Sunday, 17 April 2016

Whether court can award excess compensation than claimed in land acquisition case?

The pre-amended provision put a cap on the maximum; the
compensation by court should not be beyond the amount
claimed. The amendment in 1984, on the contrary, put a cap on
the minimum; compensation cannot be less that what was
awarded by the Land Acquisition Collector. The cap on
maximum having been expressly omitted, and the cap that is
put is only on minimum, it is clear that the amount of
compensation that a court can award is no longer restricted to
the amount claimed by the applicant. It is the duty of the Court

to award just and fair compensation taking into consideration
the true market value and other relevant factors, irrespective of
the claim made by the owner.
REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO(S). 2714-2721/2012
ASHOK KUMAR & ANR. ETC. Appellants(s)
VERSUS
STATE OF HARYANA Respondent(s)
WITH
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 1527/2016
(Special Leave Petition (Civil) No. 12495/2015)
Citation;AIR 2016 SC 1210

Leave granted in Special Leave Petition (Civil) No. 12495 of
2015
2. Around 46.93 acres of Land was acquired by the
respondent- State of Haryana initiating the proceedings by
Notification dated 19.09.1983 issued under Section 4 of the Land
1Page 2
Acquisition Act, 1894. The purpose of acquisition is residential and
commercial for Panchkula, Sector-21. The acquired property is in
Village Fatehpur. In respect of the same development, we have
seen that this court in many cases has based the fixation of the
land value based on acquisition proceedings initiated in 1981 in
Village Judian. Those properties in village Judian had access to
State Highway and the value fixed by this Court is Rs. 250/- per
square yard. In respect of properties situated in the adjoining
village of the appellants namely, Devi Nagar, we have fixed land
value at the rate of Rs. 250/- per square yard that was the
acquisition initiated in the year 1987 and that property had
extensive national highway frontage.
3. Learned counsel for the appellants submitted that in all the
adjoining villages for the properties acquired for the same
purpose, this court having fixed the land value at Rs. 250/- per
square yard and above, the appellants may also be granted the
same value.
4. Shri Sanjay Kumar Tyagi, learned Additional Advocate
General for the respondent- State of Haryana however points out
2Page 3
that even according to the appellants, their claim was only
Rs.125/- per square yard and in any case the land of the
appellants does not have the same advantage when compared to
other properties for which this court had fixed the land value at
Rs.250/- per square yard and above.
5. Learned counsel appearing for the appellants however points
out that in the matter of fixation of just and fair compensation,
the Court is not bound by claim made by the owner. It is for the
Court, in the facts and circumstances of each case, to award just
and fair compensation.
6. Prior to amendment Act 68 of 1984, the amount of
compensation that could be awarded by the Court was limited to
the amount claimed by the applicant. Section 25 read as under -
“Section 25. Rules as to amount of
compensation -
(1) When the applicant has made a claim to
compensation, pursuant to any notice given under
Section 9, the amount awarded to him by the
court shall not exceed the amount so claimed or
be less than the amount awarded by the Collector
under Section 11.
(2) When the applicant has refused to make such
claim or has omitted without sufficient reason (to
be allowed by the Judge) to make such claim, the
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amount awarded by the court shall in no case
exceed the amount awarded by the Collector.
(3) When the applicant has omitted for a sufficient
reason (to be allowed by the Judge) to make such
claim, the amount awarded to him by the court
shall not be less than, and may exceed, the
amount awarded by the Collector.”
The amended Section 25 reads as under:
“Section 25. Amount of compensation
awarded by Court not to be lower than the
amount awarded by the Collector- The amount
of compensation awarded by the Court shall not
be less than the amount awarded by the Collector
under Section 11.”
The amendment has come into effect on 24.09.1984.
7. The pre-amended provision put a cap on the maximum; the
compensation by court should not be beyond the amount
claimed. The amendment in 1984, on the contrary, put a cap on
the minimum; compensation cannot be less that what was
awarded by the Land Acquisition Collector. The cap on
maximum having been expressly omitted, and the cap that is
put is only on minimum, it is clear that the amount of
compensation that a court can award is no longer restricted to
the amount claimed by the applicant. It is the duty of the Court

to award just and fair compensation taking into consideration
the true market value and other relevant factors, irrespective of
the claim made by the owner.
8. Although in the context of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988,
this Court in Sanjay Batham v. Munna Lal Parihar1
 held that
-
“17. It is true that in the petition filed by him
under Section 166 of the Act, the Appellant had
claimed compensation of Rs. 4,20,000/- only, but
as held in Nagappa v. Gurudayal Singh, (2003) 2
SCC 274, in the absence of any bar in the Act, the
Tribunal and for that reason any competent Court
is entitled to award higher compensation to the
victim of an accident.”
9. In Bhag Singh and Others v. Union Territory of
Chandigarh2
, this Court held that there may be situations where
the amount higher than claimed may be awarded to the claimant.
The Court observed –
“3. … It must be remembered that this was not a
dispute between two private citizens where it
would be quite just and legitimate to confine the
claimant to the claim made by him and not to
award him any higher amount than that claimed
though even in such a case there may be
1
(2010) 11 SCC 665
2
(1985) 3 SCC 737
5Page 6
situations where an amount higher than that
claimed can be awarded to the claimant as for
instance where an amount is claimed as due at the
foot of an account. Here was a claim made by the
appellants against the State Government for
compensation for acquisition of their land and
under the law, the State was bound to pay to the
appellants compensation on the basis of the
market value of the land acquired and if according
to the judgments of the learned single Judge and
the Division Bench, the market value of the land
acquired was higher than that awarded by the
Land Acquisition Collector or the Additional District
Judge, there is no reason why the appellants
should have been denied the benefit of payment
of the market value so determined. To deny this
benefit to the appellants would tantamount to
permitting the State Government to acquire the
land of the appellants on payment of less than the
true market value. There may be cases where, as
for instance, under' agrarian reform legislation,
the holder of land may, legitimately, as a matter of
social justice with a view to eliminating
concentration of land in the hands of a few and
bringing about its equitable distribution, be
deprived of land which is not being personally
cultivated by him or which is in excess of the
ceiling area with payment of little compensation or
no compensation at all, but where land is acquired
under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, it would not
be fair and just to deprive the holder of his land
without payment of the true market value when
the law, in so many terms, declares that he shall
be paid such market value. …”
6Page 7
10. In Krishi Utpadan Mandi Samiti v. Kanhaiya Lal3
, this
Court held that under the amended provisions of Section 25 of the
Act, the Court can grant a higher compensation than claimed by
the applicant in his pleadings -
“17. Award being in this case between the dates
30th April, 1982 and 24th September, 1984 and as
per the Union of India and Anr. v. Raghubir Singh
(Dead) by LRs. etc. (Supra), the amended
provisions would be applicable under which there
is no restriction that award could only be upto the
amount claimed by the claimant. Hence High
Court order granting compensation more than
what is claimed cannot be said to be illegal or
contrary to the provisions of the Act. Hence the
review itself, as is confined for the aforesaid
reasons, has no merit.”
11. Further, in Bhimasha v. Special Land Acquisition Officer
and others4
, a three-Judge bench reiterated the principle in
Bhag Singh (supra) and rejected the contention that a higher
compensation than claimed by the owner in his pleadings cannot
be awarded by the Court. In that case, the High Court had
concluded that although the market price of the land was Rs
66,550/- per acre, since the appellant had only claimed
compensation at the rate of Rs. 58,500/- per acre in his pleadings,
3
(2000) 7 SCC 756
4
(2008) 10 SCC 797
7Page 8
therefore he could only be awarded compensation limited to his
claim. This Court, while reversing the decision of the High Court,
awarded the petitioner the market value, i.e., Rs. 66,550/- per
acre thereby holding that the award would not be limited to the
claim made by him.
12. In the case of the appellants herein, it is an admitted
position that the properties do not abut the national highway.
Admittedly, it is situated about 375 yards away from the national
highway and it appears that there is only the narrow Nahan Kothi
Road connecting the properties of the appellants to the national
highway. Therefore, it will not be just and proper to award land
value of Rs.250/- per square yard, which is granted to the
property in adjoining village. Having regard to the factual and
legal position obtained above, we are of the considered view that
the just and fair compensation in the case of appellants would be
Rs. 200/- per square yard.
13. Therefore, these appeals are disposed off fixing the land
value at Rs. 200/- per square yard and the appellants shall also be
entitled to all the statutory benefits. The amount as above shall
8Page 9
be paid and deposited after adjusting the deficit court fee, if any,
before the Executing Court within a period of three months from
today.
…….…………………………….J
 (KURIAN JOSEPH)
….….…………………………….J
(ROHINTON FALI
NARIMAN)
NEW DELHI;
FEBRUARY 18, 2016.

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