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The General Manager, South Central Railway, Secundarabad, Now, South Western Railways, Rep. by The Deputy Chief Engineer, Construction-IV, Hubballi & v/s Siddalingappa & Others

    M.F.A. No. 21993 of 2012 (LAC) c/w M.F.A. Nos. 21990, 21996 & 21997 of 2012 & M.F.A. CR. OB. Nos. 100021, 100060, 100061 & 100068 of 2017 (LAC)

    Decided On, 01 March 2021

    At, High Court of Karnataka Circuit Bench At Dharwad

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE SREENIVAS HARISH KUMAR & THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE E.S. INDIRESH

    For the Appearing Parties: Ajay U. Patil, Santhosh D. Naragund, Advocates, Shivaprabhu S. Hiremath, AGA.



Judgment Text

(Prayer: This Miscellaneous First Appeal is filed under Section 54(1) of land Acquisition Act, 1894, against the Judgment and award dated 01.08.2011 passed in LAC No.10/2009 on the file of the principal Senior Civil Judge, Hubballi, awarding the compensation of Rs.75,000/- per Gunta.

The Miscellaneous first appeal is filed under section 54(1) of land Acquisition Act, 1894, against the judgment and award dated 01.08.2011 passed in LAC No.7/2209 on the file of the principal Senior Civil Judge Hubballi, awarding the compensation.

This Miscellaneous First Appeal is filed under Section 54(1) of land Acquisition Act, 1894, passed in LAC No.13/2009 on the file of the Principal Senior Civil Judge, Hubballi, Awarding the compensation of Rs.75,000/- per Gunta.

This Miscellaneous First Appeal is filed under Section 54(1) of land Acquisition Act, 1894, against in LAC No.15/2009 on the file of the principal Senior Civil Judge, Hubballi, Awarding the Compensation of Rs.75,000/- per Gunta.

This MFA CROB in MFA No.21997/2012 filed under order 41 rule 22 of C.P.C., against the Judgment and award dated 01.08.2011 passed in LAC NO.15/2009 on the file of the principal Senior Civil Judge, Hubballi, partly allowing the reference petition filed under Section 18(1) of L.A. Act.

This MFA CROB in MFA No.21990/2012 filed under order 41 rule 22 of C.P.C., against the Judgment and award dated 01.08.2011 passed in LAC NO.7/2009 on the file of the principal Senior Civil Judge, Hubballi, partly allowing the reference petition filed under Section 18(1) of L.A. Act.

This MFA CROB in MFA No.21993/2012 filed under order 41 rule 22 of C.P.C., against the Judgment and award dated 01.08.2011 passed in LAC NO.10/2009 of the file of the principal Senior Civil Judge, Hubballi, partly allowing the reference petition filed under Section 18(1) of L.A. Act.

This MFA CROB in MFA No.21996/2012 filed under order 42 rule 22 of C.P.C., against the judgment and award dated 01.08.2011 passed in LAC NO.13/2009 on the file of the principal Senior Civil Judge, Hubballi, partly allowing the reference petition filed under Section 18(1) of L.A. Act.)

JUDGMENT

1. These appeals and cross objections are filed against the judgment and award dated 01.08.2011 passed in LAC No.10/2009 and connected matters, on the file of the Principal Senior Civil Judge Hubballi, whereby the reference court ordered that the claimants are entitled to compensation of Rs.75,000/- per gunta and statutory benefits in respect of the land acquired by the respondent authorities.

2. For the sake of convenience, parties are referred to as per their ranking before the reference court.

3. It is the case of the claimants that the lands in question belonged to them and pursuant to the preliminary notification issued under Section 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act (for short, the ‘Act’) by the respondent-authorities on 30.05.2007, the lands were acquired for the purpose of gauge conversion of railway track and in this regard, the respondent-authorities, issued a final notification under Section 6(1) of the Act on 19.06.2008 and thereby, the respondent-authorities took the possession of the lands for the purpose of bypass line of railways. The Special Land Acquisition Officer (for short, ‘SLAO’), after acquiring the land, awarded compensation of Rs.2,598/- per gunta, and being not satisfied by the compensation awarded by the SLAO, the claimants have sought for reference under Section 18 of Act and accordingly, the civil court has registered LAC Nos.7 to 13/2009 and LAC Nos.15 and 16 of 2009. After considering the material on record, the reference court fixed the market value of the land belonging to the claimants at Rs.75,000/- per gunta and ordered consequential benefits in favour of the claimants as per Land Acquisition Act. Being aggrieved by the same, the beneficiary of the land has preferred these appeals on the ground that the land acquired by the authorities in LAC No.10/2009 is only 10 guntas, however, the Reference Court has wrongly calculated the compensation on 16 guntas of land which requires to be interfered in these appeals. Beneficiary of the land, also questioned the award made in connected claim petitions and sought for reduction of compensation. The claimants have also filed cross-objections, seeking enhancement compensation.

4. We have heard Sri Ajay U.Patil, learned counsel appearing for the beneficiary of the land, Sri Santhosh D.Naragund, learned counsel appearing for the claimants and Sri Shivaprabhu S.Hiremath, learned Addl. Government Advocate for the respondent.

5. Sri Ajay U.Patil, learned counsel appering for the beneficiary/appellant submitted that though the land acquired by the authority for the purpose of gauge conversion in LAC No.10/2009 is to an extent of 10 gunta, however, the reference court has passed an award with respect to 16 gunta, which requires to be interfered in this appeal. Emphasizing on this aspect he further contended that, in an identical matter, the Division Bench of this Court in MFA No.28747/2018 decided on 23.06.2020, has fixed the market value of the land at Rs.75.000/- per gunta in respect of the notification issued under Section 4(1) of the Act on 16.06.2008. In the instant case, the preliminary notification was issued on 30.05.2007 and thereby there could be a 10% de-escalation in respect of the compensation to be awarded in favour of the clamants herein. He has placed reliance on the judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Chandrashekar (dead) by LRs and others V/s Land Acquisition Officer and another reported in (2012) 1 SCC 390 and judgment and award dated 23.0.2020 in MFA No.23747/2013. Accordingly, he sought for interference in these appeals.

6. Per contra,, Sri Santhosh D.Naragund, learned counsel appearing for the claimants submitted that the award made by the reference court is just and proper, it does not require any interference for reducing the compensation. He further submitted that he has filed cross-objections in these appeals contending that in respect of land situate adjacent to the lands of the appellants, compensation has been awarded at Rs.80,000/- per gunta. He sought for enhancement of the compensation on the same line. He further submitted that, de-escalation of compensation is not warranted.

7. Sri Shivaprabhu S.Hiremath, learned AGA supports the contention of the beneficiary of the land and contended that the compensation awarded by the reference court requires modification by this court.

8. We have considered the rival submissions made by the learned counsel appearing for the parties. It is not in dispute that the belonging to the claimants had been utilized by the respondent-authorities for the purpose of gauge conversion and in this regard, the respondent-authorities issued preliminary notification under Section 4(1) of the Act on 30.05.2007 and then final notification came to be issued under Section 6(1) of the Act on 19.06.2008. The SLAO fixed the compensation of Rs.2,598/- per gunta in respect of the lands acquired by the respondent-authorities. Being aggrieved by the same, claimants preferred reference under Section 18 of the Act before the Principal Senior Civil Judge, Hubballi in LAC Nos.7 to 13;15 and 16 of 2009. The Reference Court, after considering the material on record, by its judgment and award dated 01.08.2011, fixed the market value of the acquired land at Rs.75,000/- per gunta and also ordered for statutory benefits in favour of the claimants. Being aggrieved by the judgment and award made by the Reference Court, the beneficiary of the land, has preferred these appeals and sought for interference by this court insofar as the amount of compensation in concerned, and also, contending that extent of land acquired by the respondent-authorities is wrongly held as 16 guntas. The land owners have also preferred cross-objections contending that the award made by the reference court is on the lesser side. The claimants sought enhancement in compensation contending that lands that are acquired are situated within the vicinity of the Hubballi city.

9. Having considered the submissions made by the learned counsel appearing for the parties as well as the finding recorded by the reference court, it is not in dispute that, in an identical case in MFA No.23747/2013 filed by the beneficiary of the land therein, insofar as the land acquired by the respondent-authorities vide preliminary notification issued under Section 4(1) of the Act on 16.06.2008, the Division Bench of this Court, has arrived at a conclusion that the claimants are entitled to compensation of Rs.75,000/- per gunta with all statutory benefits including the interest and costs, as are admissible under the Land Acquisition Act. Having given our anxious consideration to the facts on record, as also to the findings recorded by the reference court; and applying the law declared by this court in the aforementioned case i.e. in MFA No.23747/2013, we are of the considered view that, in these appeals also, the claimants are entitled to compensation of Rs.75,000/- per gunta in respect of the land acquired by the respondent-authorities.

10. We have carefully considered the findings recorded by the reference court. Insofar as the land belonging to the claimants in LAC No.7/2009 is concerned, it is reflected in the award passed by the SLAO as well as the judgment and award passed by the reference court that the land in question is 10 gunta only, however, the reference court has calculated the compensation for 16 guntas of the land, and the same requires interference. In LAC No.10/2009, perusal of the record would clearly indicate that the respondent-authorities have acquired only 10 guntas of land as per the award dated 18.02.2009 and therefore, we are of the considered opinion that the reference court has not considered the actual aspect that the land belonging to the claimant was acquired to an extent of 10 guntas, and not 16 guntas, as shown in the award and in that view of the matter, the appeal requires to be allowed in part.

11. In an identical matter preliminary notification issued came to be on 16.06.2008 in respect of acquisition of land situated in the same vicinity compensation was fixed at Rs.75,000/- per gunta; and in the instant appeal since the preliminary notification was issued on 30.05.2007, we find force in the submission of the learned counsel appearing for the appellant/beneficiary that de-escalation at 10% is to be given. In similar situation the Hon’ble Supreme Court in case of Chandrasheka

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r (supra) gave deduction of 10% towards de-escalation. Though the learned counsel for the claimants vehemently argued and placed reliance on the judgment of this Court in the case of SLAO V/s Karibasappa made in MFA No.200778/2018 decided on 17.06.2020, the facts and circumstances of the case and the potentiality of the land in the above appeal, are quite distinct from the lands in these appeals. Accordingly, we reject the submission of the learned counsel for the claimants and therefore, claimants are entitled to compensation at Rs.67,500/- per gunta (Rs.75,000/--10%). Hence, the following: ORDER i. Appeals are allowed in part. The claimants are entitled to compensation at Rs.67,500/- per gunta and consequently, for all statutory benefits as per the provisions of land Acquisition Act. ii. In view of allowing the appeals preferred by the beneficiary, cross-objections filed by the claimants do not survive for consideration. Accordingly, same are dismissed. iii. Claimants in LAC No.10/2009 are entitled to compensation to an extent of 10 guntas of land and accordingly, the judgment and award dated 01.08.2011 in LAC No.10/2009 is modified.
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