Walimchand Vs. State of Maharashtra  INSC 4 (6 January 1998)
Anand, S. Rajendra Babu
APPEAL NO. 7440 OF 1983
O R D
order will dispose of both appeals as they arise out of the same judgment and
order of the High Court of Bombay, dated 26.9.1979.
measuring 14 acres and 9 Gunthas, which is subject matter of these appeals,
situate in village Kedgaon, Taluka Nagar, District Ahmednagar, Maharashtra was acquired by the State.
Notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act (hereinafter the Act)
was issued on 1.3.1969.
under section 6 of the Act was published in the gazette on 26.6.1969. The land
was acquired for public purpose for extension of living place for the
population as also for construction of government godowns. The Land Acquisition
Collector, vide Award dated 29.9.1970 determined the market value of the land
at Rs.3,000/- per acre and Rs.3200/- per acre Compensation amounting to Rs.
49,301/- was awarded. Aggrieved by the Award of the Land Acquisition Collector,
the claimants sought a reference under Section 18 of the Act. The learned joint
Civil judge, vide his Award dated 28th August, 1971, determined the market
value @ Rs.1/- per square foot, inter-alia after taking into account rates
fixed by a Cooperative Housing Society for sale of plots by it to its members
and outsiders in the vicinity of the acquired land. The reference court awarded
a total compensation of Rs.6,16,118.60 ps. The respondent - State approached
the High Court against the award of the reference court. On 26.9.1979, the High
Court set aside the award of the reference court made under Section 18 of the
Act and restored that of the Land Acquisition Collector, dated 29th September, 1970. Hence, these appeals by special
leave by the claimants.
Mahajan, learned counsel appearing for the appellants has assailed the judgment
and order of the High Court principally on the ground that the High Court
failed to take into account future potentiality and instead based itself only
on the realized possibility and thus committed an error. Learned counsel has,
in support of his contention, Officer, Hyderabad Urban Development Authority, Hyderabad
& Ors. (1995 (2) SCC 305). Both the judgments do support support the
submission of Mr. Mahajan.
learned counsel appearing for the State has supported the judgment and order of
the High Court and submitted that the land was agricultural land, the High
Court rightly took into account that fact and disapproved the approach of the
reference court which, according to the learned counsel, was influenced by the
rates fixed by the Ambika Cooperative Housing Society which consideration was
not a relevant consideration since the land of the Ambika Cooperative Housing Society
was developed land and had been sold in plots to its various members and
have given our thoughtful consideration to the submissions made at the bar.
High Court has noticed in the impugned judgment and order that the `location'
of the land indicates that it has building potential but fell into an error in
ignoring that factor by observing:
is no record of any income being received by any of the land owners. These
lands must, therefore, be valued as agricultural land with no potentiality
whatsoever in the foreseeable future." We are unable to find any
justification for such observation and finding. The above finding of the High
Court is contradictory to the earlier finding based on the location of the
land. It is nodoubt correct that the reference court was influenced by sale Cransactions
in respect of developed land and it failed to make any deduction for
development of land while enhancing the compensation, but the High Court fell
in error in ignoring the future potential of the land in question and instead
resting its finding as realized potential only. The evidence on the record
clearly establishes that the acquired land did have future potential on account
of its location. It is not denied that the area around the city of Ahmednagar
is fast developing and the land in question was located only at a short
distance of about one and a half miles form Ahmednagar town. The finding
recorded by the High Court to the effect that there was no demand of any urban
character in respect of the land in question is belied by the evidence on
the land unlike the Housing Society Land was not developed and, therefore,
proper course for the High Court would have been that it should have taken not
of development charges, and made some suitable deduction for the same. The
reference court had made the Award based on the material on the record but had
failed to notice that acquired land was still undeveloped. It, therefore,
appears appropriate to us to set aside the impugned judgment and order of the
High Court and restore the award made by the reference court with the
modification that out of the amount fixed by the reference court @ Rs. 1/- per
square foot, deduction to the extent of 50 paisa per square foot, towards
development charges, shall be made and compensation calculated on that bsis and
shall paid to the claimants in accordance with their holdings, along with the
statutory benefits of solatium and interest.
impugned judgment and order of the High Court is set aside. With the aforesaid
modification of the award of the reference court, the appeals are disposed of.
There shall, however, be no order as to costs.