Singh @ Naranjan Singh & Ors Vs. State of Punjab  INSC 187 (21 March
K. Ramaswamy, K. Venkatachala N. (J) Ahmad Saghir S. (J)
1995 AIR 1726 1995 SCC (4) 101 JT 1995 (3) 422 1995 SCALE (2)598
the lands of the appellants acquired by the notification under s.4(1) of the
Land Acquisition Act, published on October 15, 1971, the Land Acquisition
Collector, in his award dated January 24, 1973, awarded a sum of Rs. 1,30,949.30/-.
On reference, the Addl. District Judge, by his award and decree dated August 27, 1975, enhanced the compensation at the
rate of Rs.300/- per marla but, on appeal by the respondent in R.F.A. No.
15/1976, it was reduced to Rs.255/- per marla. Pending appeal, the appellants
had executed and recovered the enhanced com- pensation with interest on May 27, 1976. The State, therefore, filed an
application under s. 144 CPC on February 28, 1983 for restitution of the excess amount with interest payable
thereon. The appellant had deposited principal excess amount of Rs.57,920.26 on
February 21, 1985. The District Judge by his order
dated March 15, 1985 while upholding restitution of the
excess amount, disallowed interest payable thereon. On appeal, the High Court
by the impugned order in Execution F.A. No. 1374/85 dated November 5, 1985 directed the appellants to pay
interest. Thus this appeal by special leave.
counsel for the appellants vehemently contended that in an application for
restitution under s. 144 of the CPC the respondent is not entitled to the
interest, since there was no direction to pay interest. We find no force in the
contention. Admittedly, the appellants had realised the enhanced amount of
compensation with /interest computed under s.28 of the Act.
Under s.144 C.P.C., the doctrine of restitution contemplates that where
property was received by a decree- holder in execution of a decree which, on
appeal, either in whole or in part thereof, is subsequently reversed or varied,
the court is empowered to restore to the judgment debtor what has been lost to
him in execution of the decree and it is the consequence of the erroneous
decree. The restitution is consequential to the variation or reversal of the
decree or on its being modified or set aside. The condition precedent for
restitution, therefore, is that the decree of the, trial court must be reversed
or varied in appeal or otherwise. The word "consequentially" lays
emphasis on the obligation on the party to the suit or proceedings who received
the benefit of the erroneous decree to make restitution to the other party for
what he has lost.
court therefore, is bound to restore the parties, as far as they can be, to the
same position they were at the time when the court by its erroneous action had
displaced them from it. Equally where a sum of money was recovered in execution
by a decree which was subsequently reversed or varied, the judgment-debtor is
entitled to get back not only the sum recovered but also the interest thereon
or damages or compensation for the period that the amount had been retained by
him. The reason being that the person who has taken the money improperly from
the judgment-debtor has to 425 restitute to him the amount as a corollary with
interest during the time that the money has been withheld from him.
owner or the person interested in the land when recovered the compensation
under the award and decree which was reversed, varied or modified on appeal,
the court is empowered under s.144 CPC to restitute the amount to the State
with interest or quantified damages or by way of compensation.
is seen that the High Court had reduced the compensation from Rs.300 to Rs.255,per
marla and in the meanwhile the appellants had recovered the award amount at
Rs.300/- per marla in execution with interest. So the appellants are liable to
restitute the excess amount realised in execution of the decree of the
reference court or appeal under s.54 with interest. Granting of interest or
damage or compensation is consequential to the variation, reversal or setting
aside of the enhanced compensation under s.23(1) and computation of statutory
interest under s.28 on enhanced compensation and interest on solatium if paid
as per the decree or order of the Court. The State is entitled to restitute of
the benefit accrued to the owner in the original decree. Direction to restitute
the amount with interest is within the powers conferred on the court under s.
144 of the Code. Therefore, the High Court rightly directed the appellants to
refund the enhanced amount with interest since the appellants had the benefit
of the money after the realisation till date of return or restitution.
appeal is dismissed. No costs.