What is the meaning of ‘willing seller’?
The market value is determined with reference to the open market sale of comparable land in the neighbourhood, by a willing seller to a willing buyer, on or before the date of preliminary notification, as that would give a fair indication of the market value.
A `willing seller’ refers to a person who is not acting under any pressure to sell the property, that is, where the sale is not a distress sale. A willing seller is a person who knows the advantages and disadvantages of his property, sells the property after ascertaining the prevailing market prices at the fair and reasonable value. Similarly, a willing purchaser refers to a person who is not under any pressure or compulsion to purchase the property, and who, having the choice of different properties, voluntarily decides to buy a particular property by assessing its advantages and disadvantages and the prevailing market value thereof. Of course, unless there are indications to hold otherwise, all sale transactions under registered sale deeds will be assumed to be normal sales by willing sellers to willing purchasers. Where however there is evidence or indications that the sale was not at prevailing fair market value, it has to be ignored. But auction sales stand on a different footing. When purchasers start bidding for a property in an auction, an element of competition enters into the auction.
Human ego, and desire to do better and excel other competitors, leads to competitive bidding, each trying to outbid the others. Thus in a well-advertised open auction sale, where a large number of bidders participate, there is always a tendency for the price of the auctioned property to go up considerably. On the other hand, where the auction sale is by banks or financial institutions, courts, etc. to recover dues, there is an element of distress, a cloud regarding title, and a chance of litigation, which have the effect of dampening the enthusiasm of bidders and making them cautious, thereby depressing the price. There is therefore every likelihood of auction price being either higher or lower than the real market price, depending upon the nature of the sale. As a result, courts are wary of relying upon auction sale transactions when other regular traditional sale transactions are available while determining the market value of the acquired land.
This Court in Raj Kumar v. Haryana State, (2007) 7 SCC 609, observed that the element of competition in auction sales makes them unsafe guides for determining the market value.
REFER : Executive Engineer, Karnataka Housing Board Versus Land Acquisition Officer, Gadag and Others-(2011) 2 SCC 246 : AIR 2011 SC 781 : JT 2011 (1) SC 539 : (2011) 1 SCALE 203 : (2011) 1 SCR 600