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Food Corporation Of India, … vs Yarlagadda Narayana Apparao & Ors on 17 September, 2008

Supreme Court of India
Food Corporation Of India, … vs Yarlagadda Narayana Apparao & Ors on 17 September, 2008
Author: . A Pasayat
Bench: Arijit Pasayat, Harjit Singh Bedi
                                                           REPORTABLE

            IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

              CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

          CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 5725-5726 OF 2008
      (Arising out of SLP (C.) Nos.14224-14225 of 2005)


Food Corporation of India, Kakinada
Rep. by District Manager                      ....Appellant

                           Versus

Yarlagadda Narayana Apparao & Others          ....Respondents


                      JUDGMENT

Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT, J.

1. Leave granted.

2. Challenge in these appeals is to the judgment of the

learned Single Judge of the Andhra Pradesh High Court

allowing the Civil Revision Petition Nos.5048 and 5088 of

2001, filed by the present respondent no.1 in each case. In

the civil revision petition it was indicated that the proforma
respondents in these appeals were not necessary parties. The

basic dispute relates to liability to interest on the amount

envisaged under Section 23(2) of the Land Acquisition Act,

1894 (in short the `Act’) conveniently called “solatium”. The

High Court allowed the civil revision petitions being of the view

that the decision of this Court in Prem Nath Kapur and Anr. v.

National Fertilizer Corpn. of India Ltd. and Ors. (1996 (2) SCC

71) was overruled by the Constitution Bench of this Court in

Sunder v. Union of India (2001 (7) SCC 211).

3. Mr. Amrendra Sharan, Additional Solicitor General,

submitted that both Prem Nath’s case (supra) and Sunder’s

case (supra) were considered by a Constitution Bench of this

Court in Gurpreet Singh v. Union of India (2006 (8) SCC 457).

It was submitted that view in Prem Nath’s case (supra) was

stated to be correct one in the said case. Therefore, the view of

the High Court cannot be maintained.

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4. In response, learned counsel for the respondent

submitted that the High Court’s judgment does not suffer

from any infirmity to warrant interference.

5. In Gurpreet Singh’s case (supra) this Court observed,

inter alia, as follows:

“53. Thus, on the whole, we are satisfied that
the essential ratio in Prem Nath Kapur (1996
(2) SCC 71) on appropriation being at different
stages is justified though if at a particular
stage there is a shortfall, the awardee-decree-
holder would be entitled to appropriate the
same on the general principle of appropriation,
first towards interest, then towards costs and
then towards the principal, unless, of course,
the deposit is indicated to be towards specified
heads by the judgment-debtor while making
the deposit intimating the decree-holder of his
intention. We, thus, approve the ratio of Prem
Nath Kapur on the aspect of appropriation.

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
(2001 (7) SCC 211), 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

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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 period. 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.”

6. In view of what has been stated above, it would be

appropriate for the High Court to consider the matter afresh in

view of the aforesaid quoted observations of this Court.

Accordingly, the matter is remitted to the High Court for fresh

consideration.

7. The appeals are disposed of without any order as to

costs.

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……………………………………J.

(Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT)

……………………………………J.
(HARJIT SINGH BEDI)
New Delhi,
September 17, 2008

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