Potential of land acquisition and cumulative increase should be considered before determining the market value of a land: Supreme Court

As per the settled preposition of law while determining the market value/compensation, previous instances of acquisition in proximity for location and potential of land acquisition along with cumulative increase is relevant consideration as held by the Hon’ble Supreme Court through the learned bench led by Justice M. R. Shah in the case of Anil Kumar Soti & Ors. v. State of U.P. through Collector Bijnore (U.P.) (CIVIL APPEAL NO.6919 OF 2021).

The brief facts of the case are that the appellants’ lands situated at village Rawali came to be acquired for public purpose. A notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 was issued on 16.05.1981. The Land Acquisition Officer declared the award and determined the compensation at Rs.5,218.39/­ per acre. At the instances of the claimants a Reference was made to the District Court under Section 18 of the ACT claiming compensation of Rs.12,000/­ per acre. The Reference Court enhanced the compensation from Rs.5,218.39/­ per acre to Rs.6,696.70/­ per acre with all other statutory benefits which may be available under the Act. The appellants herein preferred the appeal before the High Court. The claimants prayed the compensation of Rs.15,402/­ per acre relying upon the judgment and award passed by the Reference Court in another case with respect to the acquisition of the land of the very village, but with respect to the notification issued under Section 4 of the Act dated 19.12.1981. That by the impugned judgment and order and relying upon and considering the sale deed exemplar dated 23.12.1980, the High Court has partly allowed the said appeal and has determined and awarded the compensation at the rate of Rs.7,100/­ per acre. Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court, enhancing the amount of compensation to Rs.7,100/­ per acre only the original claimants have preferred the present appeal.

After the perusal of the facts and arguments by the learned counsels, the Hon’ble Court held, “In the present case, time gap between two notifications under Section 4 of the Act is only seven months. Nothing has been pointed out with respect to any material changes for the period between 16.05.1981 and 16.12.1981 ­ time gap between the two notifications under Section 4 of the Act. The Reference Court in that case relied upon the sale deed exemplar of 1978. The judgment and award passed by the Reference Court in that case determining the market value/compensation at Rs.15,402/­ per acre has attained the finality and the State has accepted the same by withdrawing the appeal against the said judgment and award. Therefore, in the present circumstances, the appellants shall be entitled to the compensation at Rs.15,402/­ per acre. In view of the above and for the reasons stated above, the present appeal succeeds. The present appeal is allowed accordingly.”

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Judgment reviewed by Vandana Ragwani

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