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Aim of farmland statutes is to protect disadvantaged categories: SC

The Supreme Court said the basic intent behind land grants to actual cultivators and tillers was to preserve agricultural land and to protect their way of life.

The Supreme Court said the basic intent behind land grants to actual cultivators and tillers was to preserve agricultural land and to protect their way of life.   | Photo Credit: V. Raju

The Supreme Court has said the legislative intent of tenancy and agricultural land statutes is to protect the disadvantaged categories and to “ensure the direct relationship of a tiller with the land.”

A three-judge Bench led by Justice U.U. Lalit was interpreting certain provisions of the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act of 1948 which debars an agriculturist from parting with his agricultural land to a non-agriculturist through a ‘Will’.

The law serves as an antidote against “absentee landlordism”. It protects gullible persons from disadvantaged categories from “gifting” cultivable land to non-agriculturists to be used for other purposes.

“Various States have enacted legislation seeking to invalidate transfers of agricultural lands made by tribals or socially disadvantaged persons to non-tribals or transferees from non-backward communities which legislation having gone to the extent of nullifying transactions entered into even before the legislation had come into effect,” the court observed.

It said the basic intent behind land grants to actual cultivators and tillers was to preserve agricultural land and to protect their way of life.

Priority list

“The priority list includes persons such as agricultural labourers and landless persons. The scheme is to effectuate distribution of agricultural lands in such a way that the persons who are disadvantaged, would be conferred the ownership. After such a purchase, the law obliges the purchaser to cultivate the land personally and not to transfer it,” the court said in a recent judgment spanning over 110 pages.

The court described agriculture as “a means of livelihood succour for social justice and base for dignity of person.”

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Printable version | Aug 8, 2020 9:49:55 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/aim-of-farmland-statutes-is-to-protect-disadvantaged-categories-sc/article31940872.ece

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