Payment of additional market value, solatium and interest is an integral part of the award for land acquisition proceedings and they must be paid automatically, the Madras High Court has held.

The additional market value at 12 per cent, solatium at 30 per cent and interest are an integral part of the award which does not require a landowner to plead to be paid, Justice P T Asha said while passing an order in favour of the landowner on April 22.

The judge was dismissing an appeal preferred by the Project Director (LA), NHAI in Salem, challenging the order passed in October 2018 by the Principal District Sessions Judge in Salem.

The lower court had set aside orders of the arbitrator and retained the market value of Rs 23.45 lakh and directed the authorities to pay 12 per cent additional market value from the date of notification to the date of award, 30 per cent solatium and interest at 9 per cent on the difference amount for one from taking possession and 15 per cent thereafter till payment.

Rejecting the plea, the judge observed that these amounts had been omitted to be given to the landowner by the arbitrator. The omission had been corrected by the Principal District Judge before whom the petition under Section 34 A and C of the LA had been filed. However, this was challenged through this appeal as being an exercise of jurisdiction not vested with the Court under this section.

The judge noted the fact that has to be kept in mind was that the arbitral proceedings under the NH Act were not by consensus amongst the parties but was a mechanism thrust upon a landowner by the NH Act. A landowner, whose lands have been acquired under the Land Acquisition Act, can have the omission rectified in the proceedings that he files in the Civil Court against the award passed by the Land Acquisition Officer or in the further appeal to the Appellate Court. However, in the case of a landowner, whose lands have been acquired under the NH Act and the arbitrator fails to pass an order for payment of solatium etc., he is left with no alternative to having the award corrected in a Section 34 petition.

On the basis of the distinction set out by the Supreme Court in the case of Dyna Technologies and taking into account the implied reference in its judgement in the Tarsem Singh case that even in the absence of specific plea or proof, the appellant is entitled to the benefits of Section 23(1-A) and (2) and proviso to Section 28 of the Land Acquisition Act, the judge said that she saw no reason to interfere with the order passed in Arbitration by the Principal District Court, Salem.

"Although a plea for a remand was made taking note of the fact that the land has been acquired as early as in the year 2008 and taking into consideration the dicta of the Supreme Court that the land owner is entitled to the above sums, I see no reason to once again remand the matter back to the Arbitrator," the judge said and dismissed the appeal.

(With PTI Inputs)