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                SUBJECT : LAND ACQUISITION ACT, 1894

                            RFA Nos. 293, 288-291, 296,
                            424-425, 429-431 & 508/2000
                        Date of Decision : 05.05.2005

RAM MEHAR (RFA No. 293/2000)
MANOHAR & ORS. (RFA No. 290/2000)
TODAR (RFA No. 291/2000)
RISAL SINGH & ORS. (RFA No. 296/2000)
                    ...        ...     ... APPELLANTS
          through :                    Mr. Rohit Sharma,


                    ...              ...         ... RESPONDENTS
          through :                              Mr. Sanjay Poddar,
                                                 Advocate for R 1 / LAC.
                                                 Mr. Ajay Jha, Advocate
                                                 for R3 / DVB/DESU/NDPL.


                      ...            ...         ...   APPELLANT
          through :                              Mr. Sanjay Poddar,



MANOHAR & ORS. (RFA No. 429/2000)
TODAR (RFA No. 430/2000)
RISAL SINGH & ORS. (RFA No. 431/2000)
RAM MEHAR & ORS. (RFA No. 508/2000)
                    ...        ...               ... RESPONDENTS
          through :                              Mr. Rohit Sharma,
                                                    Advocate for Claimants.
                                                    Mr. Ajay Jha, Advocate
                                                    for the respondent /
                                                    DVB / DESU / NDPL.


1)           The explanation submitted by the Registry is accepted.

2)           At the oral request of learned counsel for the respondent, Delhi
Electricity Supply Undertaking, is substituted by the new entity, North Delhi Power
Limited. Amended memo of parties be filed within a week.

3)           There are two sets of appeals, which will form subject matter of
adjudication by the present judgment. The first set of appeals is filed by the claimants
for enhancement of compensation determined in terms of the impugned judgment of
learned Additional District Judge on a reference being made under Section 18 of the
Land Acquisition Act, 1894 ( hereinafter to be referred to as, 'the said Act' ). The
second set of appeals is filed by the Union of India through Land Acquisition
Collector justifying determination of the value of land made by him and seeking to set
aside enhancement of compensation granted by the Reference Court.

4)            The land in question is situated at Village Bawana, which was acquired
for a public purpose of setting up an electric sub-station.

5)           A notification was issued under Section 4 of the said Act on 03.06.1987
and the declaration under Section 6 of the said Act was made on 09.06.1987. The
Land Acquisition Collector made the Award No. 30/87-88 on 21.03.1988 determining
the market value of land at Rs.8,390/- per bigha. The claimants aggrieved by the same
sought a reference under Section 18 of the said Act and learned Additional District
Judge in terms of the impugned order in respect of LAC Cases No. 3-8/2000 vide
judgment dated 04.02.2000 determined the market value of land at Rs.20,820/- per

6)           Learned counsel for the appellants / claimants submitted that in respect
of the same very public purpose, land was acquired under a notification issued under
Section 4 of the said Act of the same date in Naya Bans. This plea is based on the fact
that a Division Bench of this Court in RFA No.859/1995 titled 'Sh. Ram Kishan
(Deceased) Thru LRs v. Union of India' decided on 04.03.2004 determined the market
value of land at Naya Bans at Rs.32,951/-.

7)            An important aspect to be taken note of is that the Land Acquisition
Collector (LAC) itself had determined three different rates of value of the land for
three villages. The value determined for Naya Bans was Rs.8,790/- per bigha and for
Holambi Khurd was Rs.8,620/- per bigha, while in the case of Bawana, it was
Rs.8,390/- per bigha. The Reference Court also granted different values of land – in
respect of Bawana as already stated above, it was determined at Rs.20,820/- per bigha,
while in respect of Naya Bans and Holambi Khurd, it was determined at Rs.27,000/-
per bigha.

8)            There is no doubt that in respect of Naya Bans, this Court enhanced the
amount to Rs.32,951/- per bigha. On the basis of the said judgment, a plea was made
in respect to the acquisition in respect of Holambi Khurd to enhance it to the same
value. In RFA No. 1020/1995 titled 'Shri Lok Chand & Ors. v. Union of India'
decided on 07.04.2005, this plea was negated by this Court while discussing the
special circumstances under which the enhanced value was granted in the case of land
situated at Naya Bans. It would be relevant to reproduce the relevant paragraphs of
the said judgment:
3.            The claimants relied upon a judgment Exhibit C-1 in LAC No. 296/90
titled Raj Pal vs. Union of India decided on 4-4-1995 for the acquisition of land
situated in village Holambi Khurd. The court in that case considered the Apex Court
decision reported in AIR 1988 SC 943 as also the award made by the reference court
in LAC 413/93 titled Ramkala vs. Union of India decided on 1.2.1995 for the land
situated at village Naya Bans which came to be acquired vide notification issued of
the same date and the market price was determined @ Rs.27000/-.

4.           Learned counsel for the appellant contends that as the Division Bench
hearing the appeal enhanced the amount of compensation of the land situated at
village Naya Bans, hence in the instant case also the compensation should be awarded
accordingly. In the case of the land situated in village Naya Bans in Kanwal Singh vs.
Union of India RFA No. 978/95, the court has pointed out that the sale deed which
was relied upon formed the basis of the judgment and that was a developed piece of
land or was in any other way in an advantageous position than the acquired land. It is
also required to be noted that the land of the claimants was undeveloped but it was in
the area adjoining to his land which was a developed area and claimed the price of his
land at par with the developed land. In that village there was sale deed at an average
price of Rs.32,400/- per bigha which was duly established. Therefore it is very clear
from the tenor of the judgment that the land situated at village Naya Bans on account
of development had higher value. It is also required to be noted that peculiarity of
land persuaded the Bench to make a lesser deduction in the value of the land on
account of large scale acquisition. So far as village Holambi Khurd is concerned there
is nothing on the record about development that had taken place in village Holambi
Khurd. There is nothing to indicate that there is similar peculiarity which existed in
the case of Kanwal Singh vs. Union of India.

5.            Learned counsel also contends that the Land Acquisition Collector has
recorded that the land is same. It is required to be noted that the agricultural land in
the village and nearby villages would be the same. However it does not mean that the
potentiality is the same as that of nearby villages. In the absence of any material on
account of so called peculiarity it cannot be said that the same amount of
compensation should be granted.

9)            A specific question was posed to learned counsel for the appellants /
claimants as to whether any special material has been placed on record or evidence led
to establish the peculiarities of the land in question so as to seek equation with the
land at Naya Bans. The only plea raised is that the sale deed in respect of Naya Bans
was produced and was exhibited as Exhibit PW 1/A. It is submitted that the witness
PW 1 proved the said document and had stated that the land was only a couple of kilas
away from the land of the appellant. Interestingly, while perusing the testimony of
PW 1, we find that a photocopy of the document was Exhibit PW 1/A and it was
stated in the brackets subject to proof. Thus, the document was not treated as having
been proved. It is not disputed that no other witness proved the said document.
Despite this fact, learned Additional District Judge in the impugned order has
considered this document as if it was exhibited in accordance with law.

10)           Be that as it may, it is relevant to note that nothing has been shown as to
why the land of the appellants should be equated with the land at Naya Bans or that it
had some peculiarities as the land at Naya Bans. The mere fact that the land is not far
away from the land forming subject matter of sale deed in Exhibit PW – 1/A would
not suffice. Maybe the land is away a couple of kilas and not couple of kilometers as
recorded in the impugned order, but it has to be borne in mind that when sale deeds of
a particular village are available and there is large-scale acquisition of land, it is best
to rely on the said documents, rather than the sale deeds of an adjacent village until
and unless it is shown that the land has certain peculiarities which make the land
similar to the land of the adjacent village. No such material has been placed on

11)          A site plan of the area has also been produced before us, which would
show that there are three different villages and there is a large acquisition of land. The
appellant in RFA No. 293/2000, who entered the witness box, did not deny the fact
that there may be other sale deeds executed in respect of Village Bawana, but
professed ignorance of the same. However, the said sale deeds were proved and were
available on record in respect of Village Bawana.

12)         The aforesaid has, in fact, been the basis of the impugned judgment as
would be apparent from the reading of paras 23 and 24 where a reference has been
made to judgments of the Supreme Court on the same proposition of law including in
P. Ramreddy & Ors. v. Land Acquisition Officer, Hyderabad Urban Development
Authority, Hyderabad & Ors., 1995 (2) SCC 305.

13)           In our considered view, the Reference Court rightly came to the
conclusion that when sale deeds are available in respect of the very village for which
the land has been acquired, there is no reason to look to the sale deeds of adjacent
village in the absence of any special reasons to equate the land in question with the
land of the adjacent village. Mere proximity cannot be a proof of equating with the
adjacent village and even that proximity is not conclusively established in evidence in
the present case.

14)          In so far as the appeals filed by LAC are concerned, learned counsel for
the appellants / LAC has not been able to substantiate any merits in the same,
especially in view of the principles relied upon by the Reference Court as referred to
above and the finding arrived at in para 27 of the impugned judgment.

15)          The result of the aforesaid is that both sets of appeals are dismissed
leaving the parties to bear their own costs.
16)         In the end, it may be noted that some of the appeals being RFA Nos. 424,
425, 429, 430 & 431/2000 filed by UOI / LAC were not in the cause list for today, but
were taken up at the request of learned counsel for the parties.

                                                                CHIEF JUSTICE

                                                   SANJAY KISHAN KAUL, J.
May 05, 2005

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