& Ors Vs. P. Sreekumaran Nair & Ors  Insc 894 (4 December 2006)
Arijit Pasayat & S.H.Kapadia
out of SLP (C) No.2896 of 2003) Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT, J.
in this appeal is to the judgment of the Division Bench of the Kerala High
Court allowing the appeal filed by the respondent Nos. 1 & 2 while
dismissing the appeal filed by the appellants and the State.
facts in a nutshell are as follows:
extent of 2.81.20 Hectares of land comprised in Survey No.1780/1, 1780/4,
1780/9, 1781/1,8,9, 1889/1,2 of the Kadakampally Village was acquired for the purpose of
establishment of E.E.C. market at Anayara. Notification under Section 4(1) of
the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (in short the 'Act') was published on 29.5.1992.
The possession of the land was taken on 23.7.1992 and an award was passed on
13.7.1992 fixing a total compensation of Rs.45,08,111/-.
with the compensation awarded, applications were filed before the Land
Acquisition Officer for referring the matter for adjudication to the Reference Court.
District Collector by his letter dated 18.7.1994 forwarded the relevant records
in respect of the matter for determination under Section 18 of the Act. Along
with the said letter, the names and addresses of the interested parties, who
had filed the reference applications, were also furnished in the separate sheet
attached. As per the sheet attached with the said covering letter, the
appellant no.1-P.K. Sreekantan submitted his application dated 4.8.1993.
Respondent no.1 P. Sreekumaran Nair submitted his application dated 26.8.1993
and the claimants 3, 4 and 5 submitted their applications on 4.8.1993. The
reference application dated 4.8.1993 was given by the appellant no.1 pursuant
to the receipt of the award notice dated 13.7.1993 whereby the claimant was
informed of the compensation awarded for the property acquired from him.
said reference application it was stated that an extent of 86 Ares and 41 Sq. metres
of property out of the total extent of 2 acres and 41 = cents of property
comprised in Survey No.1889 of Kadakampally Village was obtained by him by
virtue of the partition deed dated 21.2.1975. It was specifically pleaded that
the property is situated in an important locality within city limits having
road frontage and easy access, it is a building site and a garden land and it
shall fetch a minimum market value of Rs.5,000/- per cent. It was further
stated that the compensation awarded by the Land Acquisition Officer is too low
and meager considering the importance of the locality.
award amount was claimed to have been received under protest and, therefore,
the Land Acquisition Officer was requested to refer the matter to the Reference Court for adjudicating the land value.
Similar claims were made by the other applicants as well. From the reference
application so submitted it could be seen that the dispute was only regarding
the amount of compensation awarded to the respective land acquired from each
one of the applicants, as according to them, amount awarded is low compared to
the market value.
to the reference so made by the District Collector, the Reference Court issued notice to the parties
whereupon the parties filed their respective statements.
questions were raised in the appeals which were filed before the High Court. In
the appeal filed by the present respondents 1 & 2 it was contended that the
Court below has no jurisdiction to go beyond the issues of reference. It had
exceeded its jurisdiction in going beyond the issues raised in the reference
applications and adjudicating disputes not raised by the parties in the
reference applications. The appeal by the present appellant related to the
appropriation of the compensation awarded. State's appeal essentially was
against the valuation. As noted above, the appeal filed by the respondent Nos.
1 & 2 was allowed with the following observation:- "In the light of
the principles as laid down in the above decisions and in the absence of any
reference made on the question regarding the extent of the land acquired from
each of the claimants and in the absence of any dispute regarding the
apportionment of the amount and in view of the fact that the only question that
is referred by the District Collector is regarding the claim for enhancement of
the compensation for the land acquired as shown in the award, we find that the
court below had no jurisdiction to entertain the dispute regarding the extent
of the land acquired from each of the claimants.
we set aside the judgment and decree of the court below so far as it proceeded
to determine the questions which are not referred to it. The parties will be
entitled to compensation for the extent of the land acquired from them as shown
in the award at the rate fixed by the court below." During the pendency of
the appeal before this Court the original respondent No.2K.P. Saraswathy Amma
died and her legal heirs were substituted by order dated 23rd January, 2004 passed in I.A. No.1 of 2003.
support of the appeal, learned counsel for the appellants submitted that the
Collector was required to refer the actual dispute between the parties and
merely because the question of inter se appropriation was not referred, that
did not exclude the jurisdiction to decide that issue. Reference in this
context was made to Section 31 of the Act.
counsel of the respondents on the other hand took the stand that in a reference
in terms of Section 18 of the Act there is no scope for adjudicating the inter
se dispute relating to aforesaid matter. That is a matter covered by Section 30
of the Act.
18 and 30 of the Act read as follows:
Reference to Court.—
Any person interested who has not accepted the award may, by written
application to the Collector, require that the matter be referred by the
Collector for the determination of the Court, whether his objection be to the
measurement of the land, the amount of the compensation, the persons to whom it
is payable, or the apportionment of the compensation among the persons
The application shall state the grounds on which objection to the award is
that every such application shall be made—
the person making it was present or represented before the Collector at the
time when he made his award, within six weeks from the date of the Collector's
other cases, within six weeks of the receipt of the notice from the Collector
under section 12, sub-section (2); or within six months from the date of the
Collector's award, whichever period shall first expire.
Disputes as to apportionment.—
the amount of compensation has been settled under section 11, if any dispute
arises as to the apportionment of the same or any part thereof, or as to the
persons to whom the same or any part thereof is payable, the Collector may
refer such dispute to the decision of the Court." The reference court
derive jurisdiction from the reference made. References under Section 18 and
Section 30 are conceptually different from each other. The decree in terms of
Section 18 is different from the one in terms of Section 30.
available in terms of Section 55 of the Act is against a decree. The question
whether reference court can deal with the question covered by Section 30 of the
Act in a reference made under Section 18 of the Act and vice versa has been the
subject matter of judicial determination. In (Rai) Pramatha Nath Mullick Bahadur
v. Secry. of State (AIR 1930 PC 64) it was held that the jurisdiction of the
courts under the Act is a special one and strictly limited to the terms of
Sections 18, 20 and 21. It only arises when a specific objection has been taken
to the Collector's Award and it is confined to a consideration of that
objection. Therefore, it is certain that when the only objection taken is to
the amount of compensation that alone is the matter referred and the Court has
no jurisdiction to determine or consider anything beyond it.
Upnivesh Awas Evam Nirman Sahkari Samiti Ltd. v. Allahabad Vikas Pradhikaran and Anr. (2003 (5) SCC 561) the question
related to the exercise of jurisdiction under Section 30 of the Act vis-`-vis
Section 18. Determination in terms of Section 30 has settings of a decision in
the partition suit. In Ajjam Linganna and Others v. Land Acquisition Officer,
Revenue Divisional Officer, Nizamabad and Others. [2002 (9) SCC 426] it was
held that the Reference Court has no power to convert the reference under
Section 30 into one in Section 18 of the Act at the instance of those who did
not apply for reference earlier.
tribunal of limited jurisdiction is not only entitled but bound to determine
whether the matter in which it is asked to exercise its jurisdiction comes
within the limits of its special jurisdiction and whether the jurisdiction of
such tribunal is dependent on the existence of certain facts or circumstances.
Its obvious duty is to see that these facts and circumstances exist to invest
it with jurisdiction, and where a tribunal derives its jurisdiction from the
statute that creates it and that statute also defines the conditions under
which the tribunal can function, it goes without saying that before that
tribunal assumes jurisdiction in a matter, it must be satisfied that the
conditions requisite for its acquiring seisin of that matter have in fact
arisen. As observed by the Privy Council in Nusserwanjee Pestonjee v. Meer Mynoodeen
Khan LR. [(1855) 6 M.I.A. 134 (PC)], wherever jurisdiction is given to a court
by an Act of Parliament and such jurisdiction is only given upon certain specified
terms contained in that Act it is a universal principle that these terms must
be complied with, in order to create and raise the jurisdiction for if they be
not complied with the jurisdiction does not arise. [See: Mohammed Hasnuddin v.
State of Maharashtra (1979 (2) SCC 572)] In_Kothamasu Kanakarathamma
and Others v. State of Andhra
Pradesh and Others
(AIR 1965 SC 304) it was held as follows:
the same since the point was permitted to be urged before it by the High Court
and has been raised before us on behalf of the State it is necessary to decide
it. On behalf of the appellants it was contended before the High Court that by
reason of the failure of the State to raise the plea before the Subordinate
Judge as to the absence of a reference the State must be deemed to have waived
the point. The High Court accepted this argument upon the view that this was
not a case of inherent lack of jurisdiction and that the defect in the
procedure was such as could be waived. In our opinion the view of the High
Court is not correct. Section 12(1) of the Land Acquisition Act provides that
after an award is filed in the Collector's office it shall, except as provided
in the Act, be final and conclusive evidence as between the Collector and the
persons interested of the true area and value of the land and the apportionment
of the compensation among the persons interested.
only manner in which the finality of the award can be called into question is
by resort to the provisions of Sec.18 of the Land Acquisition Act, sub-section
(1) of which reads thus :
person interested who has not accepted the award may, by written application to
the Collector, require that the matter be referred by the Collector for the
determination of the Court, whether his objection be to the measurement of the
land, the amount of the compensation, the persons to whom it is payable, or the
apportionment of the compensation among the persons interested." The
proviso to sub-section (2) prescribes the time within which an application under
to be made. Section 19 provides for the making of a reference by the Collector
and specifies the matters which are to be comprised in that reference. Thus the
matter goes to the court only upon a reference made by the Collector. It is only
after such a reference is made that the court is empowered to determine the
objections made by a claimant to the award. Section 21 restricts the scope of
the proceedings before the court to consideration of the contentions of the
persons affected by the objection. These provisions thus leave no doubt that
the jurisdiction of the court arises solely on the basis of a reference made to
it. No doubt, the Land Acquisition Officer has made a reference under s. 30 of
the Land Acquisition Act but that reference was only in regard to the
apportionment of the compensation amongst the various claimants. Such a
reference would certainly not invest the court with the jurisdiction to
consider a matter not directly connected with it. This is really not a mere
technicality for as pointed out by the Privy Council in Nusserwanjee Pestonjee
& Ors. v. Meer Mynoodeen Khan Wullud Meer Sudroodeen Khan Bahadoor, 6 Moo Ind
App.134 at p.155(PC) wherever jurisdiction is given by a statute and such
jurisdiction is only given upon certain specified terms contained therein it is
a universal principle that those terms should be complied with, in order to
create and raise the jurisdiction, and if they are not complied with the
jurisdiction does not arise. This was, therefore, a case of lack of inherent
jurisdiction and the failure of the State to object to the proceedings before
the court on the ground of an absence of reference in so far as the
determination of compensation was concerned cannot amount to waiver or
acquiescence. Indeed, when there is an absence of inherent jurisdiction, the
defect cannot be waived nor can be cured by acquiescence." Above being the
position, the High Court's view that it was impermissible to deal with the
matter covered under Section 30 of the Act while dealing with a reference in
terms of Section 18 of the Act is irreversible.
it is to be noted that there is no time limit for seeking reference under
Section 30 of the Act, though it should always be done within a reasonable
time. The reasonableness of time flows from the need for a finality to judicial
background of the facts situation of the present case, it would be appropriate
to permit the appellants to make an application before the competent Land
Acquisition Authority seeking reference in terms of Section 30 of the Act.
that is done, the necessary reference shall be made expeditiously. The amount
in deposit shall be transmitted to the concerned court. It shall be open to the
parties to seek withdrawal of such portion of the awarded amount in deposit on
such terms as may be deemed proper by the said Court.
counsel for the parties stated that motion shall be moved for getting
withdrawal with security. That is an aspect that the concerned court shall deal
with in accordance with law.
is dismissed except to the extent indicated. No costs.