Report No. 10
59. Section 3.-
Apart from some modifications introduced in the definition of the existing expressions, some of the expressions defined in the Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property Act, 1952 (XXX of 1952), have also been incorporated:
(i) Appropriate Government.- There is no material change in the definition of this expression.
(ii) Collector.- There is no material change here also.
(iii) Company.- An alteration has been effected in the definition of a company, keeping in view the new provisions in the Companies Act, 1956. The definition has been simplified so as to make it clear that companies registered under the previous Company Law are also within the purview of the definition. As regards foreign companies, if their principal place of business is in India, they would come within the scope of the definition.
Co-operative Societies have been kept outside the definition of company. While the purposes for which acquisition can be made for the benefit of companies are very limited, in the case of Co-operative Societies which have been brought into existence under the Central or the State Acts, there may be very many objects satisfying the definition of a public purpose, for which acquisition of land may have to be made. Acquisitions for a co-operative building society would be a pertinent example in this connection. If the purpose for which land is required by a Co-operative Society is a public purpose they should be at liberty to approach the concerned Government for acquiring the land.
The existing section 38A of the Land Acquisition Act treats an industrial concern, as defined by it, to be a company. We think that these may more appropriately be included in the definition of company. The definition in section 38A has, however, been criticised as being very narrow in its scope and it has been suggested that the definition should be enlarged. We have accepted this suggestion. Various industrial and housing schemes have been launched by the State Governments in the public sector and by industrialists in the private sector. We have, therefore, modified the definition of 'industrial concern' in the light of the provisions of the Factories Act and the Income-tax Act, and incorporated it in the definition of 'company'.
(iv) Competent authority.- This definition has been taken from the (Central) Requisitioning Act of 1952, with slight verbal changes.
(v) Co-operative Society.- This new definition has been added in view of the inclusive and enlarged definition of public purpose which brings within its purview acquisition for a Co-operative Society.
(vi)Court.- Owing to the large volume of work in recent times relating to acquisition of land, it has become necessary to empower courts other than the District Court to deal with such matters. The powers of the District Judge are very frequently delegated to the subordinate courts. If power is given to the State Governments to empower a subordinate Judge or even a Munsif where the claim for compensation is within his pecuniary limits, to exercise the powers of the Court under the Act, there will be quicker disposal of land acquisition proceedings. An appeal from such a court should lie to the Court to which appeals ordinarily lie from that court. If the number of cases are numerous enough to justify such action, it would be open to the State Governments to establish a court to deal exclusively with land acquisition matters and this will result in a speedier disposal of the cases. The proposed definition follows more or less the definition of 'Court' substituted by the West Bengal Land Acquisition (Bengal Amendment) Act, 1934 (II of 1934).
(vii) Land.- In the Land Acquisition Act, "land" is defined thus: "The expression 'land' includes benefits; to arise out of land and things attached to the earth or permanently fastened to anything attached to the earth." The Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property Act, 1952, uses the word 'property' and defines it as meaning "immovable property of every kind and includes any rights in or over such property." The expression 'immovable property' is defined in the General Clauses Act (X of 1897) as including "land, benefits to arise out of land and things attached to the earth or permanently fastened to anything attached to the earth." It will be noticed that the definition of land in the Land Acquisition Act has the same meaning as that of immovable property in the General Clauses Act.
There is also no substantial difference in the definition of "land" in the Land Acquisition Act and of 'property' in the Requisitioning and Acquisition Act of 1952. Hence in order to achieve uniformity, we have adopted the definition of land in the Land Acquisition Act. It will apply to acquisition as well as requisition. The Act, it has to be mentioned, does not contemplate the acquisition of things attached to the land without the land. It is the land including the rights which arise out of it and not merely some subordinate interest which is capable of being acquired under this Act. It has also to be pointed out here that when Government acquires land, it acquires only the sum-total of all private interests subsisting in them. If the Government has itself an interest in the land, that interest is outside the acquisition. Of course, for the determination of compensation payable, an investigation of the value of this interest of the Government in the land is necessary but that would not make it the subject-matter of acquisition. Government is not a person interested in the acquisition.1
It should, however, be mentioned that land can be acquired without acquiring mines, and minerals underneath [vide Land Acquisition (Mines) Act, 1885 (XVIII of 1885)].
(viii) Landlord.- The definition in the Requisitioning and Acquisition Act, 1952 has been adopted with modifications.
(ix) Local Authority.- A new inclusive definition of the expression 'local authority' has been added, in order to bring town-planning authorities within its scope.
(x) Person interested.- This expression has been defined both in the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, as well as in the Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property Act of 1952. The expression as defined in the Land Acquisition Act has been adopted by us with some changes in the light of the definition given in the latter Act.
The Bihar Government has suggested an amendment to this definition which would bring within its scope a person who suffers damage as a result of the acquisition even where no part of his land or right or easement has been acquired or affected. The Bihar Government has pointed out that as a result of the Mayurakshi Reservoir Project in that State, vast areas have been submerged under water and the-inhabitants thereof have had to shift to other places As a result, labourers, and professional men working in the submerged areas have lost their occupation.
They have not been paid any compensation since no part of their land or right or easement had been acquired or affected and they could not therefore be treated as coming within the purview of the expression, 'persons interested'. As this suggestion raises an important question of policy, we have not thought it fit to enlarge the definition so as to include such cases. We are, however, of the view that the matter deserves careful consideration inasmuch as the loss suffered by the persons in the instance mentioned is the direct result of the acquisition of the land.
(xi), (xii) Premises, Prescribed.- The definitions of 'premises' and 'prescribed' have been taken from the Requisitioning and Acquisition Act, 1952.
(xiii) Public purpose.- We have adopted an inclusive and enlarged definition of public purpose as explained in paras 37-39 above.
(xiv) Tenant.- The definition has been taken from the Requisitioning and Acquisition Act of 1952 and modified so as to cover cases where the tenant pays premium only or premium and rent.
We have dealt above with all the expressions defined in the two Central Acts on acquisition and requisitioning except 'award' and 'persons entitled to act'. 'Award' has not been defined as it is unnecessary to do so under our revised scheme.
The expression persons "entitled to act" which is defined in clause (g) of the section 3 of the Land Acquisition Act, has been taken out of the definition section and is the subject-matter of a new section2 which adopts the definition with a few verbal changes.
1. Collector of Bombay v. Nusservanji, AIR 1955 SC 298.
2. Section 3 of App I.