High Court of Punjab and Haryana, Chandigarh
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Pran Sukh & Ors v. State of Haryana & Ors - RFA-2699-2003  RD-P&H 3317 (19 May 2006)
IN THE HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB & HARYAN AT CHANDIGRH
R.F.A. No. 2699 of 2003
Date of decision: May 19,2006
Pran Sukh and others V. State of Haryana and others
CORAM: HON'BLE MR.JUSTICE VINEY MITTAL
Present: Shri Shailendra Jain, Advocate, Shri C.B.Goel,Advocate
Shri J.K.Siba,Senior Advocate with Shri Sapan Dhir Shri I.K.Mehta with Shri M.S.Kohli,
Shri Pyush Jain, Advocate
Shri Pawan Malik,Advocate
Shri Partap Singh,Advocate
Shri Sudhir Aggarwal,Advocate
for the appellants.
Shri Hawa Singh Hooda,Advocate General,Haryana with Shri Ramesh Hooda, Advocate, for the respondents.
This judgment shall dispose of a batch of appeals which arise out of various awards rendered by the reference Court with regard to the assessment of compensation for the acquired land. Although, this batch of appeals arise out of 4/5 separate awards passed by the reference Court, but all the aforesaid awards have been rendered by the reference Court in reference proceedings arising out of a common award dated April 3,1997 passed by the Land Acquisition Collector ( hereinafter referred to as the "Collector"). The claimants are the appellants before this court who had prayed for enhancement of compensation for the acquired land.
Vide notification dated November 15,1994, issued under section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act,1894 ( hereinafter referred to as the "Act") land measuring 1490 acres 3 kanals and 17 marlas in villages R.F.A. No. 2699 of 2003 2
Manesar, Naharpur Kasan, Khoh and Kasan was notified for acquisition for a public purpose,namely, for setting up an Industrial Model Township,at Manesar. Subsequently, notification dated November 10,1995 was issued under section 6 of the Act whereby the aforesaid land was declared to be acquired. On actual measurement, acquired land was found to be measuring 1490 acres 2 kanals 16 marlas.
The Collector found it as a fact that the entire acquired land of the aforesaid four villages was liable to be assessed at a uniform rate of compensation. It was observed by the Collector that the land situated in the four revenue estates of the aforesaid four villages was liable to be treated as one unit and, therefore, assessment of market value of the entire chunk of land was made on that basis. The Collector vide the aforesaid award assessed the market value of the entire acquired land at the rate of Rs.4,13,600/- per acre.
The claimants land-owners remained dissatisfied with the award of the Collector. Consequently, they sought reference under section 18 of the Act. The matter was duly referred.
In the proceedings before the reference Court, the parties led their respective evidence. Besides producing the oral evidence, the claimants also produced the sale instances Ex.P1 to Ex. P13 and a copy of Massavi Chakbandi of village Khoh as Ex.P14, Ak-shajras of villages Khoh, Naharpur Kasan, Kasan and Manesar as Ex.P15 to Ex. P18. On the other hand, the respondent-State examined Arun Kumar Pandey, Manager of Haryana State Industrial Development Corporation as RW1. They also produced the sale deeds Ex.R1 Ex.R15, site plan Ex. RX. Additionally a copy of the award Ex. RY passed by the reference Court in the earlier references arising out of the same award was also produced.
At this stage, it may be noticed that the aforesaid award Ex.RY is also subject matter of appeals in the present bunch of appeals and the aforesaid appeals are also being disposed of through the present judgment.
It may also be noticed that the evidence produced by the claimants in the proceedings culminating into the award Ex.RY is also identical with the evidence which has been produced by the claimants in the other reference proceedings.
R.F.A. No. 2699 of 2003 3
The reference Court primarily did not choose to rely upon the various sale instances produced by the claimants. Various sale instances produced by the State were also ruled out of consideration, inasmuch, as the market value reflected by the sale instances produced by the State was even lower than the market value assessed by the Collector.
The reference court chose to divide the land into two Blocks.
Block 'A' was carved out for lands falling within 500 yards of the National Highway No.8 and Block 'B' was carved out with regard to the remaining land. For Block 'B', no further increase was given by the reference Court and the market value of Rs,4,13,600/- per acre assessed by the Collector was maintained. However, for Block 'A', the reference Court held that the claimants land-owners were entitled to compensation at the rate of Rs,6,89,333/- per acre. Additionally, the landowners were also held entitled to statutory benefits.
The claimants have remained still dissatisfied and have approached this court through the present appeals.
The learned counsel for the claimants have vehemently argued that there was absolutely no justification for the reference court to divide the acquired land into two Blocks, inasmuch, as even the Collector had assessed the market value of the entire acquired land at a uniform rate for all the four villages. On that basis, the learned counsel have maintained that once the Collector had chosen to treat the entire acquired land as one category having same advantages, then it was absolutely unwarranted for the reference Court to have categorised the land into two Blocks. It has also been argued by the learned counsel for the claimants that the reference court had committed an error of law in ignoring the sale instance Ex.P1 which pertains to sale of more than 12 acres of land on September 16,1994, reflecting a sale price of Rs.20,03,103/- per acre. The learned counsel for the claimants have, thus, maintained that the assessment of the market value by the reference Court was wholly inadequate and did not, in any manner, reflect the market price.
On the other hand, Shri H.S. Hooda, learned Advocate General, Haryana has argued that the reference court had already decided the matter on the basis of the facts and circumstances of the case and had rightly ruled R.F.A. No. 2699 of 2003 4
out of the consideration the various sale instances relied upon by the claimants as well as the State. The Advocate General has maintained that the sale instance Ex.P1 was dated September 16,1994, whereas section 4 notification had been issued on November 15,1994., i.e. just after two months of the aforesaid sale instance. On that basis, it has been contended by the learned Advocate General that the said sale instance was just two months prior to section 4 notification and,therefore, could not be treated to be reflective of the market price of the acquired land. It has also been maintained by Shri Hooda that there is a general tendency of reflecting higher price in sale transactions, once it is known that the land in the vicinity was likely to be acquired. Learned Advocate General has also referred to the sale instances Ex.P 2, P3, P7 and P8 which are the sale deeds executed in the month of June,1994 and which reflect the average sale price of around Rs. 7 lacs per acre. On the strength of the aforesaid sale instances it has been argued that the reference Court had rightly assessed the market value of the acquired land in two Blocks and for Block 'A' in respect of lands falling within 500 yards from National Highway No.8, the compensation has been assessed at Rs,6,89,333/- per acre which was just and appropriate.
I have duly considered the rival contentions of the learned counsel for the parties and have also gone through the record of the case with their assistance.
At the out set, it may be noticed that it is settled proposition of law, that the assessment of the market value of the acquired land has to be assessed on the date of section 4 notification and the aforesaid market value has to be assessed keeping in view the price which a willing seller would pay to a willing purchaser, although not too anxious, dealing at an arms length. Thus ,the assessment of compensation for the present acquired land has to be made keeping in view the aforesaid proposition of law.
The claimants have produced various sale instances to prove their claim. Sale deed Ex.P1 is dated September 16,1994 whereby 96 kanals and 13 marlas ( more than 12 acres ) of land in village Naharpur Kasan was sold by the owner, M/s. Heritage Furniture Private Limited to M/s .Dura Cell India Private Limited for a sale consideration of Rs,.2,42,00,000/-, R.F.A. No. 2699 of 2003 5
reflecting the average price of Rs,20,03,103/- per acre. The aforesaid sale instance has been proved by the statement of one Albel Singh PW1,who at the relevant time was the authorised signatory of the seller Company, M/s.
Heritage Furniture Private Limited. The aforesaid witness has clearly proved that the said transaction was genuinely entered between the two companies and the entire payment was made through bank drafts. The factum of the payment having been made through bank drafts is also reflected in the sale deed Ex.P1. Some other sale instances relied upon by the claimants are Ex.P2, P3,P4, P 7 and P8. Vide Ex.P2 land measuring 9 kanals was sold on June 4,1994 for consideration of Rs.7,87,500/-, reflecting an average price of Rs.7 lacs per acre. Similarly Ex.P3 is also dated June 24,1994 pertaining to sale of 10 kanals 10 marlas of land reflecting average sale price of Rs,7,00,000/- Ex.P4 is dated October 25,1991 whereby land measuring 9 kanals 9 marlas in Manesar was sold for Rs. 9,15,470/- reflecting an average price of Rs,7,75,000/- per acre. Ex.
P7 and Ex.P8 are also the sale instances dated June 24,1994 with regard land measuring 9 marlas each reflecting an average price of Rs,7,00,000/- per acre. The remaining sale instances Ex.P9 and P13 are of the year 1996 i.e. more than two years after the date of notification under section 4 of the Act. Similarly the sale instances Ex.P10,P11 and P12 pertain to the sale of land in village Noorangpur. The said sale instances are ,thus, not relevant.
On the other hand ,the sale instances relied upon by he State are Ex.R1 to Ex. R15 but they have rightly been rejected by the reference court itself on the ground that the said sale instance reflected an average price which is even less than the one assessed by the Collector and, as such, in view of the provisions of section 25 of the Act, the same were not relevant and worth consideration.
As noticed above, the land which was acquired in the present proceedings is approximately 1500 acres. The sale instance Ex.P1 in my considered view, reflects as near as possible, the market value of the acquired land on the date of notification under section 4 of the Act. The said sale had taken place on September 16,1994. The recitals in the sale deed reflect that there was a prior agreement between the two companies on May 31,1994 with regard to the sale of the land. It is also recited in the sale R.F.A. No. 2699 of 2003 6
deed that the entire sale consideration was paid by the purchaser-company to the seller company by bank drafts. The aforesaid fact is also proved by Albel Singh,PW1. In this view of the matter, since the aforesaid transaction was between two companies, then obviously , there is no justification to doubt the authenticity of the said sale transaction. Moreover, the land covered under the aforesaid sale transaction is a big chunk of land i.e more than 12 acres. The said land was situated in village Naharpur Kasan i.e. one of the villages from which the present land was also acquired.
In these circumstances to my mind, the said sale instance could not have been rejected by the reference Court, in any manner. Although the other sale instances Ex. P2, P3, P7 and P8 reflect the market price of Rs.7 lacs per acre but it is also apparent that the aforesaid transactions pertain to small piece of land and are between private persons. In these circumstances, the possibility of the aforesaid sale deeds being undervalued,with a view to save stamp duty and registration charges, can also not be ruled out. However, there is no justification to prefer the aforesaid sale deeds Ex.P2, P3, P7 and P8 over and above the sale deed Ex.P1 which is a transaction between the two cooperate bodies and wherein the entire sale consideration had been paid through bank drafts. The aforesaid sale also pertains to a big chunk of land i.e. more than 12 acres. It may also be noticed that the acquired land was owned by approximately more than 350 persons, thus each having a small holding. Therefore, the sale-deed Ex.P1 duly reflects the market value, which a willing buyer would have paid to a willing seller.
Additionally, I have also taken into consideration the site plan Ex.P5 proved on the record by the claimants. The aforesaid site plan shows that the land covered under the sale deed Ex.P1 is lying very near, almost adjacent to the acquired land of the four villages. It is also relevant to notice here that the acquired land abuts Gurgaon-Jaipur road i.e. National Highway No.8. It has also come into evidence that the land covered by the sale deed Ex.P1 was only 12 kilometres from District Courts,Gurgaon and was just 300 yards away from National Highway No.8. Therefore, in my considered view, it would be just, fair and appropriate to adopt Ex.P1 as the basis for assessing the market value of the present acquired land. Ialso notice, on perusal of the site plan Ex.P5, that the land covered under the sale deed R.F.A. No. 2699 of 2003 7
Ex.P1, is only 300 yards away from National Highway No.8 whereas the entire acquired land is little further away. However, it has to be kept in mind that the entire acquired land measures more than 1490 acres. In this view of the matter, when Ex.P1 pertains to sale of more than 12 acres of land,therefore, it is only appropriate if a reasonable cut be imposed for arriving at the fair and just compensation which is payable to the claimants.
In my considered view, applying a cut of 1/4th to the average sale price reflected by Ex.P1, the amount of Rs.15,00,000/- per acre is reflected as the just market value of the acquired land.
I may also note, it must also be noticed that the entire acquired land, in four villages is liable to be assessed at a uniform rate. Even the Collector had found it as a fact that the entire acquired land of the four villages was liable to be assessed as one unit. When the Collector himself had assessed the land of the four villages i,.e. the entire acquired land, as a one unit, then in my opinion, there was absolutely no justification for the reference court to carve out two separate Blocks and assess the market value of the aforesaid two Blocks differently. Thus, I also hold that the entire acquired land is liable to be assessed uniformly and as one unit.
As a result of the aforesaid discussion, I allow the present appeals and hold that the claimants-land/owners would be entitled to compensation for the acquisition of their land at the rate of Rs.15,00,000/- per acre. Additionally, the claimants would be entitled to other statutory benefits as well. There would be no order as to costs.
May 19,2006 ( Viney Mittal )
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