24 Jun 2121

An award determination or by the Lok Adalat is not a adjudicatory judicial determination but a non-adjudicatory determination which is based on a settlement in the form of executable order - Bombay High Court

Case : Smt. Umadevi Rajkumar Jeure & Ors. v. the District Collector, Solapur & Ors. Writ Petition No. 3110 of 2016

Court : Bombay High Court

Bench : Justice A. A. Sayed & Justice S. C. Gupte

Decided on : 24 Jun 2121

Relevant Statutes

Section 21 of Legal Services Authority Act and section 28 A of Land Acquisition Act, 1894

Brief Facts and Procedural History

1. The Petitioner land and along with other several lands were acquired by the State for a storage leak. On 26th  February 2010, an award was made under Section 11 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894. Afterwards, the compensation was paid to the landholders including the petitioner. Later, A Land Acquisition Reference (LAR No. 18 of 2011) was filed by one of the landlords named Sangappa Irappa Dabare which was taken over by Lok Adalat.

2. On 13th December 2014, an award was made by the Lok Adalat for the payment of the enhanced compensation by the State towards the acquisition of the Appellant land with interest. Afterwards, on 2nd March 2015, The Petitioner made an application for enhanced compensation under Section 28 A of Land Acquisition Act, 1894 Act for their properties. But later, on 10th  December 2015, the Sub- Divisional officer rejected his application on the ground that the decision in LAR No. 18 of 2011 was from non –agricultural Group-2 and the petitioner lands were from group 3. 

3. The petitioner challenged the order of the Sub-Divisional Officer on the ground that the award of the Lok Adalat in the Sangappa case is deemed to be a decree of the reference court under Section 21 of the Legal Services Authority Act and Section 28 A of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 which could be invoked by the other landholders for re-determination of the compensation in own cases.

The Issue of the Case

Whether an award passed by a Lok Adalat, under Section 21 of the Legal Services Authority Act, 1987, can be considered an award of the court’ made under Part III of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 for the purpose of Section 28A Land Acquisition Act, 1894 to apply for re-determination of the amount of compensation?

The Observations of the Court

1. The Honourable Bombay High Court referred one of the judgments i.e. State of West Bengal vs. Sadan K. Bormal, ( 2004) 6 SCC 59, It was held that It is a settled position of law when a statute creates a legal fiction, it must not be extended beyond the purpose or language of the statute for which it has been created. The Honourable High Court observed that the court for which the Lok Adalat is organized does not come into the picture in respect of the determination is concerned and also the award passed by them are final and binding or deemed to be decree but not a deemed decree of that court which made a reference to the Lok Adalat.

2. The Honourable High Court observed that it is a matter of principle that it cannot be said that any third party shall be entitled to apply for redetermination of its own compensation under Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 follows as a result of such award. The Honourable High Court referred to another judgment i.e. State of Punjab vs. Jalour Singh, 2008 (2) SCC 660, it was observed that the determination or award by the Lok Adalat is not an adjudicatory judicial determination but a non- adjudicatory determination which is based on a settlement in the form of executable order  and held that it does not amount to a determination of the reference court so as to enable other similar situated landowners for seeking the redetermination of compensation  under Section 28A of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894

3. In Another Judgment i.e K. N. Govindan Kutty Menon vs. C.D Shaji, 2012 (2) SCC 51, it was observed that an award of the reference court under Part –III of the LA Act is simply a deemed decree of the civil court and is a consequence in an accordance with the provision of the Legal Services Authority Act and there is no consequence from the Section 28 A of Land Acquisition Act, 1894. The Honourable High Court referred again the judgment of State of West Bengal vs. Sadan K. Bormal ( 2004) 6 SCC 59, in which it was held that the legal fiction contained in Section 21 of the Legal Services Authority Act if extended to the other fiction i.e. related to the award of the Lok Adalat, it will be impermissible.

The Decision Held by the Court

The writ petition is dismissed and held that the impugned order passed by the Sub Divisional officer has no such infirmity. The Award of the Lok Adalat in LAR No. 18 of 2011 cannot be construed as a part of the award of the Court under Part –III of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894.

Click here to view/download the judgement >