State Of Bihar vs Dwarika Nath Jha And Ors. on 26 July, 1988

Patna High Court
State Of Bihar vs Dwarika Nath Jha And Ors. on 26 July, 1988
Equivalent citations: 1988 (36) BLJR 670
Author: S C Mookherji
Bench: S C Mookherji


JUDGMENT

Suresh Chandra Mookherji, J.

1. This appeal and cross objection arise out of a judgment, passed in L. A. case No. 88/76 of 1968 by Sri G.S. Verma, 1st Additional Subordinate Judge, Puraea, whereby, and whereunder, he enhanced the valuation of the acquired property fixed by the Land Acquisition Department, but rejected respondent’s claim of carriage cost of the acquired building materials known as Manager’s bungalow. Against that order both State of Bihar and the respondent on behalf of Raj Darbhanga have filed the present appeal and cross objection.

2. A notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act (hereinafter to be called as ‘the Act’) was published on 4-6-1956 for acquisition of certain lands and buildings standing thereon, details of which have been given in the judgment of the court below, of (sic) Bhawanipur Rajdham, in the district of Purnea for the purpose of construction of Anchal-cum-Block Development office there. There is no controversy that out of the acquired land, 3. 83 acres was sold by Darbhanga Raj to respondent Bhubneshwar Prasad by |a sale-deed dated 14. 8. 1961, on which there was a godown and therefore, he is entitled to compensation in respect of that property.

3. The main dispute between the parties was in respect of the amount of compensation both for the land & the buildings standing thereon. According to the respondent claimants, the amount of compensation for the land should have been fixed at Rs. 6000/- per acre, whereas, the land Acquisition Department had fixed it at the rate of Rs. 1175/- per acre for Bhit III land Rs. 1410/- for Bhit I land, mainly, on the basis of a sale-deed (Ext. ‘K’.)

4. The respondents adduced both oral and documentary evidence to controvert the said rate. In this respect, Ext. 1 series, which are sale-deeds of different dates near about the period of acquisition i.e of the year 1958,1959 etc. These sale documents, thus, give an idea of the value of land acquired. The court below has, therefore, rightly rejected the sale deed Ext. ‘K’, relied upon by the appellant. This Sale deed is in respect of R. S. plot No. 4786, which was not even shown in the sheet in which the details of the concerned lands have been mentioned. On the other hand as indicated above, the Sale deed relied upon by the respondents clearly show that the lands covered under them, are situated near about or close to the lands acquired. As a matter of fact in paragraph 5 of his judgment the learned court below has discussed this point and by cogent reasons considered the Sale rate given in these documents for fixing that value of the acquired lands. It is thus, needless to probe any further in this regard, as I am in full agreement with the court below, that the price of the lands acquired should be Rs. 6000/- per acre. Therefore, the value of the land fixed by the court below is correct.

5. The real dispute that has been canvassed in this appeal and the cross objection is in respect of the value fixed for the two buildings and the cost of carriage of the building materials. It may be pointed out that there are two buildings over the acquired land. One was the Manager’s bungalow of the then Darbhanga Raj and the other which was sold to respondent Bhubneswar Prasad, was for the purpose of godown.

6. The Land Acquisition Department valued these buildings at Rs. 27,000/- and odd, maily on the basis of estimate prepared by an Assistant Engineer of C.D. Works, Purnea. The plan, the rough sketch etc. are exhibits D.E. and F. The Asst. Engineer, who is said to have prepared the estimate had not been examined and in his place P.W. 1 was examined who could not say as to the basis of the estimate and other details and therefore rightly the court below had not placed any reliance in his evidence. As against this, one overseer, attached to Purnea Municipality (A. W. 9) had been examined on behalf of the opposite party. This witness gave cogent reasons for estimating the value of the Manager’s bungalow and the godown at Rs. 84 000/- and odd and Rs. 25,000/- respectively. He prepared estimate on the basis of the scheduled rate of the year 1958 and further stated, that the schedule was taken from the Public Works Department of the Government. Nothing could be brought out in his cross-examination to discredit his testimony with regard to the estimate prepared by him relating to the two acquired buildings and therefore, the court below has rightly accepted his evidence, obviously, on a consideration of the fact that the value fixed by the Land Acquisition Department was pulpably low and was not reasonable market value prevailing in the year when the notification was made, i.e. 1958. There cannot be any doubt that these buildings were being used by the then Darbhanga Raj for its office and one of it was used as Manager’s Bungalow. There is no controversy that the buildings are situated at a suitable place and that must have been the consideration of the Government to acquire it for the Anchal-Cum-Block Office. In the circumstances, the court below has correctly fixed the value of the Manager’s bungalow and the godown at Rs. 84,907/- and Rs. 25.000/- respectively.

7. The learned Subordinate Judge has, however, rejected the cost of carriage of the building materials of the Manager’s bungalow claimed i.e. Rs. 20, 810/- Against this part of his finding, the cross objection has been filed by the trustee of Raj and it has been submitted by Mr. Mukherjee, the learned Counsel for the Raj that once the court below had come to a finding that the evidence of the overseer (A. W. 9) was dependable, he ought not to have rejected this part of claim, which was also prepared by this witness. It appears that the learned court rejected this part of the claim on the ground that the buildings in question were constructed long before 1958 and therefore, any estimate relating to cost of carriage of the year 1958 could not be accepted. I think that the learned court was correct in his view. It is not in controversy that the acquisition was notified in the year 1956 and there cannot be any dispute that the Manager’s bungalow was constructed much before 1958. There is no paper, nor any account to show or suggest about the cost incurred for carrying building materials. The value of the building was estimated on the basis of the scheduled rate of the year 1958 and A. W. 9 in paragraph 5 of his deposition has clearly admitted that he had prepared the estimate on the basis of the scheduled rate of the year 1958 and therefore, it is evident that the cost of carriage which was prevalent in the year 1958 was only taken into consideration by him though, as stated above, the building was constructed long before 1958. In such a situation, 1 am afraid that the respondent is not entitled to get any cost of carriage and as such, I do not find any ground to interfere with this finding of the court below also.

8. It appears that the value for the well, trees and the crops standing over the land had also been fixed but since the same has not been challenged by either side, I do not propose to discuss this issue.

9. The court below has granted additional compensation at the rate of 15% and interest at 6% per annum from the date of taking possession of the acquired property, i.e. 25. 5. 1962. The learned Counsel for the respondents submitted that in view of the amendment made in Section 23 of the Act they are entitled to 30% solatium and interest at the rate of 9% in terms of amended Section 28 of the Act. It appears that by the said amendment 15% was substituted by 30% in Sub-section (2) of Section 23 of the Act which has made provisions for solatium, Similarly, the interest payable under Section 28 of the Act has been increased to 9% by the amended Act from 6%. In this connection, reliance has been made on a decision of the Supreme Court reported in Bhag Singh and Ors. v. Union Territory of Chandigarh . It may be pointed out here that when a similar question arose before their Lordships of Supreme Court in another case, reported in Mahabir Prasad Santuka and Ors. v. Collector, Cuttack and Ors. , it was observed that since the view taken in the earlier case has been referred to a larger Bench, the claimant’s claim of higher interest etc will be decided after the disposal of that case. In the circumstances, it is made clear that if the view taken in the case of Bhag Singh is accepted by the larger Bench, the respondents shall be entitled to get solatium and interest at the amended rate and this amount in that event shall be paid to them by the authorities concerned without making any reference to court. For the present, the respondents shall get, if not already paid, the rate of interest etc. as granted by the court below, besides the amount of compensation fixed for the land, building, trees, well, crops etc, acquired by the Government for the purpose of Anchal-cum-Block building by the Government.

10. With the above direction, both the appeal and cross objection are dismissed on contest. But in the special circumstances, there shall be no order as to costs.

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