2011(6) ALL MR 145
IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT BOMBAY(PANAJI BENCH)

A.P. LAVANDE, J.

State Of Goa & Anr.Vs.Joaquim Antonio Filomeno Jose & Anr.

Writ Petition No. 416 of 2010

23rd August, 2011

Petitioner Counsel: Mr. P. Talaulikar
Respondent Counsel: Mr. C.A. Coutinho

Land Acquisition Act (1894) S.28A - Application under - Limitation for - An application under S.28-A of the Act seeking enhanced compensation on basis of another award in respect of the lands covered under the same notification is to be filed within a period of three months from the date of award - Neither the Land Acquisition Officer nor the Reference Court has the power to condone the delay under the Act. 2003(4) ALL MR 347 (S.C.) - Ref. to. (Para 10)

Cases Cited:
State of A.P. And anr. Vs. Marri Venkaiah and others, 2003(4) ALL MR 347 (S.C.)=(2003) 7 SCC 280 [Para 8]


JUDGMENT

JUDGMENT :- Heard Mr. Talaulikar, learned Additional Government Advocate for the petitioners and Mr. Coutinho, learned counsel for the respondent nos. 1 and 2.

2. Rule. By consent of the learned counsel for the parties heard forthwith.

3. By this petition under Article 227 of the Constitution of India the petitioners have challenged the judgment and order dated 28/8/2009 passed by the Deputy Collector/Land Acquisition Officer,South Goa Margao in Case no.99/3/92-LA by which application filed by the respondents under Section 28-A of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 ("The Act" for short) has been allowed.

4. Briefly, the facts relevant for disposal of this petition are as under:

5. By notification dated 7/4/1992 published under Section 4 of The Act, the Government of Goa acquired lands of several persons for public purpose. An area admeasuring 3900 sq.mtrs. belonging to the respondents was part of the acquired land. The Land Acquisition Officer made the award on 5/9/1994 awarding compensation at the rate of Rs.4.50 per sq.metre in respect of the land belonging to the respondents.

6. Some of the interested persons covered by the same notification aggrieved by the compensation granted by the Land Acquisition Officer sought reference under Section 18 of the Act. By award dated 28/6/2000 passed by the IInd Additional District Judge, Margao in Land Acquisition Case no.104/1996, the Reference Court partly allowed the reference and enhanced the compensation to Rs.60/- per sq.mtre. Appeal preferred against the said award by the State Government was dismissed by this Court by judgment and order dated 21/7/2004.

7. On 18/8/2004, the respondents made an application purportedly under Section 28-A of The Act seeking enhanced compensation on the basis of the award dated 28/6/2000 passed in Land Acquisition Case no.106/1996. The application was opposed by the petitioners herein, inter alia, on the ground of limitation. The Land Acquisition Officer without considering the issue of limitation allowed the application and enhanced the compensation to Rs.60/- per sq,mtr. on the basis of the award passed in L.A.C no.106/1996.

8. On behalf of the petitioners, Mr. Talaulikar, learned Additional Government Advocate placing reliance on the judgment of the Apex Court in the case of State of A.P. And anr. Vs. Marri Venkaiah and others, (2003) 7 Supreme Court Cases 280 : [2003(4) ALL MR 347 (S.C.)] submitted that in terms of Section 28-A of the Act, limitation for filing an application under Section 28-A begins from the date of passing of the award by the Reference Court in L.A.C No.104/1996 i.e 20/8/2000 and as such, the application filed by the respondents on 18/8/2004 was barred by limitation and having regard to the settled law that neither the Land Acquisition Officer nor the Reference Court has power to condone the delay, under the Land Acquisition Act, the application filed by the respondents under Section 28-A, was barred by limitation and as such, ought to have been dismissed on this ground alone. Learned advocate therefore submitted that the impugned judgment and order passed by the Collector, South Goa, Margao be quashed and set aside.

9. Mr. Coutinho, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the respondents supported the impugned judgment and order.

10. It is well settled that an application under Section 28-A of The Act seeking enhanced compensation on the basis of another award in respect of the lands covered under the same notification is to be filed within a period of three months from the date of award. As stated above, it is also well settled that neither the Land Acquisition Officer nor the Reference Court has the power to condone the delay under the Act. This being the position, I find merit in the submission of Mr. Talaulikar that the application filed by the respondents was barred by limitation and as such, the Land Acquisition Officer could not have entertained the application filed under Section 28-A of the Act. On this ground alone,the impugned judgment and order is liable to be set aide.

11. For the reasons aforesaid, the impugned judgment and order dated 28/8/2009 passed by the Collector, South Goa, Margao is quashed and set aside.

12. Rule is made absolute in the above terms with no order as to costs.

Petition allowed.