Karnataka Land Reforms Act 1961 commonly referred to by advocate brethrens as a law of tenancy in respect to agricultural lands. Beyond that another important aspect which is forgotten in these days by law enforcers and revenue department is regarding sale and purchase of agricultural lands.
Whenever there is a sale transaction of agricultural land a declaration in sub-registrar office have to be filed by both purchaser and seller as required under section 81A of Karnataka Land Reforms Act. Such declarations were made in falsify way by both sellers and purchasers either hiding their real non-agricultural income or by hiding their real extent of holding.
Section 63 of Karnataka Land Reforms Act prescribes the holding limits from 10 acres of A class land to 54 acres of D class land. Section 79A of Karnataka Land Reforms Act prescribes income limitation to acquire agriculture lands. No person having non agricultural income (either individually or in HUF) exceeding two lakh rupees in average for five years shall purchase agricultural lands. There are many instances of purchase of agricultural lands in individual names of a family exceeding holding limits.
Revenue department of Karnataka is hiding the website address which is showing online data of RTC’s of land holdings throughout the state. Such holdings of lands throughout the state may be viewed online at http://220.127.116.11/Home.aspx. When looked into extent of holdings there we find following types of illegal things approved by the active collusion of revenue department.
100's of acres of agricultural lands were purchased by non-agriculturists the shara in mutation registers lacks certification as to whether 79A and 79B of Karnataka Land Reforms Act has been verified or not.
The agricultural lands were purchased on behalf of some developers or builders in the name of directors.
The mutation shara in almost cases does not disclose as to amount for which such transaction of sale took place.
The sale transactions of small extents were rampant to avoid the income tax clearance and to avoid khatha change difficulties.
Some khathas were made out even after having statistics related to land holdings which violate section 63 of Karnataka Land Reforms Act.
Many associations, trusts, companies, have purchased agricultural lands directly in their names without getting suitable permission from government as provided under section 109 of Karnataka Land Reforms Act.
In many cases Deputy commissioners have violated their capacity to grant permission under section 109 to an extent not exceeding half an hectare. that is 1.25 acres or 50 guntas. The large extent over that has to be notified by government to exempt application of section 63, 79A, 79B or 80 of Karnataka Land Reforms Act.
Many revenue officials are using this restrictions to favour through corruption.
In some cases although affidavit and saral income tax returns copies are collected to test 79A, 79B violations. But revenue department is not verifying those documents by summoning relevant documents from Income Tax department. There are increased creations of forged saral copies. In a disclosed fraud in relation to application for loans with banks wherein more income showing copies are manipulated to get more loans, In this area low income saral copies are manipulated to show non-agricultural income below Rs 2 lakhs.
In order to shield illegal transactions some relevant informations were not entered in RTC's by Revenue departments.
The questions which hunt in my mind is whether Land Reforms Act need amendment or whether Land reforms act needs strict implementations. To get answers for this questions. Lets see what's happening in village side.
Naturally People dream of becoming rich overnight and enjoy the luxuries hereto found in cinemas. There is no such change in human tendency with regard to rural people. They too have ambitions to have materialistic life. That's why many people were found near single number lottery stalls before its ban.
Many rural people expecting crores together money for their agriculture lands, when once it was neglected by them as non-yielding and only consuming utility, they have left hopes on lands, but now a day farmer’s Bangalore agriculturist relatives are getting crores together money and their life styles are changing from cycle to scorpio. Many farmers in anticipation of changing their life styles also selling their lands, and many middle men investing on lands are utilising this selling phobia to their advantage.
If this type of investment criteria is left without a check to it what happens to production of food. Even if some land acquisition proposals are made people leave cultivating in their lands. If such mass scale desertion of agricultural activity moves unchecked, whether concrete jungles grow food for human consumption.
What happens to idle minds of farmers after they desert their primary occupation? One can see in villages/towns every house is having real estate agent. Every one is doing this broker business. To what extent it will flourish. Idle minds of farmers may be a cause of worry to the future police administration.
When present land reforms laws are there in existence people are violating it with all corrupt attitude. There is no respect towards laws of the legislature by the executive machinery. First of all non agricultural income of legislatures including their perks and others exceed two lakh rupees per year and the Legislatures themselves are not entitled to purchase agricultural lands. There are many instances of purchase of agricultural lands by legislatures. The law framing authority themselves violated their framed laws. Taking this loophole executive machinery as law enforcers are becoming corrupt.
Many Bar and Restaurants are having good business in and around Devanahalli, because every house hold got crores together money and some are spending on evil habits. What's happening to our peace loving farmer he was thrown to streets as drunkard, gambler, gangster, etc.
Litigant minded farmer who has sold land when it was in lakhs now in the greed of crores putting up litigations by finding one or other loopholes in the transactions. Many old cases of revenue records stray entries were digged up to create litigations and expecting money in turn for settlement.
Recent Hon’ble Karnataka High Court Judgment regarding women's Rights to property have brought in many ideas to dispute digging farmers. No limits to greed, no limits to materialistic needs are the chief causes for such peace less situations.
Many acquisition gossips are going on in many villages. Many realtors spread such gossip through revenue officials and purchase lands from farmers. Due to low returns from government acquisition proceedings farmers are selling to realtors. This type of land Mafia is working throughout state.
Litigation settling mafia is working in almost all places. Both litigants are pressurized to sell at cheap rates and settle their claims. Farmers in anticipation of quick money settle their genuine case with illegal litigant. Many litigations were unnecessarily created by financing through realtors and subsequent settlements take place with pressure from land mafia elements.
There is a need for social survey before there is any change in Karnataka Land Reforms Act. The below stated facts need to be surveyed to preserve our backbone of the country.
1. Whether people who sold lands are happy?
2. What type of avocation they have selected?
3. What are their problems even after they have money?
4. Whether they are happy with lands or with money?
5. How are they contributing to the development of economy?
6. How do they spend and save money?
7. How do their family relations changed when money got in?
8. Whether Joint family satisfaction is there without lands?
9. How many farmers children's are at cross roads?
10. What type of disputes arose after sale of agricultural lands?
11. How does the lifestyle changed?
12. Whether capable of maintaining such lifestyles in long run?
13. What is their sensational attachment to lands?
14. Whether there is any depression in the minds of farmers?
15. Whether they feel to migrate from their nearby village?
16. Whether they are spending on wise investments?
17. How many have spent money over re-acquiring lands in other places?
18. How many have created their bread earning routes for survival?
19. What is the educational development of children after sale of lands?
Few needed reforms under the present land laws.
1. Land records related to a land should be computerized to verify online the old records also related to a survey number.
2. The pending cases related to land records in revenue courts needs speedy disposal.
3. It is a sorry state of affairs that land tribunals are still having cases related to tenancies.
4. Retired Judicial officers should be appointed to dispose off the disputes pending in revenue courts.
5. The revenue record that is RTC’s should have entries related to land grants, land alienation orders, pending disputes both civil and revenue, RTC’s provided as surety in criminal cases needs to be entered to avoid misuse of farmers in criminal cases, the relevant columns of number of trees and other information needs to be updated.
6. It shall be mandatory duty of the Assistant commissioner’s that they should take action against uncultivated land holders under section 84 of Karnataka Land Reforms Act.
7. All the Government lands should be listed with specific words in RTC’s in order to avoid encroachments of Government lands.
8. Some NAK lands that is non-agricultural kharab’s having no entry of private persons names in RTC’s are siphoned off by private persons, As per section 67 of Karnataka Land Revenue Act those lands which does not belong to any individual shall be government land. When NAK lands have no entry of private persons names in RTC’s then it certainly belongs to Government.
9. Some tahsildar’s argue that NAK lands are alienated lands but revenue department circulars speaks other wise there is clear cut directions in circulars that all alienated lands should be entered in RTC’s with owners name to whom alienation order was given, with extent of alienation and purpose of alienation with order number and date. This is a mandatory duty of tahsildars as quoted in repeated circulars. But tahsildars are reluctant to take action against government land encroachers and almost of them are not ready to prepare list of government lands.
10. We have seen and witnessed allegations and counter allegations of government land encroachments from A.T. Ramaswamy report, when looked into actual reality thousands of acres of government lands were looted by private individuals by having created stray entries in RTC records. And some unchallenged orders were obtained from revenue courts with collusion of revenue authorities. Today we find scarcity of lands for burial of human body in Bangalore, At least government lands in each district to be preserved for construction of decent burial places without tombs so that our future generations may not be worried to dispose off our dead bodies.
11. The income limit for acquisition of lands needs proper documentation and verification. Revenue department should take written reply and documentary proof from IT department for verification of non-agricultural income.
12. Government should detect such violations of section 79A and 79B sue motto or pass a law to have voluntary disclosure with penalty so that there will be mass scale collection of funds which can be utilized for the welfare of farmers.
Government should pass strict law to enforce cultivation of agricultural lands by the holders of land, or to surrender land to landless labourers on fixed returns assuring landlords also of equal protection of their ownership.
13. Government should pass strict law not to convert fertile lands to non-agricultural purposes. There should be a survey of demarcation of fertile agricultural lands. The irrigation facility provided lands needs to be preserved from conversions to non agricultural purposes. Although there are repeated circulars from revenue department banning acquisition of fertile lands and preference of large holders rather than small holders in the matter of acquisition, little efforts were made to implement such circulars by the acquiring authorities.
14. The developmental activities like SEZ and others should be implemented in the area having “Banjaru Bhoomi”. Panchayath department is spending crores together money to make “Banjaru Bhoomi” a fertile land on the other side revenue department is acquiring fertile lands for industrial and other developmental purposes. When barren lands are identifiable by the sister department for spending grants and other developmental funds why the department of revenue not identifying barren lands before going in for acquisition of lands.
15. There should be some relaxation in respect to extent of holdings for genuine agricultural reasons. Each such holdings should account for its investment and returns so that speculative investments are best avoided.
16. There should be complete ban of alienations by a person who purchases land only for layout development. Such investors should be streamlined with previous permissions of government. Government should spell out its targeted layouts in targeted lands by bifurcating lands with class already under Karnataka Land Reforms Act.
17. There should be strict laws to preserve public tanks and rain water flowing Hallahs, the under ground water depletion is affecting water table and also causing warming of earth forecasting serious troubles. In the name of development no public tanks be destroyed, arrangements have to be made to preserve water in tanks and to preserve encroachments of rain water flowing raja galuve’s.
18. The Co-operative farming provisions under chapter VII of Karnataka Land Reforms Act needs to be encouraged by the government through various measures to give stiff competition to world economy.
To combat all the above discussed aspects of farming population’s present problems, our countries Land reforms agenda to preserve social Justice have to be strengthened by adoption of following aspects in all the state acts which is under grave threat of repealment due to globalisation. Our Advocate community in all states should insist upon preserving land reforms acts with several modifications suiting present needs.
1. The ceiling limit on land holding should be strengthened which is not followed in strict sense, many politicians and black money operators are investing on land by holding lands crossing ceiling limits. The action against those should be initiated.
2. The Co-operative farming mode shall be encouraged rather than allowing big extent of lands at the hands of few rich people.
3. Fertile agricultural lands should be strictly prohibited from alienating to non-agricultural use.
4. Fertile agricultural lands should not be acquired by state, for non-agricultural use.
5. State before acquiring private lands should check out whether any government waste lands are available for the purpose.
6. Not only tenants should be protected under land reforms but small and marginal farmers should be protected from constant threat of acquisition. Since in the name of threat of acquisition land mafia is increasing every where.
7. Land provided by Government for non-agricultural purpose to any parties should be used for such purpose within five years, failure on the part of allottees, should be taken serious action.
8. Surplus Land distribution should be made with greater transparency and publication. No political mis-use of such distribution shall be made.
9. List of farming community with photos and their land holdings should be published in a website, to check black money investments and allowing transparency in land affairs.
10. List of waste land and un-cultivated lands shall be published in website to allow any developmental activity over such lands.
11. Land Mafia and Land Hoardings should be seriously dealt with by having suitable “Land Reforms Judicial Magistrate” to entertain complaints on those matters.
12. Common property such as forests, grazing lands, water, fisheries, Tank, Pond, etc is to be held and managed through a community resource management system. By formulating a separate rules and regulations for it.
13. It would be important to widen the scope of land reforms beyond the mere activity of redistribution of land or revision of ceiling limit. In order to be effective, land reforms must be seen as part of a wider agenda of systemic restructuring that undertakes simultaneous reforms in the sectors of energy and water. These deeper structural reforms shall ensure that the exercise at redistribution of land actually becomes meaningful by enabling the small farmer to turn his plot into a productive asset.
CONCLUSION: It is time for all netha's and babu's of law department to think about the proper planning in utilization of agricultural lands. Development shall take place, not at the destruction of agricultural economy. Development shall take place, not only in construction of buildings and roads but also in construction of positive minds of people at large. Development without positive minded citizenship is a great curse to our future generations. People from agriculturist family may be left as Idle minds, certainly there will be lot of devil’s workshops that will ruin our future generations. Government should frame proper laws to preserve back bone of our country that is farmer and his lands.