2009(5) ALL MR 276
IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT BOMBAY(NAGPUR BENCH)

A.P. LAVANDE AND P.B. VARALE, JJ.

Chintaman S/O. Barbaji Dupare Vs. Vithabai W/O. Deoraoji Wahane & Ors.

Letters Patent Appeal No.96 of 2008,Writ Petition No.1591 of 2006

23rd March, 2009

Petitioner Counsel: Mr. M. M. AGNIHOTRI
Respondent Counsel: Mr. P. TIWARI,Mrs. S. WANDILE,Mr. V. G. PALSHIKAR

(A) Land Acquisition Act (1894), S.18 - Reference - Jurisdiction of Reference Court is limited - Reference Court can decide objection in terms of reference made to it and it cannot widen the scope of the reference. AIR 2003 SC 2443 and 1994(3) SCC 746 - Ref. to. (Para 35)

(B) Land Acquisition Act (1894), S.18(2) - Reference - Limitation - S.18(2) prescribes limitation within which reference under S.18 of Act has to be made - Neither the Land Acquisition Officer nor the Reference Court can condone the delay in making the reference.

Section 18(2) of the Act prescribes limitation, within which, the reference under Section 18 of the Act has to be made. Neither the Land Acquisition Officer nor the Reference Court can condone the delay in making the reference. Permitting respondent no.1 to be joined as party in the reference sought by the appellant seeking enhancement would amount to permitting respondent no.1 to seek reference for higher compensation after the period prescribed under Section 18(2) of the Act has expired, which is not permissible under the Act [Para 35]

Cases Cited:
Sunderlal Vs. Paramsukhdas, AIR 1968 SC 366 [Para 4,6,7,18,37,38]
(Rai) Pramatha Nath Vs. Secry. of State, AIR 1930 Privy Council 64 [Para 4,33]
Kothamasu Kanakarathamma Vs. State of A.P., AIR 1965 SC 304 [Para 4,26]
The State of Mysore Vs. Swamy Satyanand Saraswati, 1971)2 SCC 88 [Para 4,27]
Ajjam Linganna Vs. Land Acquisition Officer, (2002)9 SCC 426 [Para 4,28]
Ahad Brothers Vs. State of M.P., 2005(5) ALL MR 347 (S.C.)=(2005)1 SCC 545 [Para 4]
Shyamali Das Vs. Illa Chowdhry, 2007 ALL SCR 46 : (2006)12 SCC 300 [Para 4,29]
P. K. Sreekantan Vs. P. Sreekumaran Nair, 2007 ALL SCR 1123 : AIR 2007 SC 516 [Para 4,30,33]
Central Mine Planning and Design Institute Ltd. Vs. Union of India, AIR 2001 SC 883 [Para 5,13]
Surya Dev Rai Vs. Ramchander Rai, 2003(4) ALL MR 761 (S.C.)=2004(1) Mh.L.J. 633 [Para 5,12,14]
Dr. G. H. Grant Vs. The State of Bihar, AIR 1966 SC 237 [Para 6,18,19]
M/s. Indo Swiss Time Limited Vs. Umrao, AIR 1981 Punjab And Haryana 213 [Para 6,21]
Maroti Vs. Tulsiram, 1994(3) SCC 746 [Para 6]
State of Bihar Vs. Kalika Kuer @ Kalika Singh, AIR 2003 SC 2443 [Para 6]
Sanjay Kumar Amrutlal Shah Vs. Uttamlal Ratilal Shah, 2007(5) ALL MR 195=2008(1) Mh.L.J. 205 [Para 8,14]
Shahu Shikshan Prasarak Mandal Vs. Lata P. Kore, 2008 ALL SCR 2496 : 2008 AIR SCW 7409 [Para 14]
Himalayan Tiles and Marble (P) Ltd. Vs. Francis Victor Coutinho (Dead) by Lrs. [Para 20]
Union of India Vs. Sher Singh, (1993)1 SCC 608 [Para 22]
Prayag Upnivesh Awas Evam Niraman Sahkari Samiti Ltd. Vs. Allahabad Vikas Pradhikaran, 2003(3) ALL MR 758 (S.C.)=(2003)5 SCC 561 [Para 32]
Ambey Devi Vs. State of Bihar, AIR 1996 SC 1513 [Para 33,A]


JUDGMENT

A. P. LAVANDE, J.:- Heard Mr. Agnihotri, learned counsel for the appellant, Mr. Tiwari, learned counsel for respondent no.1, Mrs. Wandile, learned AGP for respondents 2 and 3 and Mr. Palshikar, learned counsel for respondent no.4.

2. By this appeal, the appellant takes exception to the judgment and order dated 21.12.2006 passed by learned Single Judge in Writ Petition No.1591/2006 setting aside the order dated 29.9.2005 passed by 3rd Joint Civil Judge, Senior Division, Nagpur in Land Acquisition Case No.196/2000.

3. Briefly, the facts leading to filing of the present appeal are as under :-

By Notification issued under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 ("the Act" for short) which was published in the official gazette dated 19.3.1998, State of Maharashtra acquired lands for the public purpose. The land bearing Survey No.107 situated at mouza Chikhali Nalha belonging to the appellant was part of the acquired land. Respondent no.3 - Special Land Acquisition Officer passed award dated 6.7.1999. The appellant sought reference under Section 18 of the Act vide application dated 11.1.2000 seeking higher compensation. On 23.4.2003 respondent no.1 filed an application under Order 1, Rule 10 of the Code of Civil Procedure, seeking permission to intervene in Land Acquisition Case No.196/2000 on the ground that she was co-owner of the acquired land and as such she was necessary party to the reference proceedings. The said application was opposed by the appellant. The appellant denied that respondent no.1 was the co-owner. By order dated 29.9.2005 the learned 3rd Joint Civil Judge, Senior Division, Nagpur dismissed the application holding that if the said application was allowed, it would amount to enlarging the scope of the reference. The learned Judge held that respondent no.1 was neither proper nor necessary party. The said order was challenged by respondent no.1 by filing Writ Petition No.1591/2006. The learned Single Judge by judgment and order dated 21.12.2006 held that respondent no.1 was a person interested and directed the Reference Court to add her as party respondent in the reference proceedings. The appellant has challenged the said judgment by filing the present appeal.

4. Mr. Agnihotri, learned counsel for the appellant submitted that the learned Reference Court was right in passing the order dated 29.9.2005 and the learned Single Judge has illegally exercised jurisdiction by setting aside the said order. Mr. Agnihotri submitted that the ratio laid down in Sunderlal Vs. Paramsukhdas and others : AIR 1968 SC 366 is not applicable in the present case and, therefore, the learned Single Judge was not justified in placing reliance upon the said judgment while setting aside the order passed by the Reference Court. Mr. Agnihotri submitted that having regard to the provisions of the Act, respondent no.1 is neither necessary nor proper party and as such she could not be joined as party in reference under Section 18 of the Act sought by the appellant. Learned counsel urged that jurisdiction of the Court under the Act is a special one and is confined to consideration of the objection taken by a person interested. According to learned counsel, Section 21 of the Act restricts the scope of the proceedings before the Court. Learned counsel further urged that the appellant having sought reference for enhancement under Section 18 of the Act, respondent no.1 could not have been joined as party respondent in the reference, which would result in enlarging the scope of the reference, which is not permissible in law. It was further urged that respondent no.1 was not a person interested within the meaning of Section 3(b) of the Act and, therefore, the order passed by the learned Single Judge is without jurisdiction.

In support of his submissions, learned counsel relies upon the following judgments :

(i) (Rai) Pramatha Nath Vs. Secry. of State : AIR 1930 Privy Council 64;

(ii) Kothamasu Kanakarathamma & Ors. Vs. State of A.P. & Ors. : AIR 1965 SC 304,

(iii) The State of Mysore Vs. Swamy Satyanand Saraswati, : (1971)2 SCC 88,

(iv) Ajjam Linganna & Ors. Vs. Land Acquisition Officer & Ors. : (2002)9 SCC 426,

(v) Ahad Brothers Vs. State of M.P. and Another : (2005)1 SCC 545 : [2005(5) ALL MR 347 (S.C.)],

(vi) Shyamali Das Vs. Illa Chowdhry and Ors. : (2006)12 SCC 300 : [2007 ALL SCR 46], and

(vii) P. K. Sreekantan & Ors. Vs. P. Sreekumaran Nair and Ors. : AIR 2007 SC 516 : [2007 ALL SCR 1123].

5. Per contra, Mr. P. Tiwari, learned counsel for respondent no.1 submitted that learned Single Judge has rightly set aside the order passed by the Reference Court. The learned counsel further submitted that the Letters Patent Appeal filed by the appellant is not maintainable since the learned Single Judge has exercised supervisory jurisdiction.

In support of this submission, Mr. Tiwari relied upon the following judgments :

(i) Employer in Relation to Management of Central Mine Planning and Design Institute Ltd. Vs. Union of India and another : AIR 2001 SC 883, and

(ii) Surya Dev Rai Vs. Ramchander Rai and others : 2004(1) Mh.L.J. 633 : [2003(4) ALL MR 761 (S.C.)].

6. Without prejudice, on merits Mr. Tiwari submitted that considering the scheme of the Act, respondent no.1 is a person interested in terms of Section 3(b) of the Act and as such is necessary party in reference sought by the appellant. Learned counsel urged that respondent no.1 is the co-owner in respect of the acquired land and, therefore, the appellant ought to have joined her as party respondent in the reference proceedings. It was further urged that the learned Single Judge has rightly placed reliance upon three-Judge judgment of the Apex Court in Sunderlal Vs. Paramsukhdas & ors. (supra) in holding that respondent no.1 being a person interested was entitled to be made party in the reference sought by the appellant. In support of his submissions, learned counsel relied upon the following judgments :-

(i) Sunderlal Vs. Paramsukhdas and others : AIR 1968 SC 366,

(ii) Dr. G. H. Grant Vs. The State of Bihar : AIR 1966 SC 237,

(iii) M/s. Indo Swiss Time Limited Vs. Umrao and others : AIR 1981 Punjab And Haryana 213,

(iv) Maroti Vs. Tulsiram and another : 1994(3) SCC 746, and

(v) State of Bihar Vs. Kalika Kuer @ Kalika Singh and others : AIR 2003 SC 2443.

7. Learned counsel further urged that the decision in Sunderlal Vs. Paramsukhdas & ors. (supra) being three-Judge judgment of the Apex Court has to be preferred in preference to two-Judge judgment relied upon by Mr. Agnihotri, learned counsel for the appellant.

8. Mr. Agnihotri submitted that the appeal is maintainable and in support of his submission, relied upon the Division Bench Judgment of this Court in Sanjay Kumar Amrutlal Shah and others Vs. Uttamlal Ratilal Shah dead through L.Rs. : 2008(1) Mh.L.J. 205 : [2007(5) ALL MR 195].

9. Mrs. Wandile, learned AGP for respondents 2 and 3 and Mr. Palshikar, learned counsel for respondent no.4 adopted the submissions made by Mr. Agnihotri on behalf of the appellant.

10. We have considered the rival submissions and perused the record and the judgments relied upon by both sides.

11. Since respondent no.1 has challenged the maintainability of the appeal, we would like to deal with this aspect first.

12. In the case of Surya Dev Rai (supra) relied upon by Mr. Tiwari, the Apex Court has considered difference between Certiorari under Article 226 of the Constitution and supervisory jurisdiction under Article 227 of the Constitution. In the said judgment the issue of maintainability of Letters Patent Appeal was not in issue. The said judgment, therefore, does not advance the case of the appellant.

13. In the case of Central Mine Planning and Design Institute Ltd. (supra) relied upon by Mr. Tiwari, the Apex Court has held that an order passed under Section 17-B of the Industrial Disputes Act decides the right and determines the entitlement of workmen to receive compensation and therefore such an order is judgment within meaning of Clause 10 of the Letters Patent. The ratio laid down in the said judgment is of no help to the appellant.

14. In our considered opinion, the issue of maintainability of the appeal is squarely covered in favour of the appellant by the judgment of the Apex Court in the case of Sanjay Kumar s/o. Amrutlal Shah and others Vs. Uttamlal Ratilal Shah dead through Bharatkumar Uttamlal Shah and another : 2008(1) Mh.L.J. 205, in which the Division Bench of this Court has considered several judgments of the Apex Court including the judgment of the Apex Court in the case of Surya Dev Rai, [2003(4) ALL MR 761 (S.C.)] (supra) and has held that if the petition is filed under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution praying for issuance of writ of Certiorari, Letters Patent Appeal is maintainable against the judgment passed in the writ petition. The judgment of the Apex Court in the case of Shahu Shikshan Prasarak Mandal and another Vs. Lata P. Kore and others : 2008 AIR SCW 7409 also supports the stand taken by the appellant that the appeal is maintainable. In the said judgment the Apex Court has held that since the petition was filed under Articles 226 and 227 of Constitution of India claiming writ of Certiorari and it was averred that the order passed by the Tribunal was arbitrary, unreasonable, unjust and perverse, the petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India was maintainable. In the present case, the writ petition was filed under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India by respondent no.1 herself. In the Writ Petition writ of Certiorari was sought to quash the order dated 29.9.2005 passed by the Reference Court. Moreover, in the writ petition filed before the learned Single Judge, issue regarding jurisdiction of the Reference Court to allow the application for intervention arose. Considering all these aspects, we are of the considered opinion that the writ petition filed under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India and that too by respondent no.1 herself was maintainable, both under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India and, therefore, the present appeal is maintainable. We, therefore, reject preliminary objection taken by respondent no.1 regarding the maintainability of the appeal. By order dated 17.1.2009 the parties were put on notice that the appeal will be disposed of finally. Hence, the appeal is admitted and is being disposed of on merits.

15. In order to appreciate the rival submissions, it would be appropriate to quote Section 18 of the Act, under which, the appellant sought reference claiming higher compensation. It reads thus :-

"18. Reference to Court : (1) Any person interested who has not accepted the award may, by written application to the Collector, require that the matter be referred by the Collector for the determination of the Court, whether his objection be to the measurement of the land, the amount of the compensation, the persons to whom it is payable, or the apportionment of the compensation among the persons interested.

(2) The application shall state the grounds on which objection to the award is taken :

Provided that every such application shall be made :-

(a) if the person making it was present or represented before the Collector at the time when he made his award, within six weeks from the date of the Collector's award;

(b) in other cases, within six weeks of the receipt of the notice from the Collector under Section 12, sub-section (2), or within six months from the date of the Collector's award, whichever period shall first expire."

16. It would also be appropriate to quote the relevant portions from the application filed by respondent no.1 seeking intervention before the Reference Court. Paragraph nos.1, 2 and 3 of the application filed by respondent no.1, read thus :-

"1. That, the Intervenor is a real sister of the applicant/plaintiff in the present case. The property which is a subject matter of instant case is already been acquired under the project of Chikhali Nala Survey No.107 Aaraji 2.17 and Jama Rs.3.15. The above property was an ancestral property of the present plaintiff and intervenor. The said property was not distributed in between all legal heirs by way of partition. The said property was in possession of the plaintiff at the time of its acquisition being a cultivator with the consent of present Intervenor. As such the intervenor inherited the agricultural property and having undivided share in the suit land.

2. That, the plaintiff as well as intervenor received the compensation of the said land after its acquisition from the Government. But it is the submission of the Intervenor that the compensation which was granted by the Government was so meagre, inadequate and insufficient and not as per market value. Therefore, the plaintiff applied for grant of enhanced compensation of the land as per present market value. But the plaintiff did not mention the name of Intervenor or other legal heirs purposefully and with bad intention to grab the share of other legal heirs of the property.

3. Therefore, it is the humble submission of the Intervenor that she is one of the co-owner of the aforesaid field property and entitled for compensation whatever will be granted to the plaintiff. So she may be added in the proceeding as a plaintiff/applicant to avoid further complication and multiplication of proceeding."

17. Respondent no.1 filed reply opposing the application supported by affidavit. Along with the reply the appellant produced relinquishment deed dated 14.6.1984 along with 7/12 extract in respect of the acquired land. The appellant also relied upon copy of the compromise deed dated 8.1.2000, pursuant to which an amount of Rs.1,12,500/- was paid to the respondent and other heirs of Devkabai.

18. Before dealing with the rival submissions, we shall refer to the authorities relied upon by rival parties. The learned Single Judge in support of the impugned order relied upon three-judge judgment of the Apex Court in Sunderlal's case (supra) and has come to the conclusion that respondent no.1 is entitled to be joined as party-respondent in the reference proceedings sought by the appellant. In the said case Sunderlal owned certain fields, which were acquired by the Government. On 30.1.1960 the Land Acquisition Officer made award granting compensation of Rs. 26,105.58. The same was equally apportioned between Sunderlal and Khushal Singh. Sunderlal filed application for reference under Section 18 of the Act claiming higher compensation and also contended that Khushal Singh was not a protected tenant and as such he was not entitled to any compensation. Khushal Singh sought reference seeking enhancement. It appears that Sunderlal had filed Civil Suit against Khushal Singh and the Civil Court had made reference to the Revenue Court for deciding the status of Khushal Singh. The said reference was answered by the Sub-Divisional Officer, Akola against Khushal Singh but the same was reversed by the Deputy Collector in appeal. Against the said decision, Sunderlal filed Writ Petition in the High Court. Before the High Court Khushal Singh and Sunderlal entered into compromise whereunder Khushal Singh waived his status as protected lessee and gave no objection for quashing order of the Deputy Collector in his favour. Thereafter on 11.3.1961 one Paramsukhdas filed an application in the High Court and claimed to be heard. He had obtained decree against Khushal Singh, for which execution proceedings were initiated for recovery of Rs.20,013/-. He further stated that an amount of Rs.13,644.27 ordered to be paid to Khushal Singh as his share of compensation was attached by him for satisfaction of his decree. He alleged that Khushal Singh and Sunderlal had entered into an agreement and had filed compromise terms mala fide. The High Court kept the writ petition pending and directed the parties to file their compromise before the Reference Court. Paramsukhdas filed an application under Order 22, Rule 10 read with Section 151 of the Code of Civil Procedure, for substituting or adding his name as applicant in both the proceedings. The said application was dismissed by the Reference Court holding that Paramsukhdas was not a person interested. This was challenged before the High Court. In the High Court preliminary objection was raised to the maintainability at the instance of the Paramsukhdas but, on merits, the High Court held that Paramsukhdas was not claiming an interest in the land themselves but was only claiming interest in the compensation and as such he was a person interested. The argument before the Apex Court on behalf of the Sunderlal was that Paramsukhdas was not a person interested in the amount of compensation but he was interested in getting money belonging to the judgment debtor and, therefore, he was not entitled to be made party to the proceedings under Section 18 of the Act. The Apex Court considered definition of 'person interested' in Section 3(b) of the Act and held that Paramsukhdas was a 'person interested' since he was interested in compensation to be awarded. The Apex Court considered the scheme of the Act and held that all disputes about quantum of compensation must be decided to resort to the proceedings prescribed by the Act. The Apex Court also referred to the judgment of the Apex Court in Dr. G. H. Grant (supra). The Apex Court held that Paramsukhdas was a person interested in the objections pending before the Reference Court and as such he was a person whose interest would be affected by the objection within Section 21 of the Act. The Apex Court upheld the order of the High Court.

19. Insofar as the judgment in Dr. G. H. Grant's case (supra) relied upon by both sides is concerned, the Apex Court has held that the dispute under Section 30 of the Act can be sought by a person, whose names may not appear in the award and the Collector is not authorised to decide finally the conflicting rights of the persons interested in the amount of compensation. The Apex Court further held that the Collector has no power to finally adjudicate upon the title and to compensation and that dispute has to be decided in a reference under Section 18 or under Section 30 of the Act or by a separate suit.

The Apex Court further held that the scheme of the Act is that all disputes regarding quantum of compensation must be decided by resorting to the procedure prescribed under the Act and jurisdiction of the Court in this behalf is not restricted to the cases of apportionment, but extends to adjudication of dispute as to the persons who are entitled to receive compensation and there is nothing in Section 30 of the Act, which excludes a reference to the Court of a dispute raised by a person on whom the title of the owner of land has, since the award devolved. The ratio laid down in the said case is of much help to either side, having regard to the controversy involved in the present appeal.

20. In Himalayan Tiles and Marble (P) Ltd. Vs. Francis Victor Coutinho (Dead) by Lrs. : (1980)3 SCC 223, the Apex Court has held that the definition of a 'person interested' must be liberally construed. In the said case, the Apex Court has held that the company for whose benefit the land was acquired and was required to pay compensation was a 'person interested'.

21. In M/s. Indo Swiss Time Ltd. Vs. Umrao and others : AIR 1981 Punjab and Haryana 213, the Full Bench of Punjab & Haryana High Court has held that the Company for whose benefit land is acquired cannot claim to be impleaded as party in a reference. The said judgment stands overruled by the Apex Court.

22. In the case of Union of India Vs. Sher Singh and others : (1993)1 SCC 608, the Apex Court has held that a person for whose benefit the land is acquired is a 'person interested' and is entitled to be impleaded as respondent in the reference under Section 18 of the Act.

23. Similar is the view taken by the Apex Court in the case of Bihar State Electricity Board (supra). The Apex Court has held that the land was acquired for construction of electric substation and staff quarters and therefore the said Electricity Board was a 'person interested' and as such entitled to be impleaded as a respondent in the pending appeals against it and pending reference under Section 18 of the Act.

24. We shall now deal with the authorities relied upon by Mr. Agnihotri, learned counsel for the appellant.

25. In the case of Pramatha Nath (Rai) the Privy Council has held that jurisdiction of the Court under Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act is a special one and is limited by the terms of this Section. It only arises when a specific objection has been taken to the Collector's award and it is confined to a consideration of that objection. Once it is entertained, the only objection taken is to amount of compensation, that alone is the "matter" referred to, and the Court has no power to consider anything beyond it.

26. In the case of Kothamasu Kanakarathamma (supra) the Apex Court has held that jurisdiction of the Reference Court arises on the basis of a reference to be made to it.

27. The judgment in the case of Swamy Satyanand Saraswati (supra) is of no help to the appellant, having regard to the factual matrix in the said case.

28. In the case of Ajjam Linganna and ors. (supra) the Apex Court has held that it was not open to the appellants other than Ajjam Linganna, who have applied to the direct reference for impleadment and to seek enhancement under Section 18 of the Act for compensation and the only person, for whom some consideration can be shown is Ajjam Linganna who had at least filed an application before the Land Acquisition Officer seeking a reference.

29. In the case of Shyamali Das, [2007 ALL SCR 46] (supra) the Apex Court has held that a Land Acquisition Judge derives his jurisdiction from the order of reference. He is bound thereby and held that his jurisdiction is to determine adequacy or otherwise of the amount of compensation paid under the award made by the Collector. It is not within the domain to entertain any application or pro interesse suo or in the mater thereof. The Apex Court further held that a person claiming title to the acquired land is not a person interested within the meaning of Section 3(b) of the Act.

30. In the case of P. K. Sreekantan and others (supra) the Apex Court has held that every Tribunal of limited jurisdiction is not only entitled but bound to determine whether the matter in which it was asked to determine jurisdiction comes within the jurisdiction of such Tribunal when is dependent on the existence of certain facts or circumstances. It has duty to see that these facts and circumstances exist to invest it with jurisdiction and when the Tribunal derives its jurisdiction from statute that creates it and that statute also defines the conditions under which the Tribunal can function, it goes without saying that before the Tribunal assumes jurisdiction in a matter, it must be satisfied that the conditions requisite for its acquiring seisin of that matter have in fact arisen. In the said paras the Apex Court further held that in the reference under Section 18 of the Act, the Court has jurisdiction to consider only the question of compensation and determination as to apportionment under Section 30 of the Act, in such reference is illegal.

31. In the case of Ajjim Linganna the Reference Court amended the reference under Sections 30 and 31 of the Act into under Section 18 of the Act. None of the appellants before the Apex Court except Ajjam Linganna had sought reference under Section 18 of the Act. In reference under Section 30 of the Act the appellants sought impleadment in the said reference by filing applications by directly approaching the Reference Court. The Apex Court held that such an exercise was not possible. However, insofar as Ajjam Linganna's case was concerned, since he had already sought reference under Section 18 of the Act, the award passed by the Reference Court was treated as final and the appeal filed by the Land Acquisition Officer to the High Court as far as he was concerned was set aside.

32. In the case of Shyamali Das, the Apex Court has held that the Act is complete Code by itself. It provides remedy not only for those whose lands have been acquired but also those who claim the awarded amount or apportionment thereof. The Land Acquisition Judge derives his jurisdiction under the Land Acquisition Act and it is bound thereby. His jurisdiction is to determine adequacy or otherwise of the amount of compensation paid under the award made by the Collector and it is not within the domain to entertain any application pro interesse suo or in the nature of the award. In the said case the appellant filed an application under Order 1, Rule 10(2) of the Code of Civil Procedure claiming that she may be impleaded in the reference. The appellant claimed right in the land which was acquired under the Land Acquisition Act in which the name of respondent no.1 appeared in the record of rights and as such the compensation was paid to respondent no.1. Respondent no.1 sought reference and as stated above in the said reference, the appellant made application for impleadment. The said application was dismissed by the Reference Court. In the Apex Court the liberty was given to the appellant to seek reference under Section 30 of the Act, if so advised. The reference sought by respondent no.1 was allowed. Thereafter an application filed by the appellant for setting aside the judgment was filed, which was entertained. The Reference Court passed an order that the payment of enhanced compensation be kept in abeyance till further order. The respondent no.1 filed an application before the Judge for clarification of the order and also sought vacation of ex party stay but the same was refused. Thereafter the application filed by respondent no.1 was allowed, which was challenged by filing appeal before the Apex Court. The Apex Court held that the finding given by the Reference Judge that the appellant was not a person interested within meaning of Section 3(b) of the Act was entirely correct and as such it could not have been reopened. In the said judgment, the Apex Court also referred to another judgment of the Apex Court in Prayag Upnivesh Awas Evam Niraman Sahkari Samiti Ltd. Vs. Allahabad Vikas Pradhikaran : (2003)5 SCC 561 : [2003(3) ALL MR 758 (S.C.)] and quoted para 7 which reads thus :-

"7. It is well established that the Reference Court gets jurisdiction only if the matter is referred to it under Sections 18 and 30 of the Act by the Land Acquisition Officer and that the Civil Court has got the jurisdiction and authority only to decide the objections referred to it. The Reference Court cannot widen the scope of its jurisdiction or decide matters which are not referred to it."

33. In the case of Sreekantan and others (supra) the Apex Court has held that in a reference under Section 18 of the Act, the Court has jurisdiction to consider only that question - determination as to apportionment inter se under Section 30 of the Act is illegal. In the said judgment the Reference Court also relied upon the judgment of Privy Council in (Rai) Pramatha Nath Mullick Bahadur (supra) in which it was held that jurisdiction of the Court under the Act is a special one and strictly limited to the terms of Sections 18, 20 and 21 of the Act.

33-A. In Ambey Devi Vs. State of Bihar and another : AIR 1996 SC 1513, the Apex Court has held that when one of the co-owners of acquired land files reference in respect of his share only and gets compensation enhanced, the co-owners, who have not filed reference cannot seek enhancement of compensation of their share on the basis of reference by other co-owners. The Apex Court further held that procedure prescribed is under Sections 18 and 30 of the Land Acquisition Act is inconsistent with procedure prescribed under Order 1, Rule 10 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

34. In our considered opinion, the ratio laid down by the Apex Court in the above mentioned judgments relied upon by Mr. Agnihotri to which we have made extensive reference is squarely applicable in the present case.

35. The Apex Court has clearly held that jurisdiction of the Reference Court is limited and it can decide objection in terms of reference made to it and it cannot widen the scope of the reference. Moreover, it is also pertinent to note that in the application filed by respondent no.1 seeking impleadment in paragraph 2 respondent no.1 has categorically mentioned that she and the appellant had received compensation but the compensation granted by the Government was meagre. It was also her case that the appellant ought to have joined respondent no.1 in the reference which was not done with a view to grab the compensation payable to other legal heirs of the property. She further claimed that she being the co-owner of the property acquired was entitled to a share in the compensation. In this factual background, in our considered opinion, the Reference Court was perfectly justified in dismissing the application filed by respondent no.1. Respondent no.1 candidly admitted that she had received compensation in respect of the acquired land but her case was that it was meagre. In such a situation, she could not have sought impleadment in the reference sought by the appellant. Moreover, Section 18(2) of the Act prescribes limitation, within which, the reference under Section 18 of the Act has to be made. It is also well settled that neither the Land Acquisition Officer nor the Reference Court can condone the delay in making the reference. Permitting respondent no.1 to be joined as party in the reference sought by the appellant seeking enhancement would amount to permitting respondent no.1 to seek reference for higher compensation after the period prescribed under Section 18(2) of the Act has expired, which is not permissible under the Act. On this ground also, in our opinion, the application filed by respondent no.1 was not maintainable.

36. Therefore, in our considered opinion, having regard to the scheme of the Act, respondent no.1 is not entitled to be joined as party in the reference sought by the appellant seeking higher compensation and, therefore, the Reference Court was perfectly justified in rejecting the application. In our opinion, the learned Single Judge has exercised jurisdiction illegally by setting aside the order passed by the Reference Court.

37. Insofar as the judgment in the case of Sunderlal (supra) is concerned, in view of clear ratio laid down by the Apex Court in the above judgments, we are unable to place reliance upon the judgment in Sunderlal's case in support of respondent no.1's case. The factual situation in Sunderlal's case was entirely different. Paramsukhdas was permitted to be joined as party respondent in the reference sought by Sunderlal under Section 18 of the Act since Paramsukhdas had obtained a decree in both references and according to Paramsukhdas, the compromise was entered into Khushal Singh and Paramsukhdas was mala fide. In this factual back ground, the Apex Court held that the order of the High Court permitting Paramsukhdas to be impleaded as party was rightly passed. Having regard to the factual background in which the Apex Court delivered judgment, we are unable to hold that the said judgment can be taken to be laying down the law that any person who claims share in the property standing in the name of a person at whose instance a reference has made is entitled to be joined as necessary party in the reference. On the contrary, having regard to the scheme of the Act, we are unable to hold that the respondent no.1 who is claiming right in the acquired land without seeking reference under Section 18 or 30 of the Act is entitled to be impleaded as party respondent in the reference.

38. We are, therefore, of the considered opinion that the learned Single Judge was not justified in reversing the order passed by the Reference Court by placing reliance upon the judgment of Apex Court in Sunderlal's case (supra).

39. In view of the above, the impugned judgment passed by the learned Single Judge is quashed and set aside and the order passed by the Reference Court is maintained. The appeal is allowed and disposed of in the aforesaid terms. There shall no order as to costs. The Reference Court shall decide the reference expeditiously in accordance with law.

Appeal allowed.