ROSE C.J".—Ratwalte v. Arthur Silva
1953Present: Rose C.J. and K. D. de Silva J.P. B. RATWATTE, Appellant and P. ARTHUR SELVA(Assistant Government Agent) et al., Respondents
S. C. 18—D. C. (Inty.) Anuradhapura, 3,172
Land, acquisition—Valuation—Intervention by interested parties.
In awarding compensation in respect of compulsory acquisition of land, thevalue to be ascertained is the value to the vendor, not its value to the purchaser.Therefore, any increase in value consequent on the execution of the under-taking in connection with which the acquisition is made must be disregarded?J
In land acquisition proceedings, tenants and others claiming compensationfor improvements effected on the land to be acquired may be allowed tointervene.
A PPEAL from a judgment of the District Court, Anuradhapura.
N. K. Choksy, Q.C., with D. S. Jayakody and E. P. Wijetunge, forthe 1st defendant appellant.
V. Tennekoon, Crown Counsel, for the plaintiff respondent.
Cur. adv. vult.
October 16, 1953. Rose C.J.—
This matter turns upon the amount of compensation to be awardedto the appellant in respect of the compulsory acquisition of a certainland named Elabodekelle of about 29 acres in extent. The sum of
BOSE G.J .-^-Ratwatle v. Arthur Silva
Rs. 20,470 as compensation for the land at the rate of Us. 700 per aerowas awarded, of which Us. 6,165 was allotted to certaiq tenants of theappellant in respect of improvements which the learned District Judge-held they had effected.,
The first point that the appellant takes is that the rate of compensationwas too low. It appears that the land in question was acqhired for thepurpose of developing the new town of Anuradhapura situated outsidethe urban limits of the old town.
Evidence was called both on behalf of the appellant and the 1strespondent in regard to the value of certain lands in the neighbourhood.These estimates naturally varied and the learned District Judge was-placed in the somewhat difficult position of having to arrive at anarbitrary figure. One of the assessors was of the opinion that the com-pensation should be at the rate of Bs. 1,200 per acre whereas the other,with whom the learned District Judge agreed, estimated the appropriatecompensation at Rs. 700 per acre.
We are invited by learned counsel for the appellant to hold that thelearned District Judge is wrong in his computation. As is pointed outby Mr. Justice Eve in South Eastern Railway v. L. C. J.1—and hi« obser-vations are referred to with approval in Cripps’ Compulsory Acquisitionof Land, 9th Edition at page 503—the value to be ascertained is thevalue to the vendor, not its value to the purchaser, and that thereforeany increase in value consequent on the execution of the undertakingin connection with which the acquisition is made must be disregarded.
While the market price, as Eve J. points out, is not a conclusivetest of real value it has, of course, a distinct bearing upon the value of theland to the vendor. Crown Counsel points out that this land was-relatively waterless and only intermittently cultivable once every threeor four years and that it had no saleable value at all, apart from thevalue it had to the 1st respondent in connection with the proposedHousing Scheme. That being so, it seems to me that there is really noadequate material upon which we, as an Appellate , Court, can holdthat the learned District Judge’s assessment, which in the very cir-cumstances of the case must have been more or less of an arbitrarynature, is wrong ; especially as there is some material upon the recordwhich would seem to lend support to the adoption of the figure that hechose. This point of the appeal therefore fails.
There remains the question of the compensation which was awardedto the various tenants for improvements. As regards the amount, Iam of opinion that there is no- good ground for this court to interferewith the decision of the learned District Judge. There was evidence,which he accepted, as to the value of the various 1b ml dings and otherimprovements effected ; moreover there was evidence to support hisfinding that the respondents (who were the tenants in question) effectedthose improvements. On those matters, therefore, I see no reason todisturb the finding of the learned District Judge.
1 (1915) 2 Ch. 252.
Anglo-Ceylon and General Estates Co.% Ltd. v. Abusalie
The appellant contends, however, that the matter of improvementsand the compensation to be paid for them should not have been consideredat all by the learned. District Judge in the present proceedings. Thereis some support for this view in the case of G.A., W. P. v. Gooray <£•others1. That case, however, which was decided as long ago as 1908,although it does not appear to have been expressly overruled, does notseem to have been followed in subsequent decisions of this court, orindeed in the practice of the District Courts themselves. I am informedfrom both sides of the Bar, and I accept, that the general practice inthese matters is for intervention to be allowed by tenants and othersclaiming compensation for improvements effected on the land to beacquired. This practice seems to me to have at any rate the advantage-of being convenient and, that being so, I would be reluctant at this latestage to introduce any innovation, Moreover, it may well be that theobservations of Grenier A.J. in G. A., W. P. v. Gooray & others wereonly intended to be read in the context of their application to theparticular facts of that case.
I consider therefore that the appellant’s second point also fails.
The appeal is therefore dismissed with costs payable to the 1strespondent. The remaining respondents did not appear and. willreceive no costs.
JK. D. de Silva J.—I agree.
P. B. RATWATTE, Appellant and P. ARTHUR SILVA (Assistant Government Agent) et
ROSE C.J".—Ratwalte v. Arthur Silva