At, High Court of Judicature at Madras
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE K. CHANDRU
For the Appellant: V. Ravi, Special Government Pleader. For the Respondent: Not served.
(Appeal filed against the Judgment and decree of the learned Subordinate Judge, Tirupathur in LAOP.NO.5/92 dated 5.12.1994.)
1. The Sub Collector(Land Acquisition) is the appellant. The present appeal is filed against the judgment and decree passed by the Sub Court, Tirupathur in LAOP.No.5 of 1992 dated 5.12.1994. The appeal is filed under Section 54 of the Land Acquisition Act. The con
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esting respondent is yet to be served,even though the appeal suit was filed as early as 1995.2. The land of the petitioner was acquired to an extent of 0.12.5 Hectares at Vadakupattu for the purpose of construction of vented cause way across the river Palar. The acquiring officer after noting the physical features of the land found that there were 34 yielding coconut trees in the land and the land was converted as Thope land. The compensation was arrived at Rs.51,000/- together with 30% solatium and additional 12% the market value and the total compensation was worked out as Rs.83,130/-. Since the respondent/land owner did not accept the value arrived at by the acquiring authority, the matter was referred for the decision of the Sub Court. The Sub Court took up the reference as LAOP.No.5/92. The contention raised by the respondent/claimant was that the land is a thope land adjacent to the river palar on the southern side and there is an open well and pump set with Service Connection No.51 in the acquired land. Since it is closure to river Palar, there is a continuous water supply from the well and because of the rich soil, the fruit yielding trees come to 350 to 400 per year and each tree will be fetching Rs.1000/- per year.3. Therefore he claimed that number of trees even it is cut and removed, it will have no value and therefore, higher compensation should be fixed for the loss sustained on account of the 34 trees being removed. Apart from that, the sale deed showing the actual value is also produced. Before the Reference Court, on the side of the claimant, the claimant himself was examined as CW1 and one Sridharan was also examined. He has also filed two documents viz., Exs.C1 and C2. But on the side of the acquiring authority, a Tahsildar by name C.S.Duraisamy was examined. The Reference Court held that the calculation made in terms of the value of the trees was grossly undervalued and therefore the reference Court calculated that the 35 coconut trees will yield Rs.10,200/-as income per annum on the basis of capatilization for a period of 20 years. The yield loss to the claimant will be worked out to Rs.3,12,000/-. Therefore, the assessment of the value of trees at the rate of Rs.51,000/-was grossly under estimated. Hence the claimant on overall is entitled to get Rs.2,04,000/- and after deducting the development charges at the rate of 20% viz., Rs.40,800/-, the balance Rs.1,63,200/- was eligible to be paid to the land owner.4. When the matter came up on 23.11.1995, this Court granted interim stay and it was made absolute on 31.12.2003. In that order, the appellant was directed to deposit certain amounts and the trial Court was directed to invest the said amount on such deposit. It is not clear whether the said order was complied with or not. In any event, in a matter of this nature, the Supreme Court has given a guideline for calculating loss caused due to the cutting of fruit bearing trees vide its Judgment in VEMAREDDY KUMARASWAMY REDDY VS. STATE OF A.P. reported in (2006) 2 Supreme Court Cases 670. Though the said judgment was rendered in respect of a different enactment, the guidelines laid down therein can also be adopted herein.5. If these guidelines are applied, it cannot be said that the reference court had gone away from those guidelines. Under such circumstances, this Court is not inclined to interfere with the orders passed by the reference Court. Hence the Appeal suit stands dismissed not only on merit, but also for want of service on the proper parties to the suit. However, there will be no order as to costs.