S. Panda, J.
1. This is an appeal under Section 54 of the Land Acquisition Act (hereinafter referred to as “the Act”) against the award dated 25.2.2000 passed by the Learned Civil Judge (Sr. Divn.), Deograrh, in Land Acquisition Misc. Case No. 18 of 2000.
2. The brief facts of the case leading to this appeal are stated herein below:
The Government of Orissa proposed to acquire an extent of Ac.5.75 decimals of land from Khata No. 26 in village Banakola under Naikul Barkot Police Station for the purpose of Rengali Dam Project for which a Notification under Section 4(i) of the Act dated 27.8.1976 was published in the Orissa Gazette EOG No. 65185 dated 30.10.1978. The land acquired consists of agricultural land, gharabari and an orchard measuring an area of Ac.5.12 decimals, Ac.0.20 decimals and Ac.0.43 decimals respectively. The Land Acquisition Officer-cum-Collector, Deogarh awarded a total sum of Rs. 39,579.05 p. out of which Rs. 20,551/- for agricultural land, Rs. 14,691.67 p. for house and Rs. 2,400.88 p. for standing trees and Rs. 5,162.48 p. towards compensation under Section 23(2) of the Act. The said amount has been received by the Respondent on protest.
3. Being aggrieved by the said award, the present Respondent had filed a petition before, the Learned Civil Judge (Sr. Divn.), Deograrh alleging that he is the owner in possession of the land in question which included irrigated land, gharabari and orchard having fruit bearing trees in it. The Land Acquisition Officer has not properly valued the same and he is entitled to higher compensation than the compensation awarded by the Land Acquisition Officer.
4. The Respondent in support of his claim adduced oral evidence, examined himself as P.W. 1 and another co-villager as P.W. 2 but did not adduce any documentary evidence. The Appellant did not adduce any evidence- either oral or documentary. On considering the evidence on record, the Learned Court below has held that the claimant was getting 20 quintals of paddy per acre and 4 quintals of mung per acre in the year of acquisition. The market value per quintal of paddy was Rs. 350/- and Rs. 1200/- per quintal of mung and he had spent half of the yield in cultivation. It has taken into consideration the yield of the land while assessing the value of the land. It has also relied on the decision of this Court in First Appeal No. 55 of 1996 decided on 12.3.1998 and fixed the market value of the land at the rate of Rs. 20,000/- per acre, though there was no documentary evidence available in respect of the market value of the land. The petition filed by the claimant before the Learned Court below shows that the acquired house consisted of four living rooms, two cow-sheds surrounded with verandah which was constructed by brick and clay with cement plaster. The Learned Court below assessed the value of the house at Rs. 60,000/- and awarded the said amount in respect of the house.
5. The Learned Addl. Government Advocate appearing on behalf of the Appellant submitted that the award passed by the Learned Civil Judge (Sr. Divn.) is on higher side as there is no contemporaneous documents available on record. Hence, the interference by this Court is warranted. The Learned Counsel appearing for the Respondent supported the award of the Learned Trial Court and submitted that in respect of similarly situated land which was acquired for Rengali Dam Project under the same notification, this Court in First Appeal No. 55 of 1996 disposed of on 12.3.1998 and First Appeal No. 104 of 2001 reported in 2003(II) OLR 236 has affirmed the valuation of Rs. 20,000/- per acre and in the present case, as the same valuation has been adopted by the Learned Court below, the appeal needs to be dismissed.
6. Considering the rival submissions of both the parties, this Court examined the relevant records of the case and in view of the decision rendered by this Court in First Appeal No. 55 of 1996 disposed of on 12.3.1998 and the decisions reported in 2003(II) OLR 236 and 2007(1) OLR 786, we hold that the assessment made by the Learned Trial Court in respect of the market value of the agricultural land and house not only appears to be reasonable, but also is in accordance with the evidence on record and hence, we affirm the same.
7. So far as the land related to standing trees (orchard) are concerned, it reveals from the record that the Divisional Forest Officer, Deogarh has determined the value of the standing trees at Rs. 20,551/-. The Land Acquisition Collector has awarded Rs. 20,551 for trees and added the value of the land. Thus, total sum of Rs. 41100 has been awarded towards compensation for the orchard, i.e., standing trees and land. So far as the standing trees are concerned, the Zonal Officer has filed a statement regarding the number of trees standing in the orchard as follows:
15 Nos. of mango trees,
7 Nos. of lemon trees,
4 Nos. of jackfruit trees,
27 Nos. of palm trees,
1 No. of jamu trees,
2 Nos. of sajana trees,
20 Nos. of papaya trees, and 6 Nos. of banana trees.
8. The Learned Court below without any materials on record has valued each fruit bearing tree at the rate of Rs. 4,000/- for mango tree, Rs. 4,000/- for lemon tree, Rs. 2,000/- for jackfruit tree, Rs. 500/- for papaya tree, Rs. 1,000/- for sajana tree, Rs. 60/- for banana tree and calculated total amount of Rs. 1,60,000/- for all the trees. The Learned Court below has not considered the value determined by the Divisional Forest Officer, Deogarh. The conclusion arrived at by the Learned Court below is without any application of mind. Hence the award relating to the trees is in higher side.
9. The law is well settled that where there is no conclusive evidence from the side of the parties in the Land Acquisition Referral Proceeding, the Court has to apply its judicial conscience and guess work to assess annual income/value of the property. But in the present case, some materials are available on records to reach a conclusion regarding valuation of the standing trees which have not been considered.
10. Considering the materials on records and the decision rendered by this Court (State of Orissa v. Tripurary Pradhan and Anr.), we hold that the award passed by the Learned Trial Court so far as the trees are concerned is without any basis and highly excessive. Hence, the impugned award is modified and valuation of those standing fruit bearing trees is determined as follows:
Mango Trees @ Rs. 2,000/- X 15 = Rs. 30, 000/- Lemon Trees @ Rs. 1,000/- X 7 = Rs. 7,000/- Jackfruit Trees @ Rs. 500/- X 4 = Rs. 2,000/- Palm Trees @ Rs. 400/- X 27 = Rs. 10,800/- Jamu Trees @ Rs. 400/- X 1 = Rs. 400/- Papaya Trees @ Rs. 100/- X 2 = Rs. 200/- Sajana Trees @ Rs. 100/- X 2 = Rs. 200/- Banana Trees @ Rs. 60/- X 20 = Rs. 1,200/- ---------------- Total = Rs. 51 ,800/-
11. The claimant is also entitled to other statutory benefit. The award of the Learned Civil Judge (Sr. Divn.), Deogarh passed in Land Acquisition Misc. Case No. 18 of 2000 is modified to the extent indicated above.
Accordingly, the Appeal is allowed in part.
There is no order as to costs.
I.M. Quddusi, J.