A Bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justice MR Shah and Justice AS Bopanna has observed that, "As per the settled proposition of law, the compensation determined for the lands acquired subsequently cannot be said to be comparable at all".
The Bench rejected the argument of the Appellants that compensation should be fixed based on a Judgment fixing compensation for the land acquired in the year 1983, while their land had been acquired in the year 1976.
The Bench also rejected the argument that the Appellants are entitled to the benefit of a Judgment rendered in the context of land acquired in the year 1991 because the batch of cases also included some appeals relating to land acquired in the year 1977. The Court found that the inclusion of the appeals relating to the land acquired in the year 1977 and fixation of value similar to that of land acquired in the year 1991 was an obvious mistake.
"Nobody can be permitted to take the benefit of the mistake either of the Court or of any party, which mistake has occurred inadvertently and without noticing the peculiar facts. As such it was the duty of the Advocate for the claimants to point out the correct facts.", the Court held.
Facts of the Case
The lands were acquired for development of industries in the area within the jurisdiction of New Okhla Industrial Development Authority (NOIDA) in 1976 and the possession was taken in 1977. The Special Land Acquisition Officer had @ Rs.10,200/- per bigha, i.e., Rs.2.38 per square yard. When the landowners challenged the rate of compensation before the Reference Court, it was enhanced to Rs.14,000/- per bigha (Rs.4.628per square yard) for some appellants while Rs.18,150/- per bigha (Rs.6 per square yard) was awarded for another set of appellants. The awards were challenged before the High Court by the landowners seeking further enhancement, which was dismissed.
The Counsels for the Appellants relied upon a Judgment in the matter of Mangu Vs. State of UP of the High Court of Allahabad and subsequently confirmed by the Apex Court, for claiming compensation of Rs. 297 per square yard as awarded in the case.
However, the counsel for NOIDA highlighted an inadvertent mistake that happened in tagging the four First Appeals filed in 1987 with a First Appeals filed in 2004. The appeals filed in 1987 were related to the acquisition in 1977 while the appeal of 2004 was related to the acquisition in 1991. Neither was it noticed by the High Court nor by the counsel for the NOIDA. Nothing was brought to the notice of the High Court that aforesaid four first appeals were related to the acquisition of 1977. The counsel further submitted that, having realized the aforesaid mistake immediately the review applications have been preferred before the High Court and the same are pending.
The Bench held, "Assuming for the time being that as the review applications are pending, this Court may not take note of the subsequent events of filing the review applications, which are yet to be decided by the High Court, in that case also and for the reasons stated above and considering the obvious mistake referred to herein above, the claimants in the present case cannot claim the compensation @ Rs.297/- per square yard relying upon the decision in the case of Mangu and Ors. with regard to the acquisition of the year 1991."
The Bench modified the Judgment of the High Court and enhanced the compensation to Rs. 28.12 per square yard, thereby partly allowing the appeals.