Land Revenue Laws Series-Part 1
[Content created and compiled by Adv. Prakash Manohar Chalke-Copyright Reserved]©
|Erection of a Farm Building in Maharashtra, Procedure regulating application, Permission or refusal etc.
|Consequences of unauthorised erection of a Farm Building.
|User of land primarily recognized by the MLR Code, 1966.
|Restrictions on the use of land. Persons empowered to impose prohibitory restrictions.
|Principles guiding the conversion of use of land from one purpose to another.
|Action required to be taken by the holder of land, on the grant of permission for conversion of user of land by the Collector.
|Consequences of contravention of the Land Revenue Code vis-à-vis the conversion of land user or the conditions of a Non-agricultural Assessment permission.
|Consequences of conversion of user of land under the MLR Code and the Non-Agricultural Assessment Rules.
|Sanad of Non-Agricultural Assessment. Contents and the legal consequences thereof.
|Definition of land under the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code, 1966.
|Title to all lands, roads, bridges, ditches and water courses, situated in the state to vest in the State Government.
|Powers of the District Collector vis-à-vis the lands claimed by the State Government.
|Extinguishment of public rights in public roads by the State Government and procedure to be followed.
|Principles guiding the District Collector in an enquiry under Section 21 of the MLRC, 1966.
|Disposal of State Government Lands under the MLR Code and procedure thereof.
|Alternative way of transferring lands under the Revenue Code, other than the mode stipulated under the MLR (DGL) Rules, 1971.
|“Gairan” land and procedure regulating disposal of such land.
|Grazing lands susceptible to disposal by way of lease.
FAQ.1 Does one need permission from the Collector to erect a farm building in Maharashtra?- If so, what is the procedure?
A:- A farm building in Maharashtra is considered as an integral part of the agricultural land. Hence, its construction, reconstruction and the user are governed by the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code, 1966. Section 2(9) of the MLRC, defines a farm building as a structure erected on the land assessed or held for agriculture, for all or any of the following purposes viz. (a) storage of agricultural implements, manure or fodder; (b) storage of agricultural produce; (c) for sheltering cattle; (d) for residence of family members and (e) any other purpose, forming any integral part of the cultivating arrangement. Section 41 of the MLRC specifies the uses of an agricultural land which the holder thereof may put to. An occupier, holder or tenant of an agricultural land is entitled to erect thereon a farm building, construct wells or tanks or make any other improvements thereon for the better cultivation of such land. However, from the date of commencement of the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code (Amendment) Act, 1986, a person who intends to construct or re-construct a farm building or seeks to make any additions or alterations thereto, needs to obtain the permission of the Collector to carry out the intended work. This application is required to be made in the prescribed form. This permission is mandatory where the agricultural land in question is situated (i) within the limits of Municipal Corporations of Greater Mumbai, city of Pune and the city of Nagpur and the outlying areas thereof, within eight kilometres from the peripheral limits of such corporations; (ii) within the limits of any other municipal corporation and the outlying areas thereof within five kilometres from the peripheral limits of such corporations; (iii) within the limits of “A” Class Municipal Councils and the outlying areas thereof within three kilometres from the peripheral limits; (iv) within the limits of “B” and “C” Class Municipal Councils; and (v) within the area covered by a Regional Plan, ,Town Planning Scheme, within the notified area or any area designated as the site of new town, whether or not the draft or final plan thereof is prepared or sanctioned.
FAQ.2. What are the principles which govern the Collector in granting or refusing such permission?
A:- When such an application is made to the Collector, he may either grant or refuse permission. Such permission may, either be conditional or unconditional. In granting such permission the Collector is guided by the area of agricultural holding on which one or more farm building(s) are to be erected. Where are of the agricultural holding exceeds 0.4 hectare, but does not exceed 0.6 hectares, the plinth are of farm buildings cannot exceed 150 square metres. On the other hand, if the agricultural holding exceeds 0.6 hectare, the plinth area of all farm buildings cannot exceed one fortieth (1/40th) area of the agricultural holding or 400 square metres, whichever is less. However, this permission comes with a rider, if one or more of such buildings are proposed to be used for the residence of family members of the holder or his servants or tenants. In such case, the plinth area of such building(s) proposed to be used for residential purpose cannot exceed 150 sq.metres, notwithstanding the fact that area of such holding exceeds 0.6 hectare. Section 41(4) of the MLRC, specifies the cases in which the Collector shall refuse such permission. Thus, where the area of the agricultural holding is less than 0.4 hectare or where the height of such building from its plinth level exceeds 5 metres and building consists of more than ground floor, the permission cannot be granted. Similarly, the permission shall not be granted, if it entails erection of more than one farm building for each of the purposes set out in the preceding FAQ answer. The plinth area means the plinth area of the farm building proposed to be erected and where more than one farm buildings are to be erected, it means the aggregated plinth area of all such buildings. It should be borne in mind that same principles would guide the Collector in case of re-construction, renewal, additions or alterations to an existing farm building. Hence, if the plinth area thereof exceeds the above described ceiling limit or the height from plinth level exceeds 5 metres, such permission shall not be granted.
FAQ No.3 What considerations would guide the erection of a farm building, where the agriculture holding in question is situated in urban areas?
A:- Where any agricultural holding is situated within the limits of any municipal corporation or municipal council duly constituted under any law, the provisions of the incorporating Act, as well as the provisions of any Rules or Bye-Laws made thereunder would guide the erection of a farm building or the reconstruction, renewal, additions and/or alterations to an existing farm building in the same manner as they would apply to a normal building permission granted under such law or the Rules and Bye-laws made thereunder. The Development Control Regulations framed under the provisions of the MRTP Act, 1966 as well as the provisions of the Rules framed by the State or Central Government in respect of building and control lines for different portions of National and State Highways or major roads and other roads, too shall regulate such construction.
FAQ No.4. What are the consequences of unauthorised erection of a farm building?
A:- Where any farm building is erected or any existing farm building is reconstructed, renewed, altered or added to, in contravention of the provisions of Section 41 of the MLRC, 1966, the land shall be treated as having been used for non-agricultural purpose and the holder or any other person claiming under him shall face penalties and/or damages stipulated in Sections 43, 45 and 46 of the MLR Code.
FAQ No.5:- What user of land is primarily recognized by the MLR Code, 1966?
A:- The MLR Code, 1966 primarily deals with the agricultural land and as such it tries to protect such user, though it recognises that having regard to exigencies of situation, such user may yield to non-agricultural user such as commercial or industrial user. However, such change of user is duly regulated by laying down an elaborate procedure under Section 44 of the Code. Thus, a land ordinarily used for agricultural purpose cannot be used for any non-agricultural purpose and a land assessed for one non-agricultural purpose cannot be used for any other non-agricultural purpose without the permission of the Collector. Similarly, a land used for a non-agricultural purpose, cannot be used for the same non-agricultural purpose, in relaxation of the conditions imposed at the time of grant of NA permission, unless the Collector has specifically relaxed those conditions. A person who desires to convert the user of his land holding must follow the procedure laid down under Section 44 of the MLR Code, 1966.
FAQ No.6:- What are the restrictions on the use of land?- Who can impose prohibitory restrictions?
A:- As stated in the preceding FAQ answer, a land assessed for an agricultural user cannot be converted for non-agricultural user nor one non-agricultural purpose can yield to another non-agricultural purpose without the permission of the Collector. However, these are just general restrictions imposed by the stature which need to be followed uniformly. However, besides these general restrictions other restrictions can be imposed by the Collector or a survey officer in public interest, subject to the rules made by the State Government in this behalf. Such restrictions inter-alia include the following prohibitions pertaining to (a) cultivation of unarable land in a survey number assigned for public purpose; (b) manufacture of salt from agricultural land; (c) removal of earth, stones, kankar, murum etc. from the land assessed for agricultural purpose, as to destroy or materially injure the land for cultivation; (d) removal of earth, stones (other than loose surface stones), kankar, murum etc. from a land designated as a building site; (e) excavation of land situated within a gaothan and (f) any other purposes as the Rules may prescribe. Where any person puts his holding to any prohibited use, the Collector or the survey officer can summarily evict him from the land by following eviction procedure laid down under Section 53 of the Code.
FAQ. No.7:- What principles guide the conversion of use of land from one purpose to another, in Maharashtra?
A:- Conversion or change of user of land assessed to land revenue is regulated to Section 44 of the MLR Code, 1966. Thus, an occupant of an unalienated land or a superior holder of alienated land or a tenant thereof who seeks to convert the user from agricultural to non-agricultural purpose, or from one non-agricultural purpose to another non-agricultural purpose or who seeks to retain a non-agricultural purpose, albeit with relaxations of the condition/s on which the original non-agricultural permission was granted, is required to make an application to the District Collector in the form prescribed by the relevant Rules. The District Collector, who deals with such application is guided by the procedure laid down under sub-sections (2) and (3) of Section 44. The Collector has to acknowledge such application within seven days, but he may return the application if it is not made by the proper party or if the consent of the party likely to be affected thereby such as tenant, occupant or superior holder of the land has not been obtained or if the application does not conform to the form prescribed by Rules. Upon the receipt of such application the Collector has to make an enquiry before proceeding to pass any order warranted by the law. The Collector may grant permission for the proposed conversion, subject to such conditions as he may specify in that behalf, but such conditions cannot be arbitrary as they are regulated by the relevant Rules made by the State Government. The Collector may refuse such permission, if he is of the opinion that it is necessary to do so to secure public health, safety and convenience or if the proposed conversion is likely to contravene any scheme for planned development of the concerned village, town or city. Moreover, in case of a building site, the Collector may refuse such permission in order to ensure that the dimensions, arrangement and accessibility of the site are adequate for the health and convenience of the occupiers. Whatever may be the reason of rejection, it must be stated in writing. It must be borne in mind that Section 44 lays down a time bound programme for the enquiry conducted by the Collector. The Collector has to inform the applicant within ninety days of the date of acknowledgment of the application or the date of receipt thereof, if the same is not acknowledged. The Collector has power to return the application for the non-compliance of the prescribed procedure. In such case, the period of ninety days will reckon from the date on which the application is re-presented with due compliance. Where the Collector fails to communicate his decision within the prescribed period such permission shall be deemed to have been granted. Such permission is called deemed permission. Notwithstanding such deemed permission, the applicant is obliged to obey the conditions imposed by the Rules viz. the Maharashtra Land Revenue (Conversion of Use of Land and Non-Agricultural Assessment) Rules, 1969.
FAQ No. 8:- What action the holder of land is required to take, once the permission for conversion of use of land is granted by the Collector?
A:- Section 44 of the MLR Code, 1966 mandates that the applicant to whom permission/deemed permission is granted, must intimate the Tahsildar in writing about the date on which the change of user has commenced and the such intimation must be given within thirty days of such date, through village officers. If the person fails to inform the Tahsildar within the aforesaid period, he is visited with fine, besides the non-agricultural assessment payable under the Maharashtra Land Revenue (Conversion of Use of Land and Non-Agricultural Assessment) Rules, 1969.
FAQ No.9:- What are the consequences of contravention of the provisions of the Land Revenue Code vis-à-vis the conversion of use of land or the conditions of a Non-agricultural Assessment permission?
A:-Where a person uses his land holding for any other purpose without obtaining permission of the Collector or a deemed permission by the virtue of lapse of statutory period or having obtained such permission uses such land in contravention of any condition thereof or where a land is exempt from the payment of land revenue, contravenes the conditions thereof, he is visited with the following penalties viz. (a) liability to pay non-agricultural assessment leviable on the land with reference to the altered use; (b) such fine as the Collector may impose, subject to the Rules made by the State Government and (c) the liability to restore the land to its original use or the observe the conditions of permission which were infringed upon. Thus, such contravention may entail a person to remove the contravening structure and/or to fill up any excavation made on the land. The holder of land has to meet the requisitions made by the Collector within the period specified in the notice served by the Collector and if he fails to take the requisite steps within the prescribed period the Collector may impose upon him a penalty not exceeding three hundred rupees for such contravention and a further penalty not exceeding thirty rupees per day for the period during which the default continues. Besides such penalty, the Collector may initiate steps for restoring the status-quo-ante vis-à-vis the land on which contravention has taken place and shall recover the costs thereof, as though they were arrears of land revenue. However, a land assessed for non-agricultural user would not incur any penalty for the change of user, if the same is used for the purpose of agriculture. All these provisions are embodied in Section 45 of the MLR Code, 1966. ….,
FAQ No.10:- What are the consequences of conversion of user of land under the MLR Code and the Non-Agricultural Assessment Rules?
A:-A land holder who has caused a change in the user of his land, whether with permission of the Collector or otherwise, is liable to pay non-agricultural assessment on the land with reference to the altered use during the period when such altered use subsisted. Moreover, the holder is liable to pay conversion tax on account of change of user of land which is equal to three times the non-agricultural assessment leviable on land with reference to the altered use. If the conversion is unauthorised the holder is required to pay such fine as the Collector may impose, subject to the rules made by the Government and further required to restore the land to its original user. Failure on the part of the holder to take requisite steps as directed by the Collector results in imposition of penalty on the delinquent. It must be borne in mind that the grant of non-agricultural permission by itself does not operate as conversion of user. Hence, the N.A. Assessment cannot be charged from the date of permission or from the commencement of next revenue year, but it must be charged from the date of actual user. This being the legal position, sub-section (4) of Section 44 mandates that the person to whom permission for change of user is granted or deemed to have been granted, must communicate such change to the Tahsildar in writing through the village officers, within thirty days from such date when the change of user was instituted. Failure to communicate such change renders the delinquent liable to a fine, not exceeding five hundred rupees. A land holder who has obtained change of user permission from the Collector is duty bound to obey all the terms & conditions embodied in such permission. As a result, the holder cannot put the land to any user other than that permitted under the permission order. The holder who has obtained such permission must commence the non-agricultural use applied for within one year from the date of order made by the Collector and such permission, unless extended by the Collector from time to time, shall be deemed to have lapsed on the expiration of the aforestated period. Where the land in question is situate within the limits of Greater Mumbai (other than island city), Nagpur, Pune, Kolhapur, Solapur or any “A” Class or “B” Class Municipalities or the defined peripheral area of any of them, the holder is liable to pay conversion tax within thirty days from the date of permission for such conversion. The holder of a land which is permitted to be used for non-agricultural purpose, is granted a sanad under sub-section (6) of Section 44 of the MLR Code, 1966.
FAQ No.11:- What is a Sanad of Non-Agricultural Assessment?-What are the contents of such sanad and the legal repercussions thereof?
A:- A Sanad for non-agricultural assessment is an authoritative proof of the conversion of user permitted by the Collector. It is in the nature of a charger which permits the holder to carry out permitted conversion of user, subject to the terms and conditions embodied thereunder. Section 44(6) of the MLR Code mandates that a sanad shall be granted to the holder of a land whose land is permitted to be used for a non-agricultural purpose. It also clarifies that the Collector, either of his own motion or on the application of an aggrieved person can direct correction of any arithmetical or clerical error in the sanad which has arisen from any accidental slip or omission. The MLR (Conversion of Use of Land and Non-Agricultural Assessment) Rules, 1969 regulate the grant of and the contents of a sanad. Rule 7 mandates that a holder shall be granted a sanad in the form given under Schedule IV if the land is situated outside the jurisdiction of the Planning Authority and in the form given under Schedule V if the land is situated within the jurisdiction of the Planning Authority. Though the contents of sanads issued under Schedules IV and V differ slightly, inter-alia they contain the following covenants viz. (a) obligation of the holder to level and clear the land to render it suitable for non-agricultural purpose; (b) obligation of the holder to pay annual assessment levied on the plot by the government without any default, as well as any revised assessment (if any) after expiration of the guaranteed period; (c) obligation to pay conversion tax within thirty days of the grant of N.A. permission; (d) prohibition against use of land for the purpose other than the one permitted; (e) obligation to commence the change of user of a substantial nature within one year from the date of permission;(f) obligation to observe the norms of building regulations vis-à-vis the construction and when there are no building regulations regulating residential user, the holder has to follow the norms set out under Appendix II to the sanad; (g) obligation to pay all taxes, rates and cesses leviable on the land; (h) obligation to pay penalty in the event of contravention of any of the conditions of the sanad and to demolish/remove/alter the contravening structure; (i) obligation to pay the cost of remedial action taken by the Collector as arrears of land revenue. A sanad is granted under Schedule VI to the holder of a land when an unauthorised non-agricultural use is regularised. The contents of the sanad in this case too are almost identical, except for the undertaking which the holder of land executes vis-à-vis the demolition of offending structure without claiming any compensation.
The sanad contains the details which are necessary to correctly identify the land viz. Survey and Hissa Nos., area, dimensions and circumscribing boundaries thereof. A sanad bears the signatures of the Collector, the applicant/holder and the attesting witnesses. It also bears the seal of the Collector as an imprimatur of his authority.
FAQ No.12:- What is the definition of land under the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code, 1966?
A:- Section 2(16) of the MLRC, 1966 defines the term ‘land’ by way of an inclusive definition. Accordingly, the land includes benefits arising out of land, things attached to the earth or things permanently fastened to any thing attached to earth. It also includes share in or charge upon the revenue or rent of the villages or other defined portions of the territory. This makes it clear that the land under the Code not only includes the physical soil and/or sub-soil, but also benefits which arise from the soil. Such benefits would include prescriptive and easementary rights, such as right of way, right to draw water, right to fishery or mining/quarrying rights. Things attached to earth would include within its ambit buildings, structures and artificial works attached to the earth as well as organic things such as trees, plants, weed and grass. Thus tendu leaves, hirda, fruits and grass growing on land would be the benefits arising out of land. The last limb of definition makes it clear that share in or charge upon the revenue or rent of the village or any defined portion thereof too would partake of the character of land.
FAQ No.13:- Who enjoys title to all lands, roads, bridges, ditches and water courses, situated in the State?
A:- Section 20 of the MLRC declares that all public roads, lanes, paths, bridges, dikes and fences, as well as all rivers, streams, nallas, lakes, tanks, canals and watercourses and lands of any description in the state, wherever they may be situated would vest in the state government unless adverse property rights in them are otherwise established by persons capable of holding such property. The same rule also applies to the bed of the sea, creeks and harbours, upto High Water Mark reached by ordinary spring tides during any season of the year. This makes it clear that all lands and water courses in the state are presumed to be the property of the state government, unless otherwise established by adversary claimants. As a natural corollary, Section 20 also makes it competent for the District Collector to dispose of such property, subject to the orders of the Divisional Commissioner and in conformity with the Maharashtra Land Revenue (Disposal of Government Lands) Rules, 1971.
FAQ No.14:- What are the powers of the District Collector vis-à-vis the lands claimed by the State Government?
A:- As stated in the preceding FAQ answer, the District Collector, subject to the orders of the Divisional Commissioner and in conformity with the MLR (Disposal of Government Lands) Rules, 1971 can dispose of the government lands, subject to the subsisting easementary and prescriptive rights of public or any individual, in the nature of right of way etc.
Apart from the right of disposition, the Collector or the authorised survey officer has power to conduct an enquiry when a dispute arises between the Government and a person vis-à-vis the proprietary and other rights in any land or other immovable property claimed by the Government. In such case, the Collector or the Survey Officer, after giving a due notice to the concerned parties can adjudicate upon the claim. The order so passed by the Collector or Survey Officer, is subject to one appeal and revision in accordance with the provisions of MLR Code.
It is pertinent to note that the Collector or Survey Officer can conduct formal enquiry only where the State Government is a party to the dispute. Where two non-government entities contest the right to the property the Collector cannot adjudicate upon the claim. The formal enquiry contemplated by Section 20 of the MLR Code, is treated as judicial proceeding within the meaning of Sections 193, 219 and 228 of I.P.C. and the officer holding such enquiry is deemed to be a civil court. As a natural corollary, the enquiry officer has power to summon witnesses, accept oral or documentary evidence etc.
A party aggrieved by the order of the Collector, disposing of government property or as the case may be, the adjudicatory order upon the claim over any government land or other immovable property has a right to institute any civil suit within a period of one year from the date of original order passed by the Collector or the appellate order passed by the appellate authority. However, a suit brought after the lapse of limitation period is liable to be dismissed, even if limitation is not set up as a ground of defence.
FAQ No.15:- Whether the State Government can extinguish public rights in any public road?- If so, what procedure is required to be followed therefor?
A:- Yes, the Government can extinguish subsisting public rights in any public road, lane or path. The District Collector, being the representative authority of the State Government has the requisite power to make a declaration in the Official Gazette, regarding extinction of public rights in such road. However, such declaration can be made only if the Collector is satisfied that such road or path is no longer required for the use of public. The declaration in the Official Gazette is accompanied by the specific description of the road/thoroughfare for which declaration is made. Mere publication in the Official Gazette is not sufficient. A public notice of such declaration is required to be given at convenient place on such road or in the vicinity thereof, inviting public objection to the proposal. A member of the public or any other person having any adverse right or interest in such road has to state his objection in writing to the Collector within ninety days, setting out the nature of objection, the grounds of objection and the amount of damages/compensation sought from the Government . The Collector in appropriate case can extend the notice period and allow any deserving person to state his objections, if he is satisfied that such person has a sufficient cause for not making his statement within the prescribed period. All these provisions are contained in Section 21 of the MLR Code, 1966.
FAQ No.16:-What principles guide the District Collector in his enquiry under Section 21 of the MLRC, 1966?
A:- When any person makes a statement of objection to the District Collector against the proposed extinction of public rights in any government road the Collector is bound to give him a hearing either in person or by a legal practitioner vis-à-vis the issue of proposed extinction of public rights in the government road. The District Collector must hold this enquiry in a fair manner and can make a further enquiry, if he deems it necessary. After the enquiry, if the Collector concludes that the government road is no longer required for the use of public he can make a declaration to the effect in the Official Gazette and from the date of such declaration the public rights in the government road shall stand extinguished and the land shall be placed at the disposal of the Government so that it can deal with it in the manner warranted by law. It must be borne in the mind that the enquiry is not limited to the question of continuous public necessity, but it can also embody the question of award of compensation to the substantially affected parties. The substantially affected parties are those who suffer substantial loss or damage on account of the proposed extinction of public rights in such government road. The award of compensation is governed by the provisions of Sections 9 to 15 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894. However, no compensation is awarded for the mere loss or diminution of public right accruing from such government road. The decision of the Collector in such enquiry, including his award of compensation to the affected parties, is susceptible to the decision of the Divisional Commissioner in appeal and thereafter such decision shall attain finality. Section 21 of the MLRC, 1966 mandates that the Collector must pay the amount of compensation within six months from the date of the final order. His failure to do so will attract interest @ of 6% p. annum from the date of final order so made.
FAQ No.17:- Can lands of the State Government be disposed of under the MLR Code?- If so, what procedure is required to be followed?
A:- Yes, the State Government lands can be disposed of by following the procedure laid down under the Maharashtra Land Revenue (Disposal of Government lands) Rules, 1971. The MLR (DGL) Rules, 1971 is an exhaustive Code of Rules, which provides for the grant of government land for various public purposes. Normally, no land can be granted free of occupancy price or land revenue without sanction of the State Government. However, the rigours of this rule are mollified for educational, charitable or public purposes, such as construction of schools, colleges, hospitals, dispensaries, public works, playgrounds and gymnasiums under Rules 6, 7 and 8 of the aforesaid Rules. The said Disposal Rules also specify as to which class of land can be disposed of under Section 20 of the MLR Code, the priorities of persons for the grant of government land, the extent of allottable land, disposal of small pieces of land, payment of occupancy price, the terms and conditions of grant and the procedure to be followed therefor, relaxation of rules in special exigencies, grant of cultivable land to persons who are left landless due to government projects, as well as grant of lands situated in riverbeds or salt marshes.
The power of the State Government to grant land is not confined to agricultural purposes. Under Part IV of the aforesaid Disposal Rules, the District Collector, subject to the approval of the Divisional Commissioner has to perform a statutory obligation to draw up a list of Reserved Building Plots which possess value on account of their proximity to Railway Stations, markets etc. and such reserved building plots can be disposed of, subject to the previous sanction and upon the conditions determined by the State Government. Apart from the list of reserved building plots, there are unoccupied lands suitable for building site which can be disposed of by the District Collector by auction or upon fixation of occupancy price. Moreover, the building plots may be granted for the purpose of housing schemes undertaken by any housing board, local authority or a co-operative housing society, upon the payment of occupancy price, on inalienable and impartible tenure, with due regard to the nature of scheme and the income of members of the co-operative society.
Similarly, building plots can be granted for residential purpose to the members of the armed forces, ex-servicemen, freedom fighters, government servants, goldsmiths, backward class persons and landless agricultural labourers, provided they do not own any building, plot or housing unit in their own name or in the name of any member of the family. Under Rule 30 of the MLR (DGL) Rules, 1971, plots can be granted for the settlement of a new village site, where old village site is abandoned for any reason.
Under Rule 31 land can be granted for industrial or commercial purposes by public auction or by public tender in the areas situated outside the jurisdiction of municipal corporations or metropolitan regions. Apart from the general conditions laid down under Rule 41, such grant is subject to the conditions that (i) land in question cannot be sub-divided without the previous permission of the State Government; (ii) the land cannot be disposed of except along with the constructions made thereon and except with the approval of the Government the land cannot be used for a purpose other than the purpose for which it was granted; (iii) on the disposal of land the State Government shall be entitled to such specified share of the unearned income not exceeding 90% as the State Government may determine and (iv) in case of misrepresentation or concealment with regard to the sale price, the sale shall be voidable of the discretion of the State Government.
Under Rule 32 building sites at concessional rates can be granted in favour of co-operative societies, other than co-operative housing societies and co-operative central banks for the construction of office buildings, godowns and factories for processing agricultural procedure. Under Rule 33 land can be granted for the manufacture of salt.
The District Collector has the power to grant land on leasehold terms under Rules 34 and 35 of the said Disposal Rules. Such lease can be made for any non-agricultural purpose for a limited term of not more than five years under Rule 34. On the other hand long term lease for a period not exceeding 99 years can be made under Rule 35. Under Rule 36 land can be granted on leasehold terms in any hill station or other notified localities for the construction of building on conditions regulating style of building, period of construction and observance of municipal or sanitary regulations.
Apart from the major building sites, there are small strips of lands adjacent to the occupied unalienated sites, which cannot reasonably be disposed of as separate sites. Such sites can be granted to the adjacent holder, if he agrees to pay assessment or rent for the small strip at the same rate which he pays for the principal holding as well as such price or premium as may be determined by the Collector.
In view of the secular character of our state, no unoccupied land can be granted for the construction of any religious shrine or place of worship. Moreover, in case of any occupied land no permission for the change of user of land by way of construction of any religious structure can be granted, except with the previous sanction of the State Government.
Under Rule 43, the District Collector, subject to the orders of the State Government, can make grant of lands, in areas outside the city of Mumbai, in favour of the encroachers, on the payment of assessment for the entire period of encroachment, the fine levied under Section 50(2) of the MLR Code, 1966, the occupancy price not exceeding five times the value of land and the penal assessment not exceeding five times the ordinary annual land revenue leviable on the encroached land, as the Collector may determine in this behalf. Apart from the outright grant of encroached land, the Collector has power to grant such land on leasehold basis, subject to payment of lease rent which shall not be less than 15 per cent and not more than 25 per cent of the occupancy price of the encroached land and such fine as may be determined under Section 50(2) of the Code. The lease in question is made for a period of thirty years with retrospective effect from the date of encroachment.
On the grant of land either in occupancy rights or leasehold rights certificate is issued by the Tahsildar in Form XVII appended to the Rules.
As the MLR (DGL) Rules, 1971 are too exhaustive, they cannot be dealt with in a summary manner; hence, they will be dealt with in a separate installment.
FAQ No. 18:- Apart from the mode of disposal stipulated under the MLR (DGL) Rules, 1971, is there any other way of transferring lands under the Revenue Code?
A:- Under Rule 22 of the MLR Code, 1966 unoccupied lands, not being in the lawful occupation of any person, can be set apart for special purposes by way of assignment. These special powers can be exercised by a Survey Officer during the course of survey operations undertaken under the Code, by having due regard to the general orders issued by the State Government. However, the District Collector may exercise the power of assignment even when survey operations are not in progress. The special purposes include:- (i) the forest or fuel reserve; (ii) free pasturage of village cattle; (iii) grass or fodder reserve; (iv) burial or cremation ground; (v) gaothan; (vi) camping ground; (vii) threshing floor; (viii) village market; (ix) skinning ground; (x) roads and lanes; (xi) parks; (xii) drains and (xiii) other public purposes. The term “public purposes” is not defined in the code. Hence, the test that “General interests of the community override the particular interests of individuals” must be adopted to determine as to whether a given purpose is a public purpose or not. If one adopts this broad definition, utilities such as Railways, schools, hospitals and dharmashalas too would be included within the ambit of Section 22 and as such would be amenable to assignment.
Where lands are so assigned for a special purpose, either by a survey officer or the Collector, they cannot be used for any other purpose without the sanction of the Collector. Furthermore, at the time of disposal of land under Section 20 of the Code, the special purpose of assignment shall be given due weightage.
The rights derived by the villages which are beneficiaries of the special assignment under Section 22 are those of a licensee and not of owner. A land which has since ages been used as a public road would be in the nature of special assignment, notwithstanding the fact that such assignment took place long before the Code was enacted.
FAQ No. 19. What is “Gairan” land and what procedure regulates disposal of such land?
A:- “Gairan” land is a free pasturage land which is assigned or endowed for the free grazing of cattle in a village or a group of adjoining villages. Such land may be available for grazing either by a custom practiced since ages or by way of special assignment made by a survey officer or Collector under Section 22 of the Code. However, under Section 23 of the Code the right of grazing on free pasturage lands extends only to the cattle of the village or villages to which such lands belong or for whose benefit they have been set apart. “Cattle”, as defined in Section 3 of the Cattle Trespass Act, 1871 includes elephants, camels, buffaloes, horses, mares, geldings, ponies, colts, fillies, mules, asses, pigs, rams, ewes, sheep, lambs, goats and kids. Moreover, it would include domestic animals in the bovine family such as cows, bulls, steers, oxen etc. The right of free pasturage on “gairan” land is only available for the cattle of the village or villages for which it has been set apart and the villagers from other villages or areas cannot claim the right for their cattle. Similarly, wandering herdsmen or shepherds cannot claim the right of free grazing, while they are within the limits of the concerned village site. The right of pasturage is regulated by the Maharashtra Land Revenue (Disposal of Government Trees, Produce of Trees, Grazing and other Natural Products) Rules, 1969. If a dispute arises, the Collector shall adjudicate upon the grazing right and his decision, subject to one appeal, shall attain finality.
FAQ No.20:- Whether grazing lands are susceptible to disposal by way of lease?
A:- Apart from special assignment of “gairan” or free pasturage lands under Section 22 of the MLR Code, 1966, there is another mode of disposal under Rule 4 of the Maharashtra Land Revenue (Disposal of Government Trees, Produce of Trees, Grazing and other Natural Products) Rules, 1969, which provide for disposal of unoccupied lands belonging to the State Government and specially reserved for grass or grazing, by public auction in leasehold rights or for a periodic tenure not exceeding five years in favour of such persons as the Collector may deem fit. However, this Rule specifically excludes the lands assigned under Section 22 or those included in the Nistar Patrak. This grant is governed by the following conditions viz. (i) the land cannot be brought under cultivation; (ii) that the holder would be entitled to charge such grazing fees as he may determine with the previous sanction of the Collector; (iii) that every cultivator in the concerned village would be entitled to graze his cattle on such land as long as he pays the grazing fees; and (iv) the holder of grazing land would have no right to trees and forest produce standing on such land. However, the right conferred under Rule 4 is not absolute and may be revoked, if the holder fails to pay the lease money on due date or commits breach of any of the conditions attached to the grant or if the majority of grazing people in the village desire such revocation. When the unoccupied grazing land offered for public auction receives no response or the majority of people in the concerned village declare that the land in question is not required for grazing purpose, the Tahsildar shall give a direction under Rule 6 of the aforementioned Rules that henceforth the land be recorded as being available for cultivation.
[Content created and compiled by Adv. Prakash Manohar Chalke-