4 August 2020


Judgments

High Court of Bombay

The Executive Engineer, Work Division VII Vs. Joaquim D'costa

MANU/MH/1768/2017

10.08.2017

Land Acquisition

If actual market value of acquired land is higher, Reference Court could grant higher compensation

In facts of present case, The Government had acquired the land of the Respondent from different survey holdings for the stated purpose pursuant to the Notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894. The Land Acquisition Officer had awarded the compensation at Rs. 5/- per sq. mt. and being aggrieved, the Respondent made an application under Section 18 of the Act claiming enhanced compensation of Rs. 150/- per sq. mt. The learned Reference Court by impugned judgment and award enhanced the compensation to Rs. 222/- per sq. mt. in respect of some survey holdings and Rs. 189/- per sq. mt. in respect of the two survey holdings with consequential benefit in favour of the Respondent giving rise to the appeal at the instance of the State. The Appellants questioned the validity of impugned judgment and award as being illegal, bad in law and passed without consideration of evidence on record.

In Ambya Kalya Mhatre(d) through legal heirs and Ors. vs. The State of Maharashtra, Apex Court observed that, a landowner, particularly a rural agriculturist, when he loses the land may not know the exact value of his land as on the date of the Notification under Section 4(1) of the Act. When he seeks reference, he may be dissatisfied with the quantum of compensation but may not really know the actual market value. Many a times there may not be comparable sales, and even the Courts face difficulty in assessing the compensation. There is no reason why a land owner who has lost his land, should not get the real market value of the land and should be restricted by technicalities to some provisional amount he had indicated while seeking the reference. The Act does not require him to specify the quantum and all that he is required to say is that, he is not satisfied with the compensation awarded and specify generally the grounds of objection to the award. Under the scheme of the Act, it is for the court to determine the market value.

The learned Reference Court assessed the evidence of Respondent applicant, the material brought on record by him vis-à-vis the various facilities and amenities available to it and Sale Deed in support of his case. Besides, Reference Court also assessed the evidence of valuer, who had examined the Sale Deeds and on a consideration of judgment in Ambya Kalya Mhatre, rightly concluded that, the Reference Court could grant a higher compensation, if the Court finds that the higher amount is the actual market value of the acquired land.

The Reference Court considered the Sale instances dated 2nd May, 2008 and 12th May, 2008 though in respect of small developed plots and that there was no evidence in rebuttal led by Respondents and on consideration of fact that, there was an escalation in the land prices by 10% each year held that, market value of the acquired land as on date of Notification was Rs. 222/- per sq. mt. in respect of some survey holdings and Rs. 189/- per sq. mt. in respect of the two survey holdings.

The Reference Court had also considered the plea raised on behalf of Appellant that, lands were agricultural tenanted lands and being hit by Section 2 of Goa Land Use (Regulation) Act, 1991. However, Reference Court considered the judgment of the Apex Court in Goa Housing Board vs. Rameshchandra Govind Pawaskar and Anr., and made an appropriate deduction in respect of the land qua the issue of tenancy. The Reference Court for that matter was equally seized of the fact that, the two survey holdings were the large tracts as compared to the other survey holdings and made further deduction of 15% and fixed the market value at Rs. 189/- per sq. mt. The findings thus, rendered by Reference Court therefore, are not perverse.

Relevant

Shri Ambya Kalya Mhatre (d) through legal heirs and Ors. vs. The State of Maharashtra MANU/SC/1068/2011
, Goa Housing Board vs. Rameshchandra Govind Pawaskar and Anr. MANU/SC/1251/2011

Tags : Compensation Enhancement Legality

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