1. Heard learned counsel Mr. Asutosh De appearing for the appellant-N.F. Railway and learned counsel Mr. D.K. Daschaudhury appearing for the private respondents.
2. The present appeal has been preferred by the North East Frontier Railway (N.F. Railway, for short) seeking to challenge an award dated 11.04.2017 passed by the learned Land Acquisition Judge (L.A. Judge, for short), Court No.1, Gomati Judicial District, Udaipur in Case No. Misc.(LA) 02 of 2013 whereby the learned L.A. Judge had been pleased to enhance the compensation payable to the land losers, i.e. the present private respondents from Rs.2,00,000/- (rupees two lakh) per kani as determined by the Land Acquisition Collector to a sum of Rs.13,44,000/- (rupees thirteen lakh forty four thousand) per kani.
3. Mr. Asutosh De, learned counsel representing the appellant, submits that the land involved in the present case had been classified as 'chara' and 'tilla' category of land and further relies on a judgment rendered by this Court in L.A. Appeal No.26 of 2015 in the case of The State of Tripura & another vrs. Sri Manas Paul & another wherein land located in Salgarah mouja had been determined by the High Court @ Rs.2.50 lakh per kani. He further brings to the notice of this Court another judgment of this Court in L.A. Appeal No.65 of 2019 in the case of The Deputy Chief Engineer (Construction), N.F. Railway vrs. Sri Amir Hussain. In this judgment, this Hon'ble Court relied upon the determination made in the case of Manas Paul (supra) referred hereinabove and concluded that the directions passed in Manas Paul (supra) would apply mutatis mutandis to the said case. Accordingly, learned counsel for the appellant submitted that the appeal be allowed and disposed of in terms of the decision rendered in the case of Manas Paul (supra).
4. Mr. D.K. Daschaudhury, learned counsel appearing for the private respondents, on the other hand, supported the findings arrived at by the learned L.A. Judge in the impugned judgment and specifically stated that although the land covered in the judgments referred to by the counsel for the appellant is in the selfsame mouja and even though the land acquired from the respondents is 'tilla' and 'chara' in categorization, the land has certain peculiar and potential advantages and was fit for construction of residential use. While supporting the determination made by the L.A. Judge in the impugned award, he further submitted that learned L.A. Judge arrived at a conclusion taking into reference the sale deeds produced by the respondents, i.e. Exhibits-1 and 2 but deducted 70% thereof while arriving at a figure of Rs.13,44,000/- per kani.
5. Heard learned counsel for the respective parties, perused the impugned judgment and the documents available on record. 6. It is an undisputed fact that whereas the respondents (claimants) had produced Exhibits-1 and 2, i.e. the sale deeds for the consideration of the learned L.A. Judge, it is also an admitted fact that no sale deed was submitted before the L.A. Judge on behalf of the Land Acquisition Collector.
7. It is also an admitted fact that although the respondents did produce Exhibits-1 and 2 to form the foundation of his claim for compensation, he did not submit any map to show that the acquired land is situated in the vicinity of the land under which those two sale deeds were relied upon and thus the L.A. Judge was compelled to presume that the plots under Exhibits-1 and 2 are situated far away from the acquired land.
8. On perusal of the documents on record, it appears that the claimants led oral evidence through PW-1, one Sri Dulal Shil and in paragraph-4 of his evidence-in-chief he has stated as follows:
"4. That the acquired land was fertile alluvial land residential class of land and it was potentially high valued as became the acquired land is situated to the Northern Bank of river Gomati and to adjacent Northern side of Gakulpur-Amtali road via Salgarha. Salghara Market is situated to the adjacent eastern side of acquired land. Salghara Post office is situated within K.M District Hospital, Tepania Park are situated within distance of 2 K.M from the acquired land. Netaji Subhash Degree Collage, Donbosco School, Brilliant Stars School, Marutu Show room, Gakulpur H/S School, Salgarha and Chataria H/S School, Dhajanagar Market, Dhajanagar Industrial Area, Dhajanagar Tahashil Kachari and other Government and Semi Government offices are situated within 2 K.M of the acquired land. The acquired land is situated within distance of 3 K.M. of Udaipur Town area. The Udaipur Market, R.K. Pur Police Station, and all other district facilities are situated within 3 K.M. from the acquired land. The importance to the potential value of the acquired land has not been given at all to me by the L.A. Collector."
9. The revenue authorities produced one Sri Babul Ch. Debnath as OPW-1, a Surveyor under the L.A. Collector, who supported the determination made by the L.A. Collector but in his cross-examination, he has fairly admitted as follows:
"It is a fact that I have not submitted any copy of sale deed in this Court."
Therefore, in my considered opinion, the learned L.A. Judge had before him only Exhibits-1 and 2 produced by the claimants for consideration. Apart from the said documents, the oral evidence led by the parties, specifically in paragraph-4 as quoted hereinabove, does not appear to have been denied and/or no alternative evidence appears to be there on record to deny the assertions contained in the oral evidence in paragraph-as quoted hereinabove. Therefore, in the absence of non-rebuttal of the evidence given by PW-1 and in the absence of any sale deeds said to have been considered by the L.A. Collector but not produced before the learned L.A. Judge, the L.A. Judge had no other alternative other than to proceed on the basis of documentary and oral evidence that is available on record.
10. In the light of the aforesaid facts, this Court is of the considered view that even though there may be acquisition in the selfsame mouja and even though the classification of land may be similar in nature, yet it is possible that due to peculiar situation and potentiality of a particular land, different consideration may have to be taken. In other words, although the land is located at a distant location and in a fairly rural setting, even then it appeared that the land in question was situated next to the Salgarah market and a road, i.e. Amtali road via Salgarah is situated adjacent to the land in question. Therefore, in the light of the aforesaid fundamental facts, this Court is of the considered view that no error can be found in the rational reasoning given by the learned L.A. Judge to arrive and/or determine the value of the land. For the purpose of convenience, the conclusion arrived at by the L.A. Judge in the impugned award is quoted hereunder:
"Thus, what emerges from the law laid down above, the range of deduction will vary between 20% to 75%. Considering the classification of land under Ext.2, its distance from the acquired land and considering larger area of acquired land, total 70% deduction appears to be necessary. 30% is deducted considering the distance, 20% is deducted considering lesser potentiality and further 20% is deducted considering larger area of acquired land. Thus, the value of both tilla and chara class of acquired land during the year 2004 (i.e. the year of execution of Exhibit 2 is assessed at Rs.42,66,000/- minus 70% i.e. Rs.12,79,800/- per kani say Rs.12,80,000/- per kani. Ext.2 was executed either in the last part of year 2004, but the land of the claimant was acquired in the first part of year 2010 i.e. after 5 years. So, during that period certainly there was some hike in the land price in that area. Considering thus, 5% further is added with the assessed value. Thus, the value of the acquired land as on the date of acquisition is assessed at Rs.12,80,000/- per kani plus 5% i.e. Rs.13,44,000/- per kani. There is no much difference between the value of chara class of land and tilla class of land and thus value of chara class and tilla class of land are determined at the same rate. Both the issues are decided accordingly in favour of the claimant."
11. This Court is of the considered view that the L.A. Judge took into consideration Exhibit-2 which was valued at Rs.42,66,000/- per kani but reduced 70% thereof and arrived at a value of Rs.12,80,000/- per kani. Further, since Exhibit-2 is a sale deed of the year 2004 and the acquisition in the present case had been effected in the year 2010, he took into view the possibility of some hike in price of land and enhanced that amount by 5% and arrived at a figure of Rs.13,44,000/- per kani.
12. The argument advanced by the learned counsel for the appellant that the Court should award a similar amount of compensation for the entire mouja and that should be common, in my considered opinion, while being generally acceptable cannot apply to each and every portion of land and it is the obligation of the Land Acquisition Authority as well as the learned L.A. Judge to take into account any peculiarity and/or any reason why there should be a difference. It is well accepted by this Court that land located next to a market obviously has potentiality of being used either as a residential place and/or as a commerci
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al place. In any event, this Court is not required to call upon to determine the nature of the land. However, the advantages of the location of the land, oral evidence of which has been led by the claimants through PW-1 in paragraph-4 of his examination-in-chief as noted hereinabove which has not been rebutted in any manner, lend support to the conclusion of this Court that the amount determined by the L.A. Judge is fair determination of compensation in the present case. Although the area of land covered under Exhibit-2 is of a small piece of land, yet the L.A. Judge appears to have taken that fact also into consideration while directing deduction of 70% from the value of the land. Therefore, this Court concludes that the amount determined by the L.A. Judge is fair and equitable in the circumstances of the case. 13. Accordingly, the appeal stands dismissed. 14. Stay order, if any, stands vacated. Pending application(s), if any, also stands disposed of. Send the lower court records forthwith.