Delay of 785 days condoned while restoring the O.P. dismissed for default = whether the petitioners have made out a case for condonation of delay of 758 days = Mr.N.Ramakrishna Reddy, who was engaged by the petitioners, fell sick on account of paralytic attack in the year 1994 and that due to his illness, he was not appearing in the Courts.- As the petitioners being agriculturists, who are either illiterates or semi literates, their explanation would have been considered by making a liberal approach. ; whether the lower Court was justified in dismissing the reference petitions by merely confirming the awards of the Land Acquisition Officer without discussing the issue relating to fixation of the market value with reference to the available evidence.= the Civil Court has to pass an award in answer to the reference made by the Collector under Section 18 of the Act. If any party to whom notice has been served by the Civil Court did not participate in the inquiry it would only be at his risk because an award would be passed perhaps to the detriment of the concerned party. But non-participation of any party would not confer jurisdiction on the Civil Court to dismiss the reference for default.= Assuming that the petitioners' counsel was sick, the petitioners were not diligent in approaching the Court within a reasonable time after the death of their counsel. Even though the O.Ps. were dismissed on 01.08.1994, they have filed the petitions for reopening the O.Ps. after two years. As public money is involved, I am of the opinion that the petitioners cannot be allowed to take undue advantage of their own default in prosecuting the cases in right earnest - forego interest payable on the market value, if any enhanced by the lower Court from 1994 till date. The lower Court shall take this into consideration and pass appropriate awards without awarding interest from the year 1994 till today in the event it enhances the market value.

reported in/ published inhttp://judis.nic.in/judis_andhra/filename=9900

THE HON'BLE SRI JUSTICE C.V.NAGARJUNA REDDY           


CRP Nos.5803 of 2011    


25.04.2013 


Uppara Gangamma and others ...Petitioners  


Vs.


The Mandal Revenue Officer (LAO), Yemmiganur    ...Respondent 


Counsel for the petitioners: Sri G.Venkata Reddy for Sri K.Rathanga Pani Reddy

                                        
Counsel for respondent: Government Pleader for Arbitration

<Gist :


>Head Note: 


?Cases referred:

1.2002 LAWS (SC) 1-38  

CIVIL REVISION PETITION Nos.5803 and 5805 of 2011 and 112, 115, 118, 119 and 120    

of 2012

COMMON ORDER:                           


        This batch of civil revision petitions arises out of similar but separate

orders dated 15.11.2011 in different I.As filed in different O.Ps. on the file
of the learned Senior Civil Judge, Adoni.

        The lands belonging to the petitioners were acquired by the respondent and

as they were dissatisfied with the quantum of compensation awarded in their
favour, they have approached the respondent with a request for reference of the
dispute under Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (for short 'the
Act').  
Accordingly, the dispute was referred to the Court of the learned Senior Civil Judge, Adoni, and the reference was registered as O.P.No.37 of 1988 and batch. On 01.08.1994, the O.Ps. were closed by confirming the awards passed by the Land Acquisition Officer on the ground that the counsel for the petitioners was not present and the petitioners failed to pursue the cases.  
The petitioners
filed applications for reopening the O.Ps.  As there was delay of 758 days in filing such applications, they have filed I.A.No.160 of 1996 and batch for condonation of delay.  

These applications were initially dismissed by the lower

Court.  

The petitioners carried the matter in revisions, vide C.R.P.No.2360 of

2001 and batch, which was allowed by this Court, by common order dated 
15.10.2001 and the matters were remitted to the lower Court with a direction to
record the evidence to substantiate the respective pleas of the parties on the
aspect of condonation of delay.  After remand, the petitioners adduced oral
evidence of P.Ws.1 and 2.  By the impugned orders under revisions, the lower
Court has dismissed the I.As. filed for condonation of delay.  Feeling aggrieved
by these orders, the petitioners have filed these civil revision petitions.

        The learned Government Pleader for Arbitration has taken notice for the

respondent and made his submissions.  

In these cases, two issues mainly arise for consideration, namely, whether the

petitioners have made out a case for condonation of delay 
and 
whether the lower
Court was justified in dismissing the reference petitions by merely confirming the awards of the Land Acquisition Officer without discussing the issue relating to fixation of the market value with reference to the available evidence.

        As regards the first issue, after remand by this Court, the petitioners

have lead common evidence, whereunder one Rathnamma was examined as P.W.1 and       
one L.K.Rathan Singh, who was elected as President of Adoni Bar Association in
the year 1994, was examined as P.W.2.  Both the witnesses have spoken to the  
effect that 
Mr.N.Ramakrishna Reddy, who was engaged by the petitioners, fell
sick on account of paralytic attack in the year 1994 and that due to his illness, he was not appearing in the Courts.

        In my opinion, the petitioners could not have been in a 


position to adduce better evidence to prove the illness of their 


counsel after a lapse of more than fifteen years of passing away of 


their counsel.  


The lower Court has made a rigid and pedantic 


approach in not properly appreciating the evidence adduced by


the petitioners.  


As the petitioners being agriculturists, who are 


either illiterates or semi literates, their explanation would have 


been considered by making a liberal approach.  


In the facts and 


circumstances of the cases pleaded


by the petitioners, the lower Court ought to have condoned the delay 


by

incorporating appropriate conditions for such condonation of delay.

        With regard to the second issue

the Supreme Court in Khazan Singh (dead) 
by LRs vs. Union of India1 held that the provisions of Section 18 of the Act
would make it clear that the Civil Court has to pass an award in answer to the
reference made by the Collector under Section 18 of the Act.  If any party to
whom notice has been served by the Civil Court did not participate in the
inquiry it would only be at his risk because an award would be passed perhaps to
the detriment of the concerned party.  But non-participation of any party would
not confer jurisdiction on the Civil Court to dismiss the reference for default.

        In the instant case, a perusal of the orders under revisions would show

that the lower Court has mainly confirmed the awards of the Land Acquisition
Officer on the ground that the petitioners did not participate in the enquiry.
Such an approach by the lower Court is contrary to the law laid down by the
Supreme Court and the awards passed by the lower Court cannot be countenanced in  
law.  
For both the abovementioned reasons, this Court is inclined to grant an
opportunity to the petitioners to pursue the O.Ps. on merits.

However, the further question that remains to be considered is whether the

petitioners will be entitled to interest in the event of enhancement of the
market value by the lower Court.

        Assuming that the petitioners' counsel was sick, the petitioners were not diligent in approaching the Court within a reasonable time after the death of their counsel.  

Even though the O.Ps. were dismissed on 01.08.1994, they have
filed the petitions for reopening the O.Ps. after two years.  

As public money is

involved, I am of the opinion that the petitioners cannot be allowed to take undue advantage of their own default in prosecuting the cases in right earnest.
Realising this fact,
Sri G.Venkata Reddy, learned counsel representing Sri K.Rathanga Pani Reddy, 
learned counsel for the petitioners, 
fairly conceded that his clients will
forego interest payable on the market value, if any enhanced by the lower Court from 1994 till date. The lower Court shall take this into consideration and pass appropriate awards without awarding interest from the year 1994 till today in the event it enhances the market value.

        Subject to the above conditions, the orders under revisions are set aside

and the Civil Revision Petitions are allowed.  The lower Court is directed to
dispose of the O.Ps. on merits after hearing both the parties.

        As a sequel to allowing these Civil Revision Petitions, miscellaneous

petitions pending, if any, in these civil revision petitions shall stand
disposed of as infructuous.

_________________________    

(C.V.NAGARJUNA REDDY, J)     
25th April, 2013

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