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Madras High Court
Janapareddi Venkatareddi vs Janapareddi Adhinarayana Rao on 16 August, 1928
Equivalent citations: (1929) 56 MLJ 357
Author: Ramesam


Ramesam, J.

1. This is an appeal against the decision of the Subordinate Judge of Vizagapatam on a reference to him under Section 30 of the Land Acquisition Act.

2. The facts are as follows: The Special Deputy Collector, Harbour Acquisition, Vizagapatam, made his award on 18th January, 1925. As to the apportionment of one of the amounts he awarded, there was a dispute between two claimants. Without deciding their claims he referred the matter to the Civil Court under Section 30. The amount in dispute which was referred to the Subordinate Judge’s Court was Rs. 1,349. A preliminary objection is raised by the vakil for the respondent that this appeal does not lie to the High Court but to the District Court of Vizagapatam. We think this objection is well founded. After a reference under Section 30 is made to the Civil Court, the decision of the Court cannot be regarded as an award under Part III of the Act. In the case reported in Ramachandra Rao v. Ramachandra Rao (1922) L.R. 49 I.A. 129 : I.L.R. 45 Mad. 320 : 43 M.L.J. 78 (P.C.) their Lordships of the Privy Council observe that there are two perfectly separate and distinct forms of procedure contemplated under the Act and where there is a dispute as to the relative rights of the persons together entitled to the money the duty of the Collector is “to place the money under the control of the Court, and the parties then can proceed to litigate in the ordinary way to determine what their right and title to the property may be. How the proceedings were commenced is a matter that is not material, provided that they were instituted in the manner that gave the Court jurisdiction, for they ended in a decree made by the High Court and appealable to this Board.”

3. These observations show that a decision on a reference under Section 30 was regarded as a decree and not as an award as then understood, and it attracted all the usual consequences of an appeal to the High Court and a further appeal to the Privy Council like all decrees of Subordinate Courts. That is, the view taken there was that it was a decree governed by the Code of Civil Procedure and the Civil Courts Act. If so, the subject-matter of the Us being only Rs. 1,349, the appeal from the Subordinate Judge does not lie to the High Court but only to the District Court, because the value is less than ‘ Rs. 5,000, This was the view taken by our brotfiers, Devadoss and Jackson, JJ., in S.R. No. 7968 etc. of 1927.

4. I must allow the preliminary objection and direct the appeal memorandum to be returned for presentation to the proper Court. Costs will abide the result.

Venkatasubba Rao, J.

5. The short question to be decided is, is the decision of the Court under Section 30 of the Land Acquisition Act an award within the meaning of that Act? If it is, an appeal lies to the Court under Section 54; otherwise not. To answer this question, we must have regard to the scheme of the Act. If the Collector decides as regards the persons to whom the compensation is payable, but any of the claimants is dissatisfied with that decision, the person so dissatisfied may require the matter to be referred by the Collector for the determination of the Court. Section 18 (1) deals with such a reference. It runs thus:

Any person interested who has not accepted the award may, by written application to the Collector, require that the matter be referred by the Collector for the determination of the Court, whether his objection be to the measurement of the land, the amount of the compensation, the persons to whom, it is payable, or the apportionment of the compensation among the persons interested.

6. I have now referred to what happens when the Collector’s award contains a decision in regard to the persons to whom the compensation is payable. The Act seems also to provide for a case where the Collector’s award does not contain such a decision. Section 30 provides for that case. It is in these terms:

When the amount of compensation has been settled under Section 11, if any dispute arises as to the apportionment of the same or any part thereof, or as to the persons to whom the same or any part thereof is payable, the Collector may refer such dispute to the decision of the Court.

7. Here I must notice a slight inconsistency in the Act. Section 11 enacts that the Collector shall proceed to enquire inter alia “into the respective interests of the persons claiming the compensation” and that he shall make an award dealing also with the question of the apportionment of the amount awarded. But the Legislature seems to have overlooked that the word used in Section 11 is “shall” and assumes in Section 30 that the Collector has the option either to decide that question himself or to refer it to the decision of the Court. This defect in the Act does not materially affect the question before us. The reference in the present case was made under Section 30 and the point we have to decide is, if the Court gives its decision on such a reference, is that adjudication an award or not? It seems to me that Ramachandra Rao v. Ramachandra Rao (1922) L.R. 49 I.A. 129 I.L.R. 45 Mad. 320 : 43 M.L.J. 78 (P.C.) contains a decisive ruling on the point and that we can no longer be guided by the earlier decisions of the Indian High Courts. It must be borne in mind that whereas Part III of the Act uses the word “award” to describe the adjudication of a Court, Section 30 and similar sections carefully abstain from the use of that term. Is this a matter of no significance? In the case to which I have referred, Lord Buckmaster in his judgment says, that there is a sharp distinction between the two forms of procedure contemplated by the Act. One of them relates to the fixing of the amount of compensation and this alone is described as being an award. But a dispute between the persons claiming compensation, involving questions of title, is a separate and distinct form of procedure and a decision in regard to that is not described as an award. It is unnecessary for me to enquire at present, whether when an award made by the Court under Section 26 (Part III) contains an adjudication as to title, that adjudication is or is not an award. What the necessary implications of the judgment of Lord Buckmaster in this respect are, I do not at present propose to consider; it is sufficient in this appeal to say that the decision of a Court on a reference under Section 30 is clearly not an award. If it is not an award, it follows that an appeal to this Court does not lie under Section 54.

8. I therefore agree in the judgment just pronounced by my learned brother.

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