MADHUKAR S/O GOVINDRAO KAMBLE vs VIDARBHA IRRIGATION DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION
MADHUKAR S/O GOVINDRAO KAMBLE vs VIDARBHA IRRIGATION DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION - Supreme Court Case 2022
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 368-369 OF 2022
(ARISING OUT OF SLP (CIVIL) NOS. 3526-27 OF 2019)
MADHUKAR S/O GOVINDRAO KAMBLE &
VIDARBHA IRRIGATION DEVELOPMENT
CORPORATION & ORS. .....RESPONDENT(S)
J U D G M E N T
HEMANT GUPTA, J.
1. The landowners are in appeal aggrieved against the judgment passed
by the High Court of Judicature at Bombay, Nagpur Bench on
17.07.2017 whereby the compensation for the land acquired was
assessed as Rs.56,500/- per hectare. The order of the Reference Court
enhancing the amount of compensation to Rs.1,95,853/- per hectare
was set aside in the order impugned in the present appeal.
2. The land admeasuring 2.42 hectares of land was intended to be
acquired in pursuance of the notification under Section 4 of the Land
Acquisition Act, 18941
published on 25.02.1999 for the purpose of
1 The Act
resettlement of affected person from Lower Wardha submergence
3. The Special Land Acquisition Officer granted compensation at the rate
of Rs.56,500/- on 31.07.2000. The landowners aggrieved against the
inadequate determination of the market value sought references under
Section 18 of the Act. Before the learned Reference Court, five sale
exemplars were relied upon, out of which Exh.34 and Exh.35 were
excluded on the ground that such sale exemplars were after the date
of publication of notification under Section 4 of the Act. However, the
three sale exemplars were considered i.e. Exh. 31, Exh.32 and Exh.33.
The date of sale, land survey number; amount of the sale consideration
and the price at the rate per hectare was sole is mentioned in the
Exhibit Date of sale Survey No Area sold Price paid
Exh. 31 11.2.1998 67/1 2.70
Exh. 32 5.12.1998 337 2.20
Exh. 33 30.10.1998 216/1, 314/3 151
4. The learned Reference Court found that Exh.31 and Exh.32 is of
agricultural land but there is no concrete evidence to conclude that the
land in these two exemplars were having non-agricultural potentiality
at the time of acquisition. The sale exemplar Exh.33 was taken into
consideration though it was in respect of a small portion. The sale deed
Exh. 33 was executed by Nagar Parishad, Deoli after conducting public
auction. The learned Reference Court proceeded to take Rs. 130.73 per
sq. mtr. as the base value. It was also noticed that the land was
adjacent to road whereas as per the map of Exh.30, the land acquired
falling part of Survey No.592 has no access to road. The Reference
Court found that the land in sale deed Exh.33 is in the near vicinity of
the land acquired but deducted 30% of the value on account of nonsimilarity, 30% on account of the sale being of a small area and
another 30% on account of development charges. Thus, the Reference
Court found that per hectare market value would be Rs.1,95,853.55/-.
It is the said compensation which was allowed by the Reference Court
along with the statutory benefits.
5. The landowners in their reference have averred that the acquired land
was near to the populated area of Deoli town having all the facilities
like Educational Institutions, Banks, Tahsil Office, Hospitals, Courts and
is located within the municipal area of the Deoli. The State in its reply
have simply denied the claim for enhancement without disputing the
location of the land acquired.
6. In fact, one of the landowners, Prakash as a witness examined on
behalf of the landowners deposed that the land, subject matter of the
sale deed Exh.33 is near to the acquired land. The landowners have
reserved the land for non-agricultural use i.e. residential plots
considering heavy demands in the locality. In the cross-examination,
only the suggestion was put to the witness that there were no houses
or offices near the acquired land or that acquired land is at a distance
of 4 to 5 kms from the highway.
7. One Mr. Rahul Shakarrao Sangle, an architect, was examined by the
landowner. He is the one who prepared a map of the proposed layout
Exh. 30 and valuation report. In the cross-examination, he deposed
that the acquired land is at around ½ km from highway. He denied the
suggestion that the acquired land is at 5 to 7 kms from highway. On
the other hand, the respondent, Ravindra Bhalchandra Khanjaji, Special
Land Acquisition Officer, deposed that there is electricity office,
Municipal Council, Primary School in the village but has not deposed
regarding the location of land or its proximity with the educational
Institutions, Banks, Tahsil Office, Hospitals, Courts or that the land is
not located within the municipal area etc. as deposed by a witness
examined on behalf of the landowner.
8. Learned counsel for the appellant argued that the learned Reference
Court has made deduction to the extent of 90% from the best sale
instance which is near to the acquired land. The Reference Court has
made deduction 30% of the value on account of non-similarity, 30% on
account of the sale being of a small area and another 30% on account
of development charges. Therefore, the compensation awarded by the
Reference Court has been illegally interfered with by the High Court.
The sale exemplars Exh.31 and Exh.32 are of agricultural land which
have no potentiality for non-agricultural activity comparable to the
acquired land for residential and commercial purpose being in close
vicinity near to such Educational Institutions, Banks, Tahsil Office,
Hospitals, Courts. Therefore, the order of the High Court is not
sustainable. Thus, the appellant prayed for restoration of the order
passed by the Reference Court.
9. On the other hand, learned counsel for the respondent argued that the
sale exemplars Exh.31 and Exh.32 were of agricultural land whereas
the land acquired was a non-agricultural land. Therefore, the High
Court had rightly set aside the compensation based on a sale exemplar
of a small area of 151 square meters.
10. We have heard learned counsel for the parties and find that the High
Court has erred in law in setting aside the determination of market
value of the land by the Reference Court.
11. The evidence produced by the landowners is that the acquired land is
close to Educational Institutions, Banks, Tahsil Office etc. whereas there
is no evidence that the irrigated agricultural land has the potential of
use for either residential or commercial purposes. It is not the nature of
land which alone is determinative of the market value of the land. The
market value must be determined keeping in view the various factors
including proximity to the developed area and the road etc. As per the
evidence led by the landowners, the land acquired is ½ km from the
road. The land is close to developed residential or commercial or
institutional area. On the other hand, there is no evidence that Exh.31
and Exh.32 are in any way comparable to the land acquired. The High
Court has erred in law in holding that since the land of the sale
exemplars Exh.31 and Exh.32 is of irrigated agricultural land whereas
the land acquired is unirrigated, is not the reasonable yardstick to
determine market value of the land as the land in question is close to
already developed area.
12. Therefore, we find that the reasoning of the High Court is fallacious and
not sustainable. Consequently, the appeals are allowed. The order
passed by the High Court is set aside and that the order of the
Reference Court is restored.
JANUARY 31, 2022.