Singh & Ors. Vs. Union of India & ANR.  INSC 1368 (4 August 2009)
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CIVIL APPEAL NO. 7209 OF
2004 Bhagat Singh and others .... Appellants Versus Union of India and another
... Respondents WITH CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 7210 OF 2004 Mehar Singh and others ....
Appellants Versus Union of India ... Respondent
Appellants were owners of the lands situate in village Ghewra.
lands were acquired for a public purpose, namely construction of L.P.G.
Bottling Plant. Notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894
(for short `the Act') was issued on 18th March, 1985 in terms whereof,
compensation @ Rs.14,000/- ; Rs.12,000/- and Rs.10,000/- per bigha was offered
categorizing the acquired lands in three categories viz. `A', `B' and `C'.
Applications for reference in terms of Section 18 of the Act
having been made, the Reference Court determined the fair market value at
Rs.23,970/- ; Rs. 21,970/- and Rs.19,970/- per bigha respectively having regard
to categorization by the Land Acquisition Collector.
Being dissatisfied with the said judgment the appellants filed
Appeals before the High Court claiming compensation at the rate of Rs.40,000/-
per bigha. However, a Division Bench of the High Court, having regard to its
earlier decision rendered in Ranjit Singh vs. Union of India reported in
48(1992) DLT 138, where the lands were acquired for the same purpose and under
the same Notification, determined the market value at Rs.26,.775/- ;
Rs.24,775/- and Rs.22,775/- per bigha for categories `A', `B' and `C'
The contention raised before us is that the High Court committed a
serious error in passing the impugned judgment in so far as it three sale 2
deeds which were marked as Exts. A-5 to A-7 had not been taken into
consideration. The details of the said sale deeds are as under :- "(i)
Vide Ex.A-5, 2 Bigha 1 Biswas land in village Ghewra was sold for Rs.45,000/-
i.e. around Rs.22,000/- per Bigha as on 15.10.81"
Ex.A-6, 2 Bigha 13 Bisws land was sold in village Tikri Kalan for Rs.42,000/-
approx. per bigha.
Vide Ex.A-7, 12 Biswas land in village Tikri was sold on 23.10.81 for
Rs.25,000/- i.e. @ Rs.41,650/- per bigha approx.
appellants furthermore relied on a purported Lok Adalat Award wherein the
market value of the similarly situated land was fixed at Rs.22,000/- per bigha.
attention has also been drawn to a document purported to be showing the Market
Price of Delhi Agricultural Lands.
The High Court, as noticed above, has proceeded to determine the
market value of the land keeping in view its earlier decision in Ranjit Singh
A Special Leave Petition being No.3211 of 1993 was filed by Ranjit
Singh against the said order which stood dismissed in limine on 19th April,
In absence of any material brought on record, it is difficult to
disagree with the High Court's opinion particularly when our attention has not
been drawn to any evidence that the lands in the case of Ranjit Singh was
inferior in character vis-`-vis the lands acquired in the present case or that
some other additional materials have been brought on record in the present case
so as enable this Court to take a different view.
So far as the three deeds of sale relied upon by the appellants
are concerned, we may notice that Exts.A-6 and A-7 were in respect of land
situated in two different villages. Ext.A-5 pertains to the village in question
wherein the land was stated to have been sold at Rs.22,000/- per bigha.
The principal question which arises for our consideration is what
principle should be applied for determining the market value of the land.
It is now
a well settled principle of law that the determination of the market value of
the land acquired, indisputably would depend upon a large number of factors,
including the nature and quality thereof. The 4 norms which are required to be
applied for determination of the market value of the agricultural land and
homestead land may be different. In given cases location of land and in
particular, closeness thereof from any road or high-way would play an important
role for determination of the market value wherefor belting system may in
appropriate cases have to be resorted to. The position of the land,
particularly in rainy season, existence of any building etc. also plays an
important role. A host of other factors including development in and around the
acquired land and/or the potentiality of the development will have a bearing on
determination of the value of the land.
Determination of the market value of the land may also depend upon
the facts and circumstances of each case, amongst them, however, would be the
price of land, amount of consideration mentioned in a deed of sale executed in
respect of similarly situated land near about the date of issuance of
Notification under Section 4(1) of the Act ; in the absence of any such
exemplars the market value can be determined on yield basis or in case of an
orchard on the basis of number of fruit bearing trees. It is also well settled
that for price determination purposes, the courts would 5 be well advised to
consider the positive and negative factors, as has been laid down by this Court
in Viluben Jhalejar Contractor vs. State of Gujarat [(2005) 4 SCC 789], namely
:- Positive factors Negative factors (i) Smallness of size (i) Largeness of
area (ii) Proximity to a road (ii) Situation in the interior at a distance from
the road (iii) Frontage on a road (iii) Narrow strip of land with very small
frontage compared to depth (iv) Nearness to developed area (iv) Lower level
requiring the depressed portion to be filled up (v) Regular shape (v)
Remoteness from developed locality (vi) Level vis-`-vis land under (vi) Some
special disadvantageous acquisition factors which would deter a purchaser (vii)
Special value for an owner of an adjoining property to whom it may have some
very special advantage.
This Court in Union of India v. Pramod Gupta, [(2005) 12 SCC 1],
on the question of determination of market value opined :- 6 "24. While
determining the amount of compensation payable in respect of the lands acquired
by the State, the market value therefor indisputably has to be ascertained.
There exist different modes therefor.
best method, as is well known, would be the amount which a willing purchaser
would pay to the owner of the land. In absence of any direct evidence, the
court, however, may take recourse to various other known methods.
admissible therefor inter alia would be judgments and awards passed in respect
of acquisitions of lands made in the same village and/or neighbouring villages.
Such a judgment and award, in the absence of any other evidence like the deed
of sale, report of the expert and other relevant evidence would have only
Therefore, the contention that as the Union of India was a party to the said
awards would not by itself be a ground to invoke the principles of res judicata
such awards it may be open to the Union of India to question the entitlement of
the respondent claimants to the amount of compensation and/or the statutory
limitations in respect thereof. It would also be open to it to raise other
contentions relying on or on the basis of other materials brought on record. It
was also open to the appellant to contend that the lands under acquisition are
not similar to the lands in respect whereof judgments have been delivered. The
area of the land, the nature thereof, advantages and disadvantages occurring
therein amongst others would be relevant factors for determining the actual
market value of the property although such judgments/awards, if duly brought on
record, as stated hereinbefore, would be admissible in evidence."
7 It was
furthermore noticed :- "36. Yet again in Ras Behari Mandal v. Raja
Jagadish Chandra Deo Dhaubal Deb the Patna High Court reiterated the
presumption that the lessor retains all the rights in mines and quarries. It
also noticed the decision of the House of Lords in Great Western Rly. Co. v.
United China Clay Co. Ltd.wherein a grant reserving minerals was held to
exclude a deposit of china clay despite the fact that the same was found near
furthermore noticed :- "82. In V. Hanumantha Reddy v. Land Acquisition
Officer & Mandal R. Officer the law is stated in the following terms:
is now a well-established principle of law that the land abutting the national
highway will fetch far more higher price than the land lying interior."
Court furthermore opined :- "84. It is also trite to state that the market
value of agricultural land is lower than that of the land suitable for
commercial purposes. (See Om Prakash v. Union of India.) It was observed :- "87.
The courts will also have to take into consideration the enormity of the
financial implication of enhancement in view of the size of the land acquired
for a particular project."
Ranvir Singh v. Union of India, [(2005) 12 SCC 59], this Court held as under :-
"22. Concededly, 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. The 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."
to Cement Corporation (supra), it was opined that the High Court was required
to consider the deeds of sale in their proper perspective for determining the
market value of the acquired land.
Karimbanakkal Sulaiman (Dead) by L.Rs. v. Special Tahsildar for K.A.K.P.I.P.,
[(2004) 13 SCC 643], this Court held:
factors have been taken into consideration by the High Court in fixing the land
value. Moreover, the land acquired was agricultural land and it was acquired
for the purpose of an irrigation project. There is nothing on record to show
that the land had any commercial value or future potentialities. We do not
think that the land value fixed is too low to be interfered with by this
Viluben Jhalejar Contractor v. State of Gujarat, [(2005) 4 SCC 789], this Court
opined that :- "24. The purpose for which acquisition is made is also a
relevant factor for determining the market value. In Basavva v. Spl. Land
Acquisition Officer deduction to the extent of 65% was made towards development
Kumar v. Union of India, [ (1996) 11 SCC 542 ], this Court has opined that even
if the entire land is of one village all the persons cannot be given same
compensation, stating:- "....It has been firmly settled law by beadroll of
decisions of this Court that the Judge determining the compensation under
Section 23(1) should sit in the armchair of a willing prudent purchaser in an
open market and see whether he would offer the same amount proposed to be fixed
as market value as a willing and prudent buyer for the same or similar land,
i.e., land possessing all the advantageous features and to the same extent.
should always be kept in view and answered affirmatively, taking into
consideration all relevant facts and circumstances. If feats of imagination are
allowed to sway, he outsteps his domain of judicial decision and lands in
misconduct amenable to disciplinary law..."
Our attention has not been drawn to any discussion made either by
the Reference Court or any other evidence brought on record to establish that
the land under Ext. A-5 was similar to the lands under acquisition in the
appeals in question. It has also not been shown to which category the 10 land
sold in terms of the sale deed Ext. A-5 dated 15th October, 1981 would fall.
Even assuming that some appreciation has taken place, the market value of the
land, even for `C' category has been fixed at Rs.2275/- per bigha; as such we
are of the opinion that appellants have not been prejudiced in any manner.
For the reasons aforesaid these appeals fail and are dismissed. No
......................................J. [ S.B. Sinha ]