In the case of Eliyamma v. Deputy Collector, Kerala High Court partially allowed the instant appeal challenging the correctness of the orders of the District Judge whereby the District Judge had declined to interfere with the arbitral award.
The National Highway Authority acquired properties to widen the Valayar-Vadakkanchery sector of NH 47 under a formal notification, and the Special Land Acquisition Officer awarded compensation. Special Land Acquisition Officer had granted a total payment of Rs 2,65,252 to appellant one based on comparable sales method, while the balance of Rs 3,37,337 was awarded to appellant 2. Being dissatisfied with the quantum of compensation, the appellants invoked the arbitration clause. The arbitrator granted an additional payment of Rs 1,04,449 as an enhancement, besides 9% interest on the enhanced amount from the date of dispossession to appellant one and an enhancement of Rs 1,67,215 and 9% interest on the additional compensation was granted to appellant 2. On being aggrieved by order of the arbitrator, the appellants moved the District Court under Section 34 of the Arbitration Act. Later on, the instant appeal was filed against the order of the District Judge.
The Court noticed the issues of the appellant that the claims not being considered by the authorities were factually not correct as it is evident from the orders passed by the Arbitrator, that even in the absence of the appellants producing supporting documents or proof, the Arbitrator had taken into consideration post-notification developments while granting enhancement in land value as well as the value of structures. The Court said, “It is the settled proposition of law that matters cannot be remanded back to the authority below to decide any question of fact which was not properly pleaded and no evidence was let in by the parties in support of the claim.” While reiterating the settled proposition of law, the Court said, regarding the scope and ambit of Section 34 of the Arbitration Act, that the Court’s power is merely supervisory, and the Court cannot act as though exercising the appellate jurisdiction. The Court also expressed that the Parliament had invested no energy in the Court to remand the matter to the arbitral tribunal. Therefore, the demand for remitting the case back to the arbitrator was denied.
Because of the above, it was held that even in the absence of specific plea or proof, the appellants were entitled to claim solatium and interest on solatium under Section 23(1A) and (2) and good in terms of the proviso to Section 28 of the Land Acquisition Act and the respondents were directed to quantify the amounts of solatium accordingly.
 2021 SCC OnLine Ker 80.
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