Des Raj & Ors Vs. Union of
India & Anr  Insc 600 (1 October 2004)
Shivaraj V. Patil & B.N.
Srikrishna W I T H Civil Appeal No. 5026 of 1999 Shivaraj V. Patil J.
Certain agricultural lands including lands of these appellants were acquired
pursuant to the Notification dated 23.1.1965 issued under Section 4 of the Land
Acquisition Act, 1894 (for short `the Act'). Award was made in March, 1969
fixing the compensation @ Rs. 2,000/- per bigha. The appellants and other
claimants, not satisfied with the amount of compensation so awarded, sought a
reference under Section 18 of the Act. The Additional District Judge, i.e., the
reference court enhanced the compensation @2,200/- per bigha from Rs. 2,000/-.
The appellants and four other claimants filed appeals before the High Court
seeking further enhancement of the compensation amount.
The High Court disposed of six appeals including two appeals of these
appellants by common judgment on 11.10.1984 fixing the compensation @ Rs.
4,000/- per bigha. These appellants did not pursue the matter any further, if
aggrieved by the aforementioned judgment of the High Court. However, Pratap
Singh and others, appellants in one of the six appeals before the High Court,
approached this Court aggrieved by the aforementioned judgment of the High
Court. This Court allowed their Civil Appeal No.
4099/88 by the order dated 22.11.1988 and remanded the case to the High
Court with certain observations to re- determine the amount of compensation.
The appellants filed review applications long thereafter before the High Court
seeking review of the judgment of the High Court dated 11.10.1984 on the ground
that Pratap Singh and others whose lands were also acquired under the same
notification and who were similarly placed, got higher rate of compensation for
the lands acquired along with the statutory benefits, hence the appellants also
were entitled for higher amount of compensation; under Section 28-A of the Act,
the appellants were also entitled for the amount of compensation at the same rate
which was allowed to Pratap Singh and others. The Division Bench of the High
Court, by impugned judgments dated 22.10.1997, dismissed the review
applications. Hence, these appeals.
Learned counsel for the appellants urged that when this Court has set aside
one of the cases covered by common judgment of the High Court, i.e., the case
of Pratap Singh and others and after remand of the case, the amount of
compensation has been considerably enhanced, the same benefit ought to have
been given to the appellants; having regard to the provisions of Section 28-A
of the Act and keeping in view the legislative intention, the benefit of
enhanced compensation as determined in the case of Pratap Singh and others
ought to have been extended to these appellants as well and this Court,
exercising power under Article 142 of the Constitution of India to equalize the
compensation in respect of similarly placed people in all respects, could
enhance the amount of compensation @Rs. 40,000/- as fixed in the case of Pratap
Singh and others after remand of the case. In support of his submissions, he
cited few decisions.
Despite service of notice, none represented the respondents.
We have considered the submissions made by the learned counsel for the
appellants. The facts that are not in dispute are the following:
The first appeals filed by these two appellants and four others were
disposed of by the High Court by the common judgment dated 11.10.1984. These
two appellants did not challenge the said judgment of the High Court any further.
Pratap Singh and others, who were also the appellants in the said judgment of
the High Court, approached this Court and at their instance, their appeal was
allowed by this Court and the case was remanded. It is thereafter the High
Court has enhanced the amount of compensation in the case of Pratap Singh and
others. The judgment dated 11.10.1984 rendered by the High Court in the case of
these appellants had become final. Long thereafter, the appellants filed review
applications seeking the review of the judgment of the High Court dated
11.10.1984. The High Court dismissed the review applications by the impugned
In the impugned judgments, the High Court has taken note of the fact that
the appellants did not challenge the judgment of the High Court dated
11.10.1984 in appeal, as was done by Pratap Singh and others. As a result,
judgment and decree dated 11.10.1984 in their cases became final. In the
impugned judgment, the High Court has stated thus:- "It is pertinent to
note that the applicants herein, namely the appellants in RFA Nos. 143/75 &
130/75, did not challenge the judgment dated 11.10.1984 in appeal, as was done
by Pratap Singh and others. As a result, judgment and decree dated 11.10.1984
in their case became final." The High Court also has noticed that although
in the review applications reliance was sought to be placed on Section 28-A of
the Act claiming re-determination of the amount of compensation equal to that
awarded to other interested persons in the same village, however, during the
course of the hearing, learned counsel for the appellants abandoned that plea
in the light of the judgment of this Court in Jose Antonio Cruz Dos R. Rodriguese
etc. vs. Land Acquisition Collector & Anr. [ JT 1996 (10 SC 573]. In
this view, the High Court, by the impugned judgments, dismissed the review
applications filed by the appellants.
The decision in B.N. Natarajan & Ors. Etc. vs. State of Mysore and Ors.
Etc. [AIR 1966 SC 1942] does not help the appellants. That was a case dealing
with the power of executive to make rules regulating the recruitment and
conditions of service of persons appointed to public services whether
executive was entitled to frame rules retrospectively. Further in that case, in
paragraph 24, specific directions were given exercising power under Article 142
of the Constitution of India to cover the cases of those appellants who had not
prosecuted their appeals. Para 24 of the judgment reads:- "24. In the
result, the appeals both of the State and the other appellants are allowed and
judgment of the High Court set aside. We may mention that some of the
appellants have not prosecuted their appeals but there is no reason why they
should not have the benefit of this judgment, and exercising our powers under
Article 142 of the Constitution, we direct that in order to do complete justice
they should also have the benefit of the judgment given by us.
There will be no order as to costs." No such direction was given by
this Court in Civil Appeal No. 4099/88 of Pratap Singh and others and the
directions given there were confined to them only.
In M/s. Shenoy and Co., Bangalore and Ors. vs.
Commercial Tax Officer, Circle II, Bangalore and Ors.
[AIR 1985 SC 621], this Court was concerned with validity of Karnataka Tax
on Entry of Goods into Local Areas for Consumption, Use or Sale Therein Act,
1979. That was a case where the validity of the provisions of the Act was
challenged by a batch of writ petitions and the Division Bench of the High
Court struck down the Act as invalid.
State Government filed an appeal to the Supreme Court against only one party
and the appeal was allowed. As a result, there was revival of the Act and it
was binding on all the persons though they were not parties to the appeal.
Hence, this decision also does not advance the case of the appellants.
Union of India & Ors. [JT 1993 (5) SC 465] is also of no avail to the
appellants. In that case, the court was concerned with the long delay of 15 to
21 years in making the award after declaration was made and certain directions
were given to give benefit of the compensation amount having regard to the long
The decision of this Court in Union Carbide Corporation etc. etc. vs. Union
of India etc. etc. [ AIR 1992 SC 248] dealt with the power of this Court under
Article 142 in relation to the facts of that case. It cannot be denied that
this Court can exercise power under Article 142 in appropriate cases. We fail
to understand how this case helps the appellants having regard to the fact that
in their cases, the common judgment of the High Court dated 11.10.1984 had
become final and that judgment could not be reviewed as sought to be done by
the appellants. This is not a case where power under Article 142 may be
exercised having regard to the statutory provisions as applied to the facts of
The case of Bihar State Housing Board, State of SC 2134] also does not
support the contention of the appellants as is evident from para 2 of the
It was on the peculiar facts and circumstances of those cases that certain
directions were given and no issue of law was decided.
In our view, the appellants are not entitled to claim enhanced compensation
pressing into service the provisions of Section 28-A of the Act. The learned
counsel for the appellants before the High Court did not press the claim of the
appellants on this ground as recorded in the impugned judgments, having not
made the applications within the prescribed time. Moreover, benefit of Section
28-A is available only to the parties who had not sought reference under
Section 18 of the Act for enhancement of the compensation. This provision is
not available to persons who seek for reference under Section 18 of the Act for
enhancement of the compensation and do not challenge judgment of the reference
court or the judgment of the High Court thereafter. A bench of three learned
Judges of this Court in Scheduled Caste Co-operative Land Owning Society Ltd., Bhatinda
vs. Union of India & Ors. [(1991) 1 SCC 174] in this regard, in para 4, has
held thus:- "4. ................................Any person who does not
accept the award so made may, by written application to the Collector, required
that the matter be referred for the determination of the court whereupon the
provisions of Sections 18 and 28 shall, so far as may be, apply to such
reference as they apply to a reference under Section 18. It is obvious on a
plain reading of sub-section (1) of Section 28-A that it applies only to those
claimants who had failed to seek a reference under Section 18 of the Act. The redetermination
has to be done by the Collector on the basis of the compensation awarded by the
court in the reference under Section 18 of the Act and an application in that
behalf has to be made to the Collector within 30 days from the date of the
award. Thus only those claimants who had failed to apply for a reference under
Section 18 of the Act are conferred this right to apply to the Collector for redetermination
and not all those like the petitioners who had not only sought a reference under
Section 18 but had also filed an appeal in the High Court against the award
made by the reference court. The newly added Section 28-A, therefore, clearly
does not apply to a case where the claimant has sought and secured a reference
under Section 18 and has even preferred an appeal in the High Court. This view,
which we take on a plain reading of Section 28-A finds support from the
judgment of this Court in Mewa Ram v. State of Haryana. ((1986) 4 SCC 151 :
(1986) 3 SCR 660)." This Court again in the case of Babua Ram & Ors.
vs. State of U.P. & Anr. [(1995) 2 SCC 689] following the decision in
Scheduled Caste Co-operative Land Owning Society Ltd., Bhatinda (supra), in para
36, has stated thus:- "36. The next question is whether an interested
person who sought and secured reference under Section 18 but was either
unsuccessful and filed no appeal or had carried in appeal but unsuccessful,
would be entitled to redetermination when the compensation was enhanced by the
appellate court either under Section 54 or on further appeal under Articles
132, 133 and 136 of the Constitution. In Mewa Ram case this Court held in
paragraph 5 that Section 28-A provides for the determination of amount of
compensation subject to the conditions laid down therein are fulfilled. For
such redetermination, the forum is the Collector and the application has to be
made before him within 30 days from the date of the award under Section 26 and
the right is restricted to persons who had not applied for reference under
Section 18 of the Act. If these conditions are satisfied, the petitioner could
have availed of the remedy provided under Section 28-A of the Act."
Admittedly, the appellants in these cases did seek for reference under Section
18 of the Act; filed appeals before the High Court and after the High Court
delivered the judgment on 11.10.1984, did not challenge the same. The
applications were not made under Section 28-A of the Act within the prescribed
period of limitation also in these cases. At any rate, the grounds raised in the
review applications were not the grounds which could be accepted to review or
modify the judgment of the High Court dated 11.10.1984. In our view, the High
Court was right in dismissing their review applications for the reasons stated
in the impugned judgments.
Thus, having regard to all aspects of the matter, it is not possible to find
fault with the impugned judgments.
Further, in our view, these are not the fit cases to exercise power under
Article 142 of the Constitution of India having regard to what is stated above
and in view of the clear legal position as stated in Scheduled Caste
Co-operative Land Owning Society Ltd., Bhatinda (supra). Hence, finding no
merit in these appeals, they are dismissed but with no order as to costs.