30 March 1970
Supreme Court


Case number: Appeal (civil) 2528 of 1969






DATE OF JUDGMENT: 30/03/1970


CITATION:  1971 AIR 1887            1971 SCR  (1) 146

ACT: Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property Act  30 of  1952,  ss.  8  and  11--Award  as  to  compensation   by arbitrator--Appeal  and  cross-objections   filed--Court-fee payable on cross-objections under provisions of Bombay Court Fee Act, 1959--Fixed fee to be paid under Art. 13 Sch. II or ad valorem fee under Art. 3 Sch. 1. Bombay    Court-Fee Act, 1959, s. 7(1), Art. 3 Sch. I,  Art. 13   Sch.    II--Award  of   arbitrator  under   s.   8   of Requisitioning  and Acquisition of Immovable  Property  Act. 1952--Whether  an ’order’--’Order’ under s. 7  whether  must have  force of decree--Cross-objections whether included  in expression ’memorandum of appeal’ in Art. 3 Sch.  I--Art. 13 Sch.  II whether applicable to cross-objections.

HEADNOTE: Lands belonging to the appellant in District Ahmednagar were acquired  under  the, provisions of the  Requisitioning  and Acquisition  of  immovable  Property Act 30  of  1952.   The appellant was not satisfied with the compensation awarded by the  Special  Land  Acquisition  Officer.   The  matter  was referred to the arbitrator as provided in s. 8(1)(b) of  the Act.   The arbitrator increased the  compensation  whereupon the  Special  Deputy Collector went in appeal  to  the  High Court.   The  appellant filed cross-objections on  which  he paid  fixed court-fee of Rs. 5/- purporting to do  so  under Art.  13 of Schedule II of the Bombay Court-fee  Act,  1959. The High Court however on objection taken by the State, held that Art. 13 Schedule II was not applicable to the case  but the matter fell under Art. 3 of Schedule I and therefore  ad valorem  court-fee  had to be paid on  the  cross-objections filed  by  the  appellant.   The  appellant  challenged  the decision  of  the High Court in an appeal to this  Court  by special  leave.   Reliance on behalf of the  respondent  was placed  upon  s.  7(1) of the  Bombay  Court-fee  Act  which provided that the amount of court-fee payable under the  Act on  a memorandum of appeal against an order of  compensation relating  to acquisition of land for public purposes  "shall be ,computed according to the difference between the  amount awarded  and  the  amount claimed by  the  appellant".,  The contentions urged on behalf of the appellant were : (i) that



the award of the arbitrator was not an ,order’. (ii) that an order  to  come  within s. 7(1) must have  the  force  of  a decree;  (iii)  that  Art. 3 of  Sch.   I  was  inapplicable because  it  only  referred  to  plaints,  applications   or petitions (including memorandum of appeal) but not to cross- objections which were expressly referred to in Art. 1,  Sch. 1. HELD  :  (i)  The  contention that the  award  made  by  the arbitrator  was something which had no effect and  therefore it  could not be considered as an order,was not  acceptable. It is, true that it is not an order’ as defined in the Civil Procedure  Code,  the same having not been made by  a  civil court.   But  the expression ’order’ is not defined  in  the Act.   The award of the arbitrator is undoubtedly a  ’formal expression  of  a decision made by  a  competent  authority. Further  it  is  a decision binding on the  parties  to  the proceedings in which it is made.  The question 147 whether  the  order  in question was executable  or  not  is irrelevant forthe  purpose  of  determining  the  point  in issue. [150 C-D] (ii)  Section 7(1) clearly applies to an appeal filed  under the Act.It is not a charging section. it only provides for the computation ofthe,   court-fee   payable.   But   that provision makes it clear that it relates tothe computation of  a court-fee payable on ad valorem basis. it can have  no connection  with  any Article-providing for the  payment  of fixed  court-fee.  Therefore the computation provided  under that provision can only be of a court-fee payable under  one or the other article in Sch.  I. [150 H] Section  7(1) does not say that the order under appeal  must have  the  force  of a decree.  It would  not  therefore  be proper to add the words "having the force of a decree" after the word ’order’ in s. 7(1). [151 F] (iii)  A  cross-objection  is a  memorandum  of  appeal  in. substance  though  not in form.  It is a right  given  to  a respondent in an appeal to challenge the order under  appeal to the extent he is aggrieved by that order.  The memorandum of  cross-objection is but one form of appeal, It takes  the place  of a cross-appeal.  It is true that while Art.  1  of Sch.  I refers to ’cross-objection’ Art. 3 of that Sch. does not  refer  to  crossobjection as such  but  that  makes  no difference.  It is’ only inartistic drafting. [152 E-F] The  High  Court  was therefore right  in  holding  that  ad valorem  courtfee  had to be paid by the  appellant  on  his cross-objections. Anandalal  Chakarbarti,  [1931]  I.L.R.  59      Cal.   528, applied. The  Chatusshakhiya Brahmavrinda Gayaran Trust v.  Union  of India,. 70 B.L.R. 407, approved. Shri Kanwar Jagat Bahadur Singh v. The Punjab State,  [1957] I.L.R. Punjab 142, referred to.

JUDGMENT: CIVIL  APPELLATE  JURISDICTION : Civil Appeal  No.  2528  of 1969. Appeal  by special leave from the order dated March 6,  1969 of  the Bombay High Court in Civil Revision Application  No. 187 of 1967. S.  V.  Gupte,  P.  H.  Parekh and  R.  B.  Datar,  for  the appellant. G. L. Sanghi, B. D. Sharma for, S. P. Nayar, for the respon- dents.



The Judgment of the Court was delivered by Hegde, J. This appeal by special leave, appears to have been brought  as  a  test case.  It arises from one  of  the  116 crossobjections  filed in an appeal brought by  the  Special Deputy   Collector,   Ahmednagar  to  the  High   Court   of Maharashtra,   under  S.  11  of  the   Requisitioning   and Acquisition of Immovable Property Act, 195Z (Act 30 of 1952) (to be hereinafter referred to as the Act) against an  award made  by  the  arbitrator under S. 8(1) of  that  Act.   The controversy  in this appeal is as to the relevant  provision of the Bombay Court Fee Act, 1959 under which the court-- 148 fee is payable on the claim made in the memorandum of cross- objection.   According  to  the appellant on  the  claim  in question  .a fixed court-fee of Rs. 5 is payable under  Art. 13  of  Sch.  11  of the  Bombay  Court-Fee  Act,  1959  but according  to the State ad valorem court-fee, is payable  on that  claim in question either under Article 1 or Art. 3  of Sch.   I  of  that  Act.  The High Court  has  come  to  the conclusion  that  on  the claim made  by  the  appellant  ad valorem court-free is payable under Art. 3 of Sch.  I of the Bombay  Court-Fee Act, 1959.  The appellant challenges  that conclusion. Lands belonging to the appellant and several others  situate in Taluka Parmar, District Ahmednagar were requisitioned  on March 10, 1944.  Thereafter they were acquired on  September 22, 1957 under the provisions of the Act.  In respect of the said  acquisition,  the  appellant claimed  a  sum,  of  Rs. 12,173/49   P.   as  compensation  but  the   Special   Land Acquisition Officer offered him only Rs. 3,033/59 P. In view of   this  difference,  the  matter  was  referred  to   the arbitrator  as  provided in s. 8 (1) (b) of  the  Act.   The arbitrator awarded a sum of Rs. 5,980/55 P. As against  that award, the Special Deputy Collector went up in appeal to the High  Court  of Maharashtra.  The appellant  filed  a  cross -objection  claiming  an  additional  compensation  of   Rs. 3,323/93 P. ’On that claim he paid a fixed court-fee of  Rs. 5. The Taxing Officer assessed the court-fee payable at  Rs. 250  and demanded the appellant to pay an additional  court- fee of Rs. 245.  The appellant’s revision to the High  Court was summarily dismissed. Thereafter this appeal was brought. It  was  urged by Mr. S. V. Gupte, learned Counsel  for  the appellant  that the High Court was in error in holding  that the court-fee in respect of the claim made by his client  is payable  under  Art. 3 of Sch.  I and not under Art.  13  of Sch. 11 of the Bombay Court-Fee Act, 1959.  According to him Art.  3  of Sch.  T applies only to plaint,  application  or petition  (including memorandum of appeal) to set  aside  or modify  any  award made by a civil  court.   The  arbitrator appointed under s. 8 of- the Act is not a civil court; he is only  a  tribunal.  Therefore an appeal  against  his  order comes  within Art. 13 of Sch.  II.  The learned Counsel  for the  Special  Deputy Collector on the other  hand  contended that  the  appropriate  Art. under which  the  court-fee  is payable  is either Art. 3 or Art.  I of Sch.  T. In  support of  his  contention he placed great deal of reliance  on  S. 7(1) of the Bombay CourtFee Act, 1959.               Section 8(1) of the Act reads               "Where   any  property  is  requisitioned   or               acquired  under this Act, there shall be  paid               compensation the 149               amount  of  which shall be determined  in  the               manner  and in accordance with the  principles               hereinafter set out, that is to say,-



             (a)  where the amount of compensation  can  be               fixed  by  agreement,  it  shall  be  paid  in               accordance with such agreement;               (b)  where no such agreement can  be  reached,               the   Central  Government  shall  appoint   as               arbitrator a person who is,or has been, or  is               qualified for appointment.as a Judge of a High               Court;               (c) the Central Government may, in any  parti-               cular  case, nominate a person  having  expert               knowledge  as  to the nature of  the  property               requisitioned   or  acquired  to  assist   the               arbitrator and where such nomination is  made,               the person to be compensated may also nominate               as assessor for the same purpose;               (d)  at  the commencement of  the  proceedings               before. the arbitrator, the Central Government               and  the person to be compensated shall  state               what  in  their respective opinion is  a  fair               amount of compensation;               (e)  the arbitrator shall, after  hearing  the               dispute, make an award determining the  amount               of  compensation  which appears to him  to  be               just  and specifying the person or persons  to               whom  such compensation shall be paid; and  in               making the award, he shall have regard to  the               circumstances of each case and the  provisions               of  subsections (2) ’and (3), so far  as  they               are applicable;               (f)  where  there  is any dispute  as  to  the               person  or  persons who are  entitled  to  the               compensation, the arbitrator shall decide such               dispute and if the arbitrator finds that  more               persons than one are entitled to compensation,               he shall apportion the amount thereof  amongst               such persons;               (g)  nothing  in  the  Arbitration  Act,  1940               shall.   apply  of  arbitration   under   this               section." Section 9 says               "The  amount of compensation payable under  an               award  shall, subject to any rules made  under               this  Act, be paid by the competent  authority               to the person or ,,persons entitled thereto in               such  manner  and within such time as  may  be               specified in the award". 150 Section 1 1 provides for an appeal to the High Court against the  award made by the arbitrator.  In the Act there  is  no provision  similar  to  sub-s.  (2) of s.  26  of  the  Land Acquisition  Act,  1894 whereunder every award made  by  the Lands Acquisition Officer is to be deemed to be a decree  of court.  Therefore the question whether the award made  under s.  8 of the Act is executable or not is a matter  that  re- quires  further  consideration.  For the present,  we  shall proceed on the basis that it is not executable.  But S. 9 of the  Act  requires  the  competent  authority  to  pay   the compensation  awarded  to  the person  or  persons  entitled thereto.   Therefore we are unable to accept the  contention of the learned Counsel for the appellant that the award made by  the  arbitrator  is something which has  no  effect  and therefore  it cannot be considered as an order.  It is  true that it is not an ’order’ as defined in the Civil  Procedure Code, the same having not been made by .a civil court.   But the expression ’order is not defined in the Act.  The  award



of  the arbitrator is undoubtedly a formal expression  of  a decision  made  by a competent authority.  Further it  is  a decision binding on the parties to the proceedings in  which it  is  made.  Therefore the question whether the  order  in question is executable or not appears to us to be irrelevant for the purpose of determining the point in issue. Section  5(1)  of the Bombay Court-Fee Act,  1959,  provides that no document of any of the kinds specified as chargeable in the first or second schedule to this Act annexed shall be filed,  exhibited  or recorded in any Court  of  Justice  or shall be received or furnished by any public officer, unless in respect of such document there has been paid a fee of  an amount  not less than that indicated by either of  the  said schedules  as  the proper fee for .such  document.   Section 7(1) of that Act provides :               "7  (1) The amount of fee payable  under  this               Act on a memorandum of appeal against an order               relating to compensation under any Act for the               time  being  in force for the  acquisition  of               land  for  public purposes shall  be  computed               according to the difference between the amount               awarded   and  the  amount  claimed   by   the               appellant." This  provision  is similar to s. 8 of  the  Court-Fee  Act, 1870.  It clearly applies to an appeal filed under s. 11  of the  Act.   It  is true that provision  is  not  a  charging section.  It only provides for the computation of the court- fee  payable.   But that provision makes it  clear  that  it relates  to  the computation of a court-fee  payable  on  ad valorem  basis.   It can have no connection  with  any  Art’ providing for the payment of fixed court-fee.  Therefore the computation provided under that provision can only be of a 151 court-fee payable under one or the other article in Sch.  1. Dealing  with the scope of s. 8 of the Court-fee  Act,  1870 Rankin C.J. in Anandalal Chakrabarti(1) observed :               "Section 8, while not itself imposing any  fee               upon any one, provides a rule for  computation               of the fee payable under the Act in a  certain               class of cases.  What it says is that, in  the               class  of  cases,  which it  deals  with,  the               amount  of  fee  payable under the  Act  on  a               memorandum  of  appeal, it is to  be  computed               according  to the difference between  the  two               sums.  Now, that section standing in the  text               of   the   Act  proceeds  clearly   upon   the               assumption  that otherwise in the ’ Act  there               is a charge which is an ad valorem charge  and               is not a fixed charge,;               ........ The provisions of s. 8, involving  as               they  do that fee in the class of cases  dealt               with  is  an ad valorem  fee,  are  themselves               sufficient to exclude any question of Art.  11               of Schedule 11 being made applicable, to, such               cases.   It  is  not  necessary  to   consider               whether  the  Tribunal’s award,  which  is  an               order and not a decree, is an order having the               force  of  a decree.  Whatever the  effect  of               that phrase, may be, section 8 shows one  per-               fectly   clear   that  an   appeal   regarding               compensation in a Land Acquisition case is not               under Article 11 of Schedule 11, because it is               not a fixed fee at all.........." We see no force in the contention that before s. 7(1) of the Bombay  Court-Fee Act, 1959 can be attracted to  an  appeal,



the  order  under appeal must have the force  of  a  decree. That  section does not say so.  It would not, therefore,  be proper  on our part to add the words "having the force of  a decree"  after  the word ’order’ in s. 7(1).  In  fact  that section  is so plain as not to require  any  interpretation. In that view, it is not necessary for us to consider any  of the  Articles in Sch.  II of the Bombay Courtfee Act,  1959. All that we have to see is under which Art. of Sch.  I,  the court-fee  is payable.  For the appellant it matters  little whether he is asked to pay court-fee either under Art.  1 or Art. 3 of Sch.  I,the court-fee payable under both the Arts. being  the  same.  We are in agreement with the  High  Court that  Art.  3  of Sch.  I is the relevant  Art.   That  Art. provides  for  the payment of ad valorem  court-fee  at  the rates prescribed in Art.  1 of Sch.  I on appeal petitions. (1)  [1931] I.L.R.59 Cal. 528. 152 The  learned Counsel for the appellant urged that Art. 3  of Sch.   I of the Bombay Court-fee Act, 1959  is  inapplicable because that Art. refers to "plaint, application or petition (including memorandum of appeal), to set aside or modify any award otherwise than under the Arbitration Act, 1940". Before Art. 3 of Sch.  I can be attracted, there must be (1) a plaint, application or petition (including a memorandum of appeal);   (2)  in  that  plant,  application  or   petition (including memorandum of appeal), there must be a prayer  to set aside or modify any award and (3) the award in  question must  not be one under the Arbitration Act, 1940.  There  is no dispute that the proceedings with which we are  concerned in  this  case  fulfil two out  of  the  three  requirements enumerated above.  The award concerned in the proceedings is not  one made under the Arbitration Act, ;1940  and  through his  cross objection proceedings the appellant seeks to  get the  award  modified.   The only  point  in  controversy  is whether  the cross-objection filed.by the appellant  can  be considered  as "application or petition" within the  meaning of  Art.  3 of Sch. 1. The words in the  bracket  "including memorandum  of  appeal"  in our opinion refer  to  the  word ’petition’  immediately  preceding those  words.   In  other words  the word ’petition includes the memorandum of  appeal as well.  The question is whether a cross-objection filed by a respondent in an appeal can be considered as a  memorandum of  appeal.   We have no doubt that it  is,a  memorandum  of appeal in substance though not in form.  It is a right given to  a respondent in an appeal to challenge the  order  under appeal  to  the extent he is aggrieved by that  order.   The memorandum of cross objection is but one form of appeal.  It takes  the place of a cross-appeal.  It is true  that  while Art. 1 of Sch.  I refers to ’cross-objection Art. 3 of  that Sch.  does not refer to cross-objection as such but that  in our  opinion makes no difference.  It is only an  inartistic drafting. For the reasons mentioned above , we think that the decision of the High Court in The Chatusshakhiya Brahmavrinda Gavaran Trust v. Union of India(1) is correct.  In this view, it  is not  necessary  for us to consider the  correctness  of  the decision  of  the Punjab High Court in  Shri-  Kanwar  Jagat Bahadur Singh v. The Punjab State(2). In  the result this appeal fails and the same is  dismissed. No costs. G.C.                 Appeal dismissed. (1)   70 B. L. R. 407. (2)  [1657] I.L.R. Punjab p. 142. 153