higher compensation
as the Respondents had in 1989 auctioned plots of land at the rate of Rs. 1725
to Rs. 2510 per square yard. In our view this submission merely needs to be
stated to be rejected. What price is fetched after full development cannot be
the basis for fixing compensation in respect of land which was
agricultural." The High Court did not consider any relevant criteria on
the basis whereof it could come to the conclusion that the value of the
freehold lands would be double of the value of the leasehold lands. The fact
that in terms of the brochure the leasehold was to be a perpetual one and the
ground rent payable therefor was absolutely nominal being Re.1/- per plot per
annum for the first five years and thereafter at the rate 2 =% of the total
amount of the premium, which was to be enhanced only after every 30 years, was
a relevant factor which should have been taken into consideration for arriving
at a finding in that behalf. It is worth noting that the terms and conditions
were set out for sale by the Delhi Development Authority on behalf of the
President of India of perpetual lease-hold rights in the residential plots
under the Rohini Scheme.
large amount of money was spent for development of Rohini over a period of 20
years. A large area has been earmarked for schools, hospitals, community halls,
etc. Many other advantages were also provided. In law it may be perceived that
the scheme floated by the D.D.A. may not be viable and as such the possibility
of reduction of the rate at a future date could not be ruled out.
need not dilate on the relevant criteria for determining the market value as
the same are no longer res integra. The relevant factors which were to be taken
into consideration for determining the market value have recently been stated
by this Court in Viluben Jhalejar Contractor (Dead) By Lrs. vs. State of
Gujarat [(2005) 4 SCC 789]. See also Basavva (supra).
it is well-settled that the sale deeds pertaining to portion of lands which are
subject to acquisition would be the most relevant piece of evidence for
assessing the market value of the acquired lands. [See Land Morisetty Satyanarayana
and Others (2002) 10 SCC 570] For the purpose of determining the market value,
even market conditions prevailing as on the date of notification are relevant.
[See Jasti Rohini (supra)] The burden of proof that the acquired land and the
land covered by sale transaction bear similar or same potentialities or
advantageous features is also on the claimant. [See Jawajee Nagnatham (supra),
P. Ram Reddy Others, (2001) 7 SCC 650] Sale price in respect of a small piece
of land, it is well settled, cannot be the basis for determination of a market
value of a large stretch of land. In Ram Phool (supra), this Court held that an
isolated deed of sale showing a very high price cannot be the sale basis for
determining the market value.
said decision was rendered in relation to a land situated at village Poothkalan
which is adjacent to the lands in question. Even the claimants, it is
interesting to note, had exhibited sale deeds in respect to the land situated
at village Poothkalan for proving their claim.
need not dilate upon the other relevant factors in great details NOS. 6825-26
OF 2003] disposed of this date, we have considered the same at some length.
a judgment or award determining the amount of compensation is not conclusive.
The same would merely be a piece of evidence. There cannot be any fixed
criteria for determining the increase in the value of land at a fixed rate. We,
therefore, are unable to accept the contention of Mr. Nariman that as in one
case we have fixed the valuation of Rs. 7000/- per bigha wherein the lands were
acquired in the year 1961, applying the rule of escalation the market rate
should be determined by calculating the increase in the prices at the rate of
12% per annum. We do not find any justifiable reason to base our decision only
on the said criteria.
event, the claimants having not examined any witness, it cannot be accepted
that the village Rithala was a semi-developed area or it had a great
in view the facts and circumstances of this case, we are of the opinion that
the impugned judgments cannot be sustained and accordingly the same are set
aside. The matters are remitted to the High Court for consideration of the
matter afresh. The High Court shall proceed to determine the market value of
the acquired land upon taking into consideration the materials on record and
all other relevant factors necessary for determining the market value of the
lands in question.
appeals are disposed of with the aforementioned directions.
we would request the High Court to consider the desirability of disposing of
the appeals as expeditiously as possible and preferably within a period of six
months from the date of communication of this order and receipt of records. No