(1995) 4 Supreme Court Cases 737 UOI & am Vs Distt. Judge, Udhampur & Ors

Jammu and Kashmir Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property Act, 1968 : Sections 7, 8, 16 and 21, Land-Requisition and Acquisition by State at the instance of Union of India-Competent Authority-Determination of Market Value by Union of India-Whether has right to associate with Competent Authority-Approval of compensation by Union of India-Whether necessary-Union of India whether has Locus Standi to object to the compensation-Arbitrator ap-pointed under the Act--Whether has power to award Interest and solatium.

Section 2(d)-'Person Interested'-Who is. Requisition and Acquisition of Immovable Property Rules, 1969: Rule 9. Expression 'Local Officers of the Government concemed with the Property'-Scope of.

In exercise of its powers under Section 21 read with Section 7 of the Jammu and Kashmir Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property Act, 1968 the State of Jammu and Kashmir requisitioned and acquired certain lands at the instance of Union of India for extension of Air Field at Udhampur. The Competent Authority, appointed under Sec-tion 16, determined the market value of the land and also awarded 15% solatium and interest at 4% from the date of Notification under Section 7 to the date on which possession of the land was taken. Thereafter, the Competent Authority issued a letter about the market value determined by him to the Local Officer for approval. The Local Officer stated that though he was agreeable to the amount determined, unless the approval of the Government of India was obtained, he cannot give his concurrence. However, no concurrence of Government of India was obtained nor was any offer communicated to it for acceptance. Since the Lnion of India had not approved the determination of market value of land it sought reference under Section 8 of the Act and a District Judge was appointed Arbitrator under Section 8(1)(b). But the respondent raised objection that the en-quiry to be conducted by the Arbitrator would be without jurisdiction because the award passed by the Competent Authority was offer which was acceptable to the respondent and the Union of India had no right to object to the award as requisition and acquisition had been done by the Com-petent Authority on behalf of the Union of India. Since the Arbitrator proceeded with the enquiry without deciding the objection the respondents filed a Writ Petition in the High Court which directed the Competent Authority to enter Into an agreement with the respondents in Form 'K' by holding that the award passed by the Competent Authority was on offer and the same having been accepted by the respondent it must be deemed to be one made under Rule 9 of the Requisition & Acquisition of Immovable Property Rules, 1969 read with Section 8(l)(a) of the Act.

On appeal the Division Bench while upholding the view of the Single Judge that the award of the Competent Authority was an offer and that the appellants were bound by the offer, set aside the direction given to enter into an agreement in Form 'K', instead it directed the District Judge to decide the objections filed by the appellants. Thereafter, the District Judge overruled the objection and held that the respondents have accepted the offer. Though no finding was recorded that the offer became enforce-able in consequence of rejecting the reference under Section 8(1)(b), it was concluded that the appellants were bound by the offer made by the Com-petent Authority and it would be one enforceable under Section 8(1) (a).

The appellants filed a Writ Petition and a Division Bench while affirming the view of the Single Judge and the Division Bench in the earlier proceedings held that the order passed by the District Judge was valid and the locus standi of the appellants to file the Writ Petition was doubted thereby accepting the stand taken by the respondents that the appellants were not the persons interested under Section 2(d) of the Act and dismissed the petition. Union of India preferred appeal in this Court.

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