JT 1995 (8) SC 289 UOI and Ors Vs Munsha and Ors

Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property Act, 1952/Req- uisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property Rules 1953 :

S.8(1)(b)/R.9(5)(i)--Immovable property-Acquisition of-Compensation-  Appointment of arbitrator-Land owners' claim for interest due to delay in appointment of arbitrator-Held, land owners having failed to communicate their acceptance or otherwise of offer made by competent authority, no duty cast on it to appoint arbitrator-No laches in appointment of arbitrator as obligation to appoint arbitrator arises where interested person communicates his non-acceptance of offer enjoined by R.9(5) (i)-Award of arbitrator-awarding 30% solatium and 9% interest for one year from taking possession and thereafter 15% till deposit on enhanced compensation set aside.

Certain lands of the respondents were acquired under the Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property Act, 1952. The Land Acquisition Officer made the award in 1970 and awarded compensation, at the rate of Rs. 375 per kanal. In 1986, the respondents filed a writ petition before the High Court for appointment of an arbitrator. The writ petition was allowed and an arbitrator was appointed who gave his award deter-mining compensation at the Rate of Rs. 150 per marla. He also awarded 30% solatium and 9% interest for one year from the date of taking possession and thereafter 15% till the date of deposit on the enhanced compensation. The Government challenged the award before the High Court in an appeal which was dismissed. They filed a letters patent appeal and prayed for an ad interim stay. The High Court refused the stay and directed to release the payment of compensation. Aggrieved, the Government filed the appeal by special leave.

It was contended for the respondents that on failure to accept the offer of payment of compensation determined by the Land Acquisition Officer, though the respondents had not communicated their refusal, on expiry of the prescribed period, a, duty was cast upon the competent authority and the Central Government to appoint the arbitrator, and since there was delay in appointment of the arbitrator, the appellants were liable to pay the interest.


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