Chhanga Singh & ANR.
Vs. Union of India & ANR.
[Civil Appeal No.
4322 of 2012 arising out of SLP(C) No. 8643 of 2009]
O R D E R
controversy in this appeal lies in a very narrow compass. The sole issue
involved herein is as to whether the appellants are entitled for interest over
the amount of solatium granted to them.
facts necessary to adjudicate upon the controversy in this appeal are that:
land of the appellants stood notified under Section 4 of the Land acquisition
Act, 1894 (hereinafter being referred to as the Act) on 30th October, 1963.
In respect of the said land, Declaration under Section 6 of the Act was made on
16th January, 1969.
was awarded under Section 11 of the Act on 17th September, 1986 assessing the
market value of the land @ Rs.4350 per bigha. Being aggrieved, the appellants
made an application for reference under Section 18 of the Act, and the Reference
Court vide award dated Ist June, 2001 assessed the market value of the land
@Rs.16,750/- per bigha and awarded the solatium as provided under the Act.
However, interest was not awarded on the amount of solatium and it restricted
only to the enhanced amount of compensation.
appellants filed the execution petition on 3rd September, 2001.
was during the pendency of the execution proceedings, this Court decided the
matter in Sunder v. Union of India, (2001) 7 SCC 211 on 19th September, 2001 explaining
that persons- interested like the appellants are also entitled for interest on amount
far as this case is concerned, the respondents made the payment as per the
award of the Reference Court dated Ist June, 2001 on 15th April, 2004 partly.
The appellants filed an application on 6th May, 2004 for claiming the balance
amount including the interest on solatium. The Execution Court rejected the
said application vide order dated 22nd November, 2006 which was challenged unsuccessfully
before the High Court by the appellants as the High Court rejected their claim for
the said relief vide impugned judgment and order dated 10th September, 2008. Hence,
have heard learned counsel for the parties and gone through various judgments.
learned counsel for the appellants have placed a very heavy reliance on the
judgment of this Court in Gurpreet Singh v. Union of India (2006) 8 SCC 457,
wherein the legal position in this regard has been explained as under: 54. One
other question also was sought to be raised and answered by this Bench though
not referred to it. Considering that the question arises in various cases
pending in courts all over the country, we permitted the counsel to address us
on that question.
That question is
whether in the light of the decision in Sunder, the awardee/decree-holder would
be entitled to claim interest on solatium in execution though it is not
specifically granted by the decree. It is well settled that an execution court
cannot go behind the decree. If, therefore, the claim for interest on solatium had
been made and the same has been negatived either expressly or by necessary
implication by the judgment or decree of the Reference Court or of the
appellate court, the execution court will have necessarily to reject the claim
for interest on solatium based on Sunder on the ground that the execution court
cannot go behind the decree.
But if the award of
the Reference Court or that of the appellate court does not specifically refer to
the question of interest on solatium or in cases where claim had not been made and
rejected either expressly or impliedly by the Reference Court or the appellate court,
and merely interest on compensation is awarded, then it would be open to the
execution court to apply the ratio of Sunder and say that the compensation awarded
includes solatium and in such an event interest on the amount could be directed
to be deposited in execution. Otherwise, not. We also clarify that such
interest on solatium can be claimed only in pending executions and not in
closed executions and the execution court will be entitled to permit its
recovery from the date of the judgment in Sunder (19-9-2001) and not for any prior
We also clarify that
this will not entail any reappropriation or fresh appropriation by the
decree-holder. This we have indicated by way of clarification also in exercise
of our power under Articles 141 and 142 of the Constitution of India with a view
to avoid multiplicity of litigation on this question. While deciding the said
case, this Court has considered and explained the judgment in Sunder (Supra).
view taken by the Constitution Bench has consistently been re-iterated and
followed by this Court as is evident from the judgments in Land Acquisition Officer
and Assistant Commissioner & Anr. v. Shivappa Mallappa Jigalur & Ors.
(2010) 12 SCC 387; Nadirsha Shapurji Patel (dead) by Lrs. & Ors. v. Deputy Collector
& Land Acquisition Officer & Anr. (2010) 13 SCC 234; and Iyasamy & Anr.
v. Special Tahsildar, Land Acquisition (2010) 10 SCC 464.
view of the above, the submissions of the appellants are worth acceptance. The
appeal is accordingly allowed. The respondents are directed to make the payment
of interest on the solatium as per the law laid down in Gurpreet Singh (Supra)
within a period of three months from today.
(Dr. B.S. CHAUHAN)
(JAGDISH SINGH KHEHAR)