18 May 2020


Judgments

Supreme Court

Chanabasappa Vs. Karnataka Neeravari Nigam Ltd. and Ors.

MANU/SC/0061/2020

21.01.2020

Land Acquisition

Interest can start only from date, when possession is taken

Present appeal has been preferred by the Appellant-claimant aggrieved by the judgment passed by the High Court enhancing the compensation to Rs. 3,00,000 per acre. Interest under Section 34 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 has also been awarded from the date of the award, i.e. 23rd July, 2009 and not for the period prior thereto.

It was submitted by the Appellant that, as a matter of fact, the area came under submergence in the year 1991. Thus, the damages ought to have been awarded from the year 1991 till the date of Notification under Section 4 of Act, and interest under Section 34 of Act should have been awarded with effect from the date of Notification under Section 4 of Act.

In Lila Ghosh v. State of West Bengal, present Court held that interest under Section 34 or Section 28 can start only from the date the possession is taken. Unless there is a case of urgency under Section 17(1) of the Act where possession has been taken, or the acquisition process is initiated, in such cases, compensation would be payable by virtue of provisions of Section 17 of the Act.

In R.L. Jain v. DDA and Ors., present Court held that, in a case where the landowner is dispossessed prior to the issuance of preliminary Notification under Section 4 of the Act, it is open to the landowner to recover the possession of his land by taking appropriate legal proceedings. Therefore, he is only entitled to get rent or damage for use and occupation for the period the Government retains possession of the property. When possession is taken prior to issuance of preliminary notification, the Collector may also determine the rent or damages.

In the present matter, interest has been awarded from the date of the award under Section 34 of Act, not from the date of notification under Section 4 of Act. It was submitted on behalf of the Respondents that, it was not claimed before the reference court that possession was deprived of in the year 1991. Compensation/Damages were not claimed from the year 1991 and the factum of submergence has been disputed.

In the instant case, the date of taking of the possession/submergence is disputed, and there is no categorical finding recorded that area in question came under submergence with effect from the year 1991 and was not as a matter of fact in possession of the Appellant. Certain documentary evidence has been pointed out, indicating that the land was in cultivating possession of the Appellant. It is also not clear for how much period of a year the area in question remained in submergence. The claim of damages would depend upon the factum whether the land has come under submergence in the year 1991 for which adequate directions have been issued by the High Court to the Collector.

The Collector shall examine whether the area had come under submergence and shall determine the quantum of damages to be paid from 1991 till the date of notification under Section 4 of Act. In case the area has come in submergence, then the Appellant shall be entitled to the interest Under Section 34 of Act from the date of notification under Section 4 of Act till award also. The appeal is accordingly disposed of.

Relevant

R.L. Jain v. DDA and Ors. MANU/SC/0221/2004
, Lila Ghosh v. State of West Bengal MANU/SC/0929/2003

Tags : Acquisition Compensation Enhancement

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