Jurisdiction of Court upon a Land Acquisition Reference

REAL ESTATE & CONSTRUCTION

white and red wooden house miniature on brown table
white and red wooden house miniature on brown table
What are the jurisdictional facts, compliance of which is a condition precedent to the exercise of the power of reference under Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894?

When we peruse the various Sections in the Act, particularly Sections 18, 19, 20 and 21 thereof, it becomes abundantly clear that there are certain conditions which have to be fulfilled before the Collector is empowered to make the reference, and then alone the Court has any jurisdiction to entertain the reference. These conditions are (a) a written application should be made before the Collector; (b) the person applying should be one interested in the subject matter of the reference, but who does not accept the award; (c) the grounds of objection as to the measurement, or the amount of compensation, the persons to whom it is payable or the apportionment of the compensation among the persons interested should be stated in the application; and (d) The application should be within the period prescribed under the provisos (a) & (b) to Section 18 of the Act.

These are all matters of substance, which may be conveniently called jurisdictional facts, and their compliance is a condition precedent to the exercise of the power of reference under Section 18 of the Act.

Whether the landowner can directly file an application under Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 before the court?

The matter goes to Court only upon a reference made by the Collector. It is only after such a reference is made that the Court is empowered to determine the objections made by a claimant to the award. In fact , it is the order of reference which provides the foundation of the jurisdiction of the Court to decide the objections referred to it. The Court is bound by the reference and cannot widen the scope of its jurisdiction or decide matters which are not referred to it. It is thus, not within the domain of the Court to entertain any application under the Act pro inter esse suo (that is, according to his interest) or in the nature thereof.

Whether jurisdiction given by a statute only upon certain specified terms can be exercised without complying with such terms?

Whenever jurisdiction is given by a statute and such jurisdiction is only given upon certain specified terms contained therein, it is a universal principle that those terms should be complied with in order to create and raise the jurisdiction, and if they are not complied with, the jurisdiction does not arise. The matter goes to Court only upon a reference made by the Collector therefore, it is not within the domain of the Court to entertain any application under the Act pro inter esse suo or in the nature thereof.

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