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Vithal Rao and Ors. Vs. The Special Land Acquisition Officer - (Supreme Court) (07 Jul 2017)

Courts can always apply reasonable amount of guesswork to balance equities in order to fix a just and fair market value


Land Acquisition

Present appeals are filed by land owners against final judgment and order passed by High Court of Karnataka, whereby High Court allowed appeals in part and modified Award dated 24th August, 2012 passed by Court of Senior Civil Judge, Mudhol and re-determined compensation at Rs. 13,93,920/- per acre as against Rs. 6,75,000/- per acre with all statutory benefits as envisaged under Section 23 of Land Acquisition Act, 1894.

Court in several cases have also laid down that, while determining true market value of acquired land and especially when acquired land is a large chunk of undeveloped land, it is just and reasonable to make appropriate deduction towards expenses for development of acquired land. It has also been consistently held that, at what percentage deduction should be made vary from 10% to 86% and, therefore, deduction should be made keeping in mind nature of land, area under acquisition, whether land is developed or not and, if so, to what extent, purpose of acquisition, etc. It has also been held that, while determining market value of large chunk of land, value of smaller piece of land can be taken into consideration after making proper deduction in the value of lands and when sale deeds of larger parcel of land are not available. This Court has also laid down that, Court should also take into consideration potentiality of acquired land apart from other relevant considerations. This Court has also recognized that, Courts can always apply reasonable amount of guesswork to balance equities in order to fix a just and fair market value in terms of parameters specified under Section 23 of Act.

In present case, land acquired in question is a large chunk of land (30 acres approx.). Purpose of acquisition is "Establishment of Rehabilitation Centre". It is situated within municipal limits. Its one side is abutting main district road (MDR). It is not fully developed. Some buildings have come up in its near proximity. Appellants (land owners) have not filed any exemplar's sale deeds relating to large piece of land sold in acres to prove market value of acquired land. All sale deeds relied on by Appellants pertain to very small piece of land, whereas land acquired, is quite large (30 acres). Small parcel of lands sold under these sale deeds are situated in near proximity of acquired land and some were part of acquired land. All eleven sale deeds are held bona fide and proper. These sale deeds, therefore, can be relied on for determining proper market value of acquired land.

Since, acquired land is not fully developed and it requires for construction of rehabilitation centre, it would be just, fair and proper to deduct 40% of amount towards development charges out of average price worked out. Such deduction is permissible in law. Impugned order is modified to extent that, Appellants are held entitled to claim compensation for acquired land at rate of Rs. 60/- per sq ft. As a consequence, Appellants are held entitled to claim all statutory compensation accordingly.


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