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Report by Shweta Sabuji

The State of Haryana has filed the current appeals because it feels wronged and unsatisfied by the impugned common judgment and order dated 18.10.2019 issued by the High Court of Punjab and Haryana in Chandigarh, which increased the amount of compensation for the lands acquired at Rs. 2,98,54,720/- per acre with all other statutory benefits and allowed the said first appeals in part preferred by the original land owners. 

FACTS:

Under the terms of the Property Acquisition Act of 1894, a substantial portion of land in the village of Kherki, Majra, measuring roughly 58 acres, was purchased for public use. The awards were made public by the land acquisition officer. The original landowners requested that references be made under Section 18 of the Act of 1894. The reference court increased the compensation for the notification dated 13.01.2010 from Rs. 60 lakhs per acre as awarded by the land acquisition officer to Rs. 1,56,24,000/per acre. The State’s appeals against the decision and award rendered by the reference court, which set the compensation at Rs. 1,56,24,000, were ultimately dismissed.

But by the impugned judgment and order, which considered the compensation amount increased by the High Court and modified by this Court to Rs. 2,38,00,000/per acre concerning the lands acquired in January 2008 and granted a 12% cumulative increase, the High Court has partially allowed the appeals raised by the landowners and determined and awarded the compensation at Rs. 2,98,54,720. The State of Haryana has filed the current appeals because it is unhappy with the impugned decision and order made by the High Court that determined and awarded compensation for the lands acquired via a notification dated 13.01.2010 at Rs. 2,98,54,720 per acre.

PLAINTIFF CONTENTION:

While calculating the compensation at Rs. 2,98,54,720/- per acre for the lands acquired via a notification dated 13.01.2010, Shri Nikhil Goel, learned AAG, appearing on behalf of the State, has vehemently argued that the High Court materially erred by considering and/or relying upon the judgment of this Court [State of Haryana vs. Ram Chander (2017 SCC Online SC 1869)]concerning the lands acquired.

It is argued that this Court clearly said in the decision and order it issued that the compensation figure of Rs. 2,38,00,000 per acre established by the judgment shall not be regarded as precedent in any other case. Considering this, it is argued that the High Court committed a grave error by considering the sum awarded by this Court in the decision and order given at a value of Rs. 2,38,00,000.

Furthermore, it is argued that prices for the lands were artificially raised because, concerning the community specifically, lands started to be acquired starting in 2008. Therefore, it is claimed, the High Court erred significantly by increasing the award price of Rs. 2,38,00,000 per acre by 12% for the notification of 25.01.2008.

DEFENDANTS CONTENTION:

The learned attorney representing the landowners has argued that after the State’s appeals were rejected and the impugned common judgment and order were issued in the landowners’ appeals, the State is no longer permitted to contest the impugned common judgment and order issued by the High Court.

Further, it is argued that there was a price increase even after considering the sale instances that were provided on record from 09.03.2007 to 31.03.2008; as a result, the High Court did not mistake in approving the 12% increase on Rs. 2,38,00/- per acre. It is argued that, as of this point, no conclusive evidence nor a sale instance to the opposite has been recorded by the acquiring authority, demonstrating a decline in market value between 2008 and 2010.

JUDGMENT:

This Court made it clear in the judgment and order that it should not be regarded as a precedent. It must be observed, however, that even on the merits, this Court considered and approved the sale cases presented on behalf of the landowners between 2007 and 2008. Because the compensation amount of Rs. 2,38,00,000/- per acre for the land acquired through a notification issued on January 25, 2008,can be considered the base and the time interval between the 2008 notification and the 2010 notification, a suitable enhancement of 8% to 15% is given, which is held in the case of [Pehlad Ram Vs. HUDA; (2014) 14 SCC 778]

It will not be safe or wise to grant the cumulative increase of 12% nonetheless, especially because the purchase processes in the current case were just started in January 2008 concerning the exact hamlet. Considering the facts and circumstances of the case, as well as the sale cases that have been presented on the record, we believe that accepting a 10% increase above the original amount of Rs. 2,38,00,000 can be considered just compensation and may further the interests of justice. The market value of the land in question for the lands acquired via a notification dated 13.01.2010 will be Rs. 2,87,98,000/- per acre considering this situation. The current appeals are partially granted to the degree, and it is decided that the original landowners are entitled to compensation at a rate of Rs. 2,87,98,000 per acre together with any additional legal advantages that may be provided by the Land Acquisition Act, of 1894.

READ FULL JUDGEMENT: https://bit.ly/3RXb5S4

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