Setting aside the Thanjavur collector’s order which rejected an arbitration application on the ground that it was filed outside the prescribed period, the Madras high court held that there is no time limit specified for applying before the arbitrator under the National Highways Act, 1956. Justice S S Sundar observed that even otherwise if the Limitation Act, 1963, was applied in the case, the period prescribed under section 137, which is applicable in the present case, the appeal was filed well before time. “From the facts of the case in hand, this court is satisfied that the appeal had been filed within the prescribed time. Hence, this court has no hesitation to hold that the order passed by the collector dismissing the appeal on the ground of limitation is not only illegal on accounts of the judgements of the earlier division bench of this court, but also by accepting the case of the collector regarding application of Limitation Act,” observed the judge.

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CITYCollector’s order rejecting arbitration set aside by HC
Kaushik Kannan | TNN | Jan 6, 2020, 4:57 IST






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Madurai: Setting aside the Thanjavur collector’s order which rejected an arbitration application on the ground that it was filed outside the prescribed period, the Madras high court held that there is no time limit specified for applying before the arbitrator under the National Highways Act, 1956.

Justice S S Sundar observed that even otherwise if the Limitation Act, 1963, was applied in the case, the period prescribed under section 137, which is applicable in the present case, the appeal was filed well before time.
“From the facts of the case in hand, this court is satisfied that the appeal had been filed within the prescribed time. Hence, this court has no hesitation to hold that the order passed by the collector dismissing the appeal on the ground of limitation is not only illegal on accounts of the judgements of the earlier division bench of this court, but also by accepting the case of the collector regarding application of Limitation Act,” observed the judge.

The petitioner, J Krishnappa, owns a land measuring 2,450 square metre at Ukkarai Vattam at Thathuvachary village in Thanjavur district. The special district revenue officer (land acquisition) acquired the said extent of land from the petitioner for the purpose of laying road for national highways (NH 45C) from Vikkiravandi to Thanjavur via Kumbakonam in 2016.
Since the compensation determined by the special district revenue officer was far below market value, the petitioner had submitted a representation for referring the dispute to the arbitrator, who is the district collector. The petitioner also filed an appeal as contemplated under section 3(G)(5) of National Highways Act and the same was rejected by the collector on ground that the petition filed by the petitioner is beyond the period of limitation prescribed.

The petitioner moved the court challenging the rejection order passed by the collector dated November 2, 2019.
The judge observed that this court in earlier judgments had taken a view that the National Highways Act does not prescribe a period of limitation for appeal and that when an order of the land acquisition officer fixing compensation is challenged before the arbitrator under the National Highways Act, the application cannot be dismissed on the ground that the reference is barred by limitation.
The judge set aside the rejection order and directed the collector to entertain the petitioner’s appeal and pass final orders after hearing the petitioner and considering all the documents within six weeks.

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