Agricultural Legislation

June 25, 2012
By Krishiworld
  1. Tenancy reforms.
  2. Ceiling on land holdings.
  3. The laws relating to .

Abolition of the intermediaries. The intermediary system included various types of interests between the state and the actual cultivator. It varied from the absolute owner of the land that was the Zamindar in Bengal and other permanently settled areas to the land holder, having a grant of revenue or a portion of it in respect of a plot of land. These intermediary interests took too little interest in the development of agriculture through sustained investment and organized production, with the result that agriculture became stagnant and productivity deteriorated. All the measures taken for the protection of the actual cultivators were ineffective and often went against their interests.

Therefore the main step in the agrarian legislation in the country that followed 1947 was to prepare the ground for the abolition of the intermediary tenures to bring the actual cultivator into direct relationship, with the State. In pursuance of this policy, the state formulated legislative measures for the abolition of such tenures and by 1955, necessary steps were taken in all the states. The implementation of these measures has since been completed practically all over the country.

Tenancy reforms. Whereas only about 40 per cent of the area of the country was under different intermediary tenurial systems, a major part was under the Rayatwari System with no intermediary between the State and the land-holder. The Rayatwari System was prevalent in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. In the Rayatwari, also different layers of intermediary interests began to emerge consequently as the right of ownership was recognized in these areas. The fact that land could be held even if not cultivated by a person and that the land in itself was becoming a valuable economic asset with the increasing economic and political stability, encouraged the land- owners in the Rayatwari areas to lease out their land. Unlimited rights for acquisition and the opportunity to lease out the land resulted in large areas being held on lease by a section of the society. The land owners acted as money-lenders also, leading to cumulative increase in the indebtedness of the tenants who ultimately lost their property in lieu of loans they could not repay. Thus the tenancy relationship that, arose between the landlord and the tenant in the Rayatwari areas was in no way less exploitable than the tenure that prevailed in the Zamindari areas. This sort of situation called for necessary legislation to protect the interests of the weaker sections.

The security of tenure is one of the basic problems that, cover the landlord-tenant relationship. In the Zamindar areas, the erosion of the rights of the actual cultivator was an immediate process following the permanent settlement. The actual cultivators were treated as tenants and more often at will. In the Rayatwari areas the weakness of the tenants was enhanced by their indebtedness to the landlord in most of the cases, with the result that the tenants became too weak and their position became very insecure. To ensure the security of tenure to the tenants, the early steps taken were to give them occupancy status on the condition of completing a given number of years stay on the sameland. This approach resulted in a greater insecurity in the beginning, as the landlords tried to ensure that no tenant could claim such continuity on the same plot of land for the given period. In the Rayatwari areas, the concept of protection to the tenants came rather slowly, with the Malabar Tenancy Act, and the Bombay Tenancy Act (later replaced by the Bombay Tenancy and Agricuitural Lands Act, 1949). However, after Independence, the principles contained in these early legislative measures ,were widely adopted with greater emphasis on the security of tenure. The security of tenure has three essential elements
(i) That the ejectment of a tenant should not take place except in accordance with the provisions of the law ;
(ii) that the land may be resumed by the owner, if at all for personal cultivation only and
(iii) that in the event of resumption, the tenant is to be assured of a minimum tenanted area in his posession.

Under the tenancy reform measures the law provides for conferment of the ownership right on the tenants in respect of the nonresumable areas in Andhra Pradesh (Telangana area), Assam, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Orissa and Tripura. The right of pre-emption is given to the tenants in Andhra Pradesh (Andhra area). In Haryana and Punjab, the tenants of landlords other than small landlords, who have a minimum period of six years continuous possessions of the tenanted land can purchase ownership rights for such, land subject to the ‘permissible limit’. In Rajasthan, the tenant of khudkashi or a sub-tenant in respect of the land other than certain specified categories, can purchase ownership rights for which an application has to be made within a specified period from the commencement of the law. In Uttar Pradesh all Assamis and Adivasis have been admitted to sirdari rights with the right to acquire bhoomidari right on the payment of an amount to the state or to the Gaon Sabha, as the case may be. There are no provisions for enabling the tenants to purchase the land or for conferring ownership on them ,in the States of Bihar and Tamil Nadu.


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