Land Acquisition; Airport Director, Calicut International Airport Vs. Cheruvattur Charu [Kerala High Court, 27-06-2016]

Land Acquisition Act, 1894 – Section 28A – Certified Copy – Re-determination of the amount of compensation on the basis of the award of the Court – benefit of the proviso can be availed of only by the person producing the certified copy of the Award – even if the certified copy is not one applied for and obtained by the applicant.

Certified Copy


IN THE HIGH COURT OF KERALA AT ERNAKULAM

P.B. SURESH KUMAR, J.

W.P.(C) No.19819 of 2016

Dated 27 th June, 2016

PETITIONER(S)

THE AIRPORT DIRECTOR, CALICUT INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, AIRPORT AUTHORITY OF INDIA, CALICUT AIRPORT PO, CALICUT- 673 647.

BY SRI.N.N.SUGUNAPALAN, SENIOR ADVOCATE. ADV. SRI.S.SUJIN.

RESPONDENT(S)

1. CHERUVATTUR CHARU

2. SPECIAL TAHSILDAR, LAND ACQUISITION (GENERAL), MALAPPURAM- 676 505.

3. DISTRICT COLLECTOR MALAPPURAM -676 505.

4. STATE OF KERALA, REPRESENTED BY CHIEF SECRETARY TO GOVERNMENT, GOVT. SECRETARIAT, THIRUVANANTHAPURAM- 695 001.

R2 TO R4 BY GOVT. PLEADER SRI.ARUNKUMAR M.R. KARANAVAR.

JU D G M E N T

The Airport Director of the Calicut International Airport is the petitioner in this writ petition. Lands were acquired for the extension of the runway of the Calicut International Airport pursuant to a notification dated 30.4.1994 issued under

Section 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894

(‘the Act’ for short). The owners of the lands acquired for the said purpose, who were dis-satisfied with the compensation awarded, sought enhanced compensation in a batch of reference cases under Section 18 of the Act and the Reference Court in LAR No.125/97 and connected cases, granted enhanced compensation to them. A land owned by the first respondent was also acquired for the purpose referred to above. The first respondent, however, has not sought reference under Section 18 of the Act for enhanced compensation. Consequently, when the Reference Court granted enhanced compensation in LAR No.125/97 and connected cases, the first respondent preferred Ext.P1 application for re-determination of compensation granted to him under Section 28A of the Act. On receipt of Ext.P1 application, the Land Acquisition Officer issued notice to the petitioner. The petitioner preferred Ext.P3 objection to Ext.P1 application. In Ext.P3 objection, it was contended, among others, that the application preferred by the first respondent for re-determination of compensation under Section 28A of the Act is barred by limitation. The Land Acquisition Officer re-determined the compensation payable to the first respondent in tune with the award in LAR No.125/97 and connected cases and requested the petitioner to make available the funds required for passing the award in favour of the first respondent under Section 28A of the Act. The petitioner has not made available the funds requested for by the Land Acquisition Officer on the ground that the objections raised by them in Ext.P3 have not been considered. Thereupon, the Land Acquisition Officer rejected the objections raised by the petitioner, by Ext.P5 order. In Ext.P5 order, the Land Acquisition Officer has stated that the judgment in LAR.No.125/97 and connected cases was rendered on 13.2.2009; that the first respondent has applied for certified copy of the judgment on 17.2.2009; that the first respondent has obtained the certified copy applied for by him only on 2.6.2009 and that therefore, the application preferred by the first respondent for re-determination of compensation under Section 28A of the Act on 23.6.2009 is well within time. The petitioner is aggrieved by Ext.P5 order of the Land Acquisition Officer. Hence this writ petition.

2. Heard the learned counsel for the petitioner as also the learned Government Pleader.

3. The learned counsel for the petitioner contended that there is nothing on record to indicate that the certified copy of the judgment in LAR.No.125/97 which was produced by the first respondent along with his application under section 28A of the Act is a certified copy applied for and obtained by him. According to the learned counsel, if only the first respondent had applied for a certified copy of the judgment of the Reference Court for the purpose of preferring the application under section 28A the Act, he is entitled to claim exclusion of the time required for obtaining the certified copy, while computing the period of three months prescribed for preferring the application under Section 28A of the Act.

4. Section 28A of the Act reads thus :

28A : Re-determination of the amount of compensation on the basis of the award of the Court

(1) Where in an award under this Part, the Court allows to the applicant any amount of compensation in excess of the amount awarded by the Collector under section 11, the persons interested in all the other land covered by the same notification under Section 4, sub-section (1) and who are also aggrieved by the award of the Collector may, notwithstanding that they had not made an application to the Collector under section 18, by written application to the Collector within three months from the date of the award of the Court require that the amount of compensation payable to them may be re-determined on the basis of the amount of compensation awarded by the Court :

Provided that in computing the period of three months within which an application to the Collector shall be made under this sub-section, the day on which the award was pronounced and the time requisite for obtaining a copy of the award shall be excluded.

(2) The Collector shall, on receipt of an application under subsection(1), conduct an inquiry after giving notice to all the persons interested and giving them a reasonable opportunity of being heard, and make an award determining the amount of compensation payable to the applicants.

(3) Any person who has not accepted the award under subsection (2) may, by written application to the Collector, require that the matter be referred by the Collector for the determination of the Court and the provisions of sections 18 to 28 shall, so far as may be, apply to such reference as they apply to a reference under section 18.”

As per the said provision, if the court allows enhanced compensation for a land involved in a land acquisition proceedings, persons interested in all other lands covered by the same notification under Section 4(1) of the Act, are entitled to prefer applications for re-determination of compensation in tune with the award of the Reference Court. The statute, of course, provides a time limit for preferring application for redetermination of compensation. Since application of that nature cannot be considered without there being any material to show that enhancement was granted by the Reference Court in respect of a property covered by the same notification, the provision insists that a certified copy of the judgment of the Reference Court should also be produced along with the application. The proviso to Section 28A(1), however, clarifies that the day on which the award was pronounced and the time required for obtaining a copy of the award shall, however, be excluded while computing the period of three months prescribed for preferring the application. The statute does not say that the certified copy produced along with the application for re-determination of compensation shall be one obtained by the applicant. As indicated above, the certified copy of the award by the Reference Court is insisted only for the purpose of satisfying that enhancement has been granted in respect of a property covered by the same notification. As such, according to me, even if the certified copy produced along with the application is not one obtained by the applicant, the Land Acquisition Officer is bound to re-determine the compensation payable to him.

5. The learned counsel for the petitioner, relying on the decision of this Court in