Himachal Pradesh High Court Enhances Award in Petition Filed Against Award Passed by the District Court, Mandi

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Facts

The land of the appellant situated in village Jilhan was acquired by the respondents with the intent of developing the same as a tourist place. Notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act was issued on 05.06.1997. Land measuring 7-18-0 bighas, in village Jilhan, was purchased by the appellant on 19.09.1996, for a sum of Rs.2, 00,000/-. Thereafter, on 27.12.1996, he again purchased land measuring 0-16-3 bigha in the same mauja, for a sum of Rs.50, 000/-.

The Land Acquisition Collector awarded an amount of Rs.3, 65,188/- for 8-14-3 bighas of the land which stood acquired. But as per the appellant, the market value of the land was Rs.4, 40,000/- per bigha.

Furthermore, the appellant had spent a huge amount for the development of the land, for which no compensation stood awarded to him and, therefore, he was entitled to an Award of Rs.2,00,000/- on this behalf also. Feeling aggrieved, he filed the reference.

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The Reference Petition held that the landowner was not entitled to any enhancement of compensation. As the compensation awarded to the landowner by the Land Acquisition Collector was adequate.

Petitioner’s Contentions

Learned Senior Counsel, representing the appellant had argued that the Award passed by learned Reference Court was not sustainable in the eyes of law, as the sale deeds relied upon by the appellant as exemplar sale deeds were discarded by learned Reference.

He further argued that simply because the sale deeds were executed by the father of the petitioner was no valid basis for discarding the same and similarly because the same was executed 19 days before issuance of Notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, was also no valid ground for discarding the same. He argued that even if other things were taken to be as they were, then also the compensation paid to the appellant had to be enhanced in terms of the sale deeds exhibited by the appellant.

Respondent’s Contentions

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Learned Additional Advocate General submitted that there was no infirmity with the Award passed by the learned Reference Court. He argued that the learned Reference Court correctly observed that adequate compensation was paid to the landowner, taking into consideration the fact that he had purchased the entire property for a sum of Rs.2,50,000/- only, therefore, the award called for no interference.

Court’s Observation

It was not in dispute that the acquired land was purchased by the appellant for a sum of Rs.2, 50,000/- in all, vide two sale deeds. It was also not in dispute that Notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act for the acquisition of the land was issued on 05.06.1997.

Further, the Court held that no evidence was placed on record by the respondents to demonstrate that the sale deeds relied upon by the present appellant were not bonafide, but were executed by the father of the present appellant just to artificially enhance the value of the land in the vicinity as he was aware of the process of acquisition of the same.

Court’s Judgment

The Court held that this appeal is allowed, by setting aside the award passed by learned Reference Court and by ordering the enhancement of the Award amount awarded in favor of the appellant by the Land Acquisition Collector, by assessing the same at the rate of Rs.15, 000/- per biswa. The rest of the Award passed by the Land Acquisition Collector shall remain as it were.

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