In a civilized nation, the law subscribes to a position where the transaction of land and its right is equally and by just nature be distributed among the citizen of the nation. The law of Land Revenue deals with the procedure of title and the rights arising pertaining to the holding of the land and by a transaction within the parties or by the government involving into the distribution of land. The Law of Land Revenue consolidates to the assessment of land revenue, the powers of Revenue Officers, rights and liabilities of the holder of the land, the agriculture tenure and other matters related to the land. This article has been written with the perspective of M.P Land Revenue Code, 1959 (ACT No.20 of 1959). It is to be noted that, in India, every state or union territory has different law pertaining to the structure of Land Revenue because the land is a State List subject under Entry 18 of the Schedule 7 of the Constitution of India.
Object of Land Revenue Code
As the preamble of the acts states that :
‘An Act consolidate and amend the law relating to land revenue, the powers of Revenue Officers, rights and liabilities of holders of land from the State Government, agricultural tenures and other matters relating to land and the liabilities incidental thereto in Madhya Pradesh ‘
Thus, the object of the act can be broken following points
1. Land Revenue.
2. Powers of the Revenue Officers
3. Define Agriculture tenures.
4. Other matters related to land revenue.
The Act, defines the structure to which the land revenue is to be collected, the revenue officers who shall have the power to impose and collect land revenue and also the definition of an agriculture tenure under which the assessment period of revenue is calculated. The object of the act is to consolidate to in an account of a person or Bhoomiswami its rights and liabilities towards its land holdings and the payment of land revenue, the transfer of the land and its land use for the activities with respect to its land holdings.
Land Revenue Model of Madhya Pradesh
The Land revenue code can be modeled into the following points:
-> Revenue Board and Revenue Officers.
- The State Government constitutes for the purpose of this act a Board of Revenue under Section.3 with members appointed by the Government headed by a designated President with two other members in the Board.
- The Board will have its sitting place as per the notification of the government in the official gazette, presently the Board sits in Bhopal. The Boards act as the highest authority and shall have powers and functions under this code or as the state government by notification shall give. The Board acts as Chief Revenue Authority. The Board also acts as revision and review authority in revenue proceedings.
- Next, are the officers know as the Revenue Officers under the act. The Revenue Officer can be classified into three categories that are Collector, Sub-Divisional Officer, Tehsildar, Settlement Officers and Superintendent of Land Records.
The second tier of officers under this code are Revenue Officers which can be divided into the following kinds :
- Commissioners (including Additional Commissioners)
- Settlement Commissioner (including Additional Settlement Commissioner)
- Collectors (including Additional Collectors): Settlement Officers:
- Sub-Divisional Officers:
- Assistant Collectors:
- Joint Collectors (including Deputy Collectors);
- Deputy Settlement Officers:
- Assistant Settlement Officers:
- Tahsildars (including Additional Tahsildars):
- Superintendents of Land Records:
- Naib Tahsildars:
- Assistant Superintendents of Land Records:
- Division of Power and Jurisdiction
The Act creates jurisdictions under which the revenue officers function. The jurisdictions have been divided the state into certain Division and these divisions are further divided into certain Districts which are further divided into Sub-Division and lastly into Tehsil. The state government has the power to make and alter such jurisdiction as it deems fit. The jurisdiction of land for the purpose of this act is governed by different classes of a revenue officer.
All Revenue authorities are subordinate to State Government. Whereas in a division all revenue Officers are subordinate to the Commissioner and similarly in the district, all revenue Officers are subordinate to the Collector.
->Powers of Revenue Officers.
The Revenue Officers or revenue courts have the following kinds of power.
1. Power to make enquires: That under this act, the sub-divisional officer has the power to hold inquiries to their respective jurisdiction to which they are appointed or to delegate this power to the lower officer in conjunction to meet the end with enquires.
2. Power to make a survey: This is the most important power. All revenue Court/Officer with Revenue Inspector or Patwari upon order has the power to enter into a land and have a survey of the land to meet the ends of this Code and shall also give prior for this purpose may make a notice to the occupier for conducting revenue survey. The Officer may enter upon and survey the land and demarcate boundaries and do such acts connected with their duties under this Code.
The Revenue courts have other powers which can be discussed later in this article.
->The Appellate Authorities and their powers of review and revision.
Chapter V of the Act deals with ‘Appeal, Revision, and Review’. The appellate authorities under this act are Sub-Divisional Officer or the Collector and in cases of any officer subordinate to Settlement officer, the Settlement Commissioner will be the appellate authority. The Act gives Collector the power of appeal only in the case where the case has been decided in the first instance by Sub-Divisional Officer. Where any officer subordinate to that of Sub-Divisional Officer the maters in appeal shall be divided by Sub-divisional Officer, like those matters which are decided by Tahsildar. Where in a matter which is either decided by Collector or by Settlement Officer then the appeal shall lay to Commissioner.
In case of a second appeal, the matters which are decided by Sub-Divisional Officer or Collector, the appeal will be before Commissioner who is the head of the division within the prescribed limitation under the code.
Definition of Land and Land Revenue.
The Act describes ‘land’ as an account upon which the holder of the account is known as Bhoomiswami. The Bhoomiwami has all the rights and liabilities of the land and has the sole responsibility on his account upon which the land revenue is paid. The Bhoomiswami also has the right to transfer the land by sale, lease or mortgage. The land account is described as Khasra which are part of consolidated of Khara which form as the Patwari circle in a district. The Act specifically mentions that state has the ownership in all lands which include all such lands, including standing and flowing water, mines, quarries, minerals and forests reserved or not, and all rights in the sub-soil of any land are the property of the State Government. All land for whatever purpose is assigned is liable to pay revenue to the State Government. The term ‘land revenue’ includes all money payable to the State Government for the land. The Act also grants an exemption to the land which is used for the purpose of agriculture. The land revenue payable shall be according to which the land is used for purposes like agriculture, dwelling house, educational purpose, industrial purpose, commercial purpose.
* Diversion definition- s.59(2),(5), assessment and re-assessment after diversion
The Act also describes the Land use into four categories as Abadi (residential), Commercial, Agriculture, Industrial, Government kinds of land.
Functions under Land Revenue Code.
Functions of the land revenue have been divided into an Urban and non-urban area under this code with the following points.
1. To collect Land Revenue. (Also include assessment under this heading). The tenure holder.
The land revenue shall be collected by the state for which purpose the land is in use (s.59) or described as ‘land use’. ‘Land use’ can be classified into Residential, Commercial, Agriculture, Industrial, Government kinds of land. The Revenue officers have the power to assess the land in a situation where the land use has been changed from the purpose which is it was previously used, this is called diversion. A diversion of land happens when, the purpose for which the ‘land use’ is changed, for example from Agriculture to House dwelling. The Application for diversion is made before Sub-Divisional Officer who makes assessment or alteration to the land. After diversion of land, the land shall be fixed for land revenue according to Collector guidelines which determine the value of land revenue.
The Act defines only one class of tenure holder known as Bhoomiswai (S.157). Under this act whoever holds the land according to the provisions of this act is a Bhoomiswami and also those persons who are the government leaseholder, provided that the lease is of more than 10 years are deemed to be Bhoomiswami. The land revenue payable shall be borne the person becoming a Bhoomiswami to the land he holds and shall pay revenue for the land held by him or the revenue for the rent in respect of the land held by him. The Act also places exemption from payment of land revenue which shall be decided by the State Government. The Act also confers rights of transfer to the Bhoomiswami.
2. To conduct a survey of the land or settlement in non-urban land and assessment in urban areas.
In a survey of a land, It determines the type of land and identification through a survey number. The survey of land provides information related to the diversification of land in creation or rearrangement of new survey numbers. The survey number determines the field maps of the land and creation of records of rights by updating the revenue survey numbers. The revenue officer appointed for this purpose is Settlement Commissioner or any other subordinate officer to it for the performance of a survey in relation to non-urban areas.
Whereas, in urban areas, land held by a Bhoomiswami or a Government Lessee or a holder of any service land, the Collector will assess the plot and determine the land revenue or rent applicable to said plot. In urban areas, the land is divided into plots and plots are further clubbed together into block numbers. The fair assessment of the plot number is determined by the purpose the land is used, that is, either for agriculture or non-agriculture purpose and shall be fixed by the applicable laws. The term for assessment shall be fixed for 30 years under the act.
3. To hold and maintain records of the land.
For the maintaining in land records, the villages in a Tehsil are divided into Patwari circles for which the Collector shall appoint one or more Patwari in the circle. The Collector shall also rearrange the Patwari circle in a Tehsil further into Revenue Inspector circle. The duty of Patwari and Revenue Inspector is for preparation and maintenance of land record. For the maintenance of land record, a field map is prepared of a village which ascertains the survey numbers, plot numbers, wastelands and Abadi in the village. Such maps are created by Settlement Officer at revenue survey and by the Collector.
In maintaining land records a Records-of-Rights is prepared and maintained in every village which has the name of all the Bhoomiswami, all occupancy tenants in government lease, the nature of the extent of land use and rent, liabilities payable by the holder.
For any change in Land Records, an application is produced before the Patwari or Tehsildar, for any change in acquisition in rights of land within 6 months from the date of acquisition (S.109). The Patwari shall in such case proceed with the mutation in the acquisition of right in Field Book and other relevant land records, he shall intimate this change in acquisition to Tehsildar within 30 days and the Tehsildar shall call for the objection of such change by paper publication. The Tehsildar after hearing all persons interested in the case shall make necessary entry in the Field Book and other relevant lands records.
5. To define Occupancy tenancy.
Occupancy tenancies are tenants holding lands through tenancy agreement or by any law enforceable by the government but do not include sub-tenant under this act. Rent shall be payable by the tenant for every each agriculture year. The Rent payable shall be maximum rent according to the provisions of the act which shall be payable to the Bhoomiswami. The act confers occupancy tenant the rights of Bhoomiswami as in accordance with the provision of the act.
6. To Consolidation of Holdings.
Consolidation of Holdings means redistribution of land in a village so as to allot to a Bhoomiswami continues to plot for convenience of cultivation. The Consolidation of Holding is performed by the Consolidation Officer who is a revenue officer appointed not below the rank of Tahsildar. The initiation of proceeding of consolidation is by application of two or more Bhoomiswami in a village to the Consolidation Officer. It can also be initiated by the Collector directing to Consolidation Officer. A Scheme for consolidation is submitted by applicant Bhoomiswami or can be made by the Consolidation Officer himself. Where such scheme is applicable and agreed it shall come into operation into redistribution of land among the Bhoomiswami. The Consolidation Officer in effect of the scheme shall demarcate the boundaries of the holding and shall prepare a new field map, record-of-rights. The Rights of the Bhoomiswami shall be determined according to the scheme of consolidation.
Thus land revenue adds another exchequer into the treasury of the government. The Act not only for the purpose for payment of land revenue but also, it treats Land as an account which comes with certain rights and obligation for the purpose the act has been enacted. The Law of the Land revenue deal very significant role after the transfer of immovable property, it in sense recognize the existence of holding of a person by way of leas, ownership or by a mortgage. Thus, land revenue is an important part of the establishment of civil law of the country.