18 May 2020


Judgments

Supreme Court

Ali Mohammad Beigh and Ors. v. State of J & K

MANU/SC/0278/2017

21.03.2017

Land Acquisition

When identical lands which are situated nearby are acquired for same purpose, it would not be proper to discriminate between land owners unless there are strong reasons

Instant appeals arise out of common judgment passed by High Court of Jammu and Kashmir affirming compensation of Rs. 2,50,000/- per Kanal awarded to Appellants by Reference Court. Being aggrieved by compensation awarded by Collector, LAWDA, Srinagar, Appellants sought reference to District Judge/Reference Court to establish their claims for enhanced compensation. Reference Court vide judgment held that, Appellants are entitled to get compensation of Rs. 2,50,000/- per Kanal and also awarded compensation to tune of Rs. 10,000/- per Kanal on account of fencing. Feeling aggrieved by compensation awarded by Reference Court, State filed appeal. Claimants have filed Cross Appeal seeking enhancement of compensation to Rs. 4,00,000/- per Kanal. High Court dismissed the State's appeal. Cross Appeal filed by the Appellants was also dismissed by High Court holding that Appellants have not led any evidence which could have been the basis for enhancing compensation to Rs. 4,00,000/- per Kanal as has been done in other cases. Review petition filed by the Appellants also came to be dismissed.

Admittedly, land measuring 65 Kanal ½ Marla of Appellants covered by Reference No. 15/2002 was acquired for purpose of resettlement of Dal dwellers in year 1997-1999. In or about the same time, lands adjacent to the land of Appellants in Chandapora, Bhagichandpora and Pazwalpora were also acquired for same purpose of resettlement of Dal dwellers by various references.

In cases of acquisition of land in Bhagichandpora and Pazwalpora, Reference Court, after referring to evidence adduced by claimants thereon and also after referring to assessment of market rate by Tehsildar at Rs. 4,00,000/- per Kanal, held that land owners are entitled to compensation for acquired land at the rate of Rs. 4,00,000/- per Kanal with solatium (Jabirana) at rate of 15% apart from interest @ 6% per annum on enhanced compensation in excess to sum awarded by Collector, LAWDA.

When lands are more or less situated nearby and when acquired lands are identical and similar and acquisition is for same purpose, it would not be proper to discriminate between land owners unless there are strong reasons. In Union of India v. Bal Ram and Anr., this Court held that if purpose of acquisition is same and when lands are identical and similar though lying in different villages, there is no justification to make any discrimination between land owners to pay more to some of the land owners and less compensation to others. The same was the view taken in Union of India v. Harinder Pal Singh and Ors.

When lands are acquired at the same time and for the same purpose that is for resettlement of Dal dwellers, lands situated in three different villages namely, Chandapora, Bhagichandpora and Pazwalpora, and since the land is similar land, it would be unfair to discriminate between the land owners and other references and Appellants who are the land owners in Reference No. 15 and pay less that is Rs. 2,50,000/- per Kanal to the Appellants and pay more to other land owners that is Rs. 4,00,000/- per Kanal. Impugned judgments of the High Court are set aside by enhancing the compensation to Rs. 4,00,000 per Kanal. I impugned judgments are set aside and appeals are allowed. It is held that Appellants are at par with other land owners whose lands were acquired in Bhagichandpora and Pazwalpora in other references, and hence they are also entitled to enhanced compensation of Rs. 4,00,000/- per Kanal with 15% solatium (Jabirana) and all other statutory benefits.

Relevant

Union of India v. Harinder Pal Singh and Ors MANU/SC/2507/2005
: (2005) 12 SCC 564

Tags : Acquisition Compensation Validity

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