The Supreme Court while enhancing the compensation payable to landowners in land acquisition case has observed that the High Court committed a very serious error in discarding the sale exemplars.

The Court while allowing the appeals in part held that the common judgment and order passed by the High Court are modified and the landowners shall be entitled to the compensation of Rs. 12,16,800/- for the lands acquired with all other statutory benefits and the interest.

The Bench of Justice M.R. Shah and Justice M.M. Sundresh noted –

"… we are of the opinion that the High Court has committed a very serious error in discarding the sale instances/ sale exemplars produced as Exs. P3 And P4."

Advocate Rakesh Dahiya appeared on behalf of the appellants and Advocate Priya Puri appeared for the respondents.

Senior Advocate Meenakshi Arora appeared on behalf of the beneficiaries i.e., Indian Oil Corporation.

Facts of the case –

The lands situated within the revenue estate of Village Bhondsi, Tehsil Sohna, District Gurgaon was acquired under the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 for setting up of Liquified Petroleum Gas Plant at Bhondsi.

Notification under Section 4 of the said Act was issued in the year 1996. The Land Acquisition Officer determined and awarded the compensation of Rs. 5,30,000/- per acre for irrigated lands and Rs. 2,00,000/- per acre for non-irrigated lands. The Reference Court fixed the compensation at Rs. 5,30,000/- per acre for both the irrigated and non-irrigated lands.

The High Court by the common judgment and order determined and enhanced the amount of compensation to Rs. 7,00,000/- per acre. The appellants were not satisfied with the same and therefore, filed an appeal in the Supreme Court for the enhancement of the amount of compensation.

The Supreme Court observed –

"The High Court has not properly appreciated the fact that so far as the sale deed Ex. P1 is concerned, the same was executed by M/s. Orient Express Pvt. Ltd. in favour of a private person and on the other hand, the sale deeds Exs. P3 and P4 were executed in favour of M/s Orient Express Pvt. Ltd. Therefore, when after purchasing the land, a company had sold the land the prices are bound to be higher."

The Apex Court also stated that, "Merely because the sale deeds Exs. P1, P3 and P4 were by and/or in favour of the company and there was variation in the prices mentioned in the Exs. P1, P3 and P4 cannot be a ground to hold that the sale exemplars Exs. P3 and P4 are not genuine and therefore required to be discarded."

Accordingly, all the appeals were partly allowed without any order to the costs.

Cause Title – Hari Ram (Deceased) Thr. His LRs. and Anr. v. Land Acquisition Collector cum District Revenue Officer Gurgaon and Ors.

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