Govt. nod not must to sell land granted to SCs/STs if its use is diverted: HC

In a judgement with far reaching consequences, the High Court of Karnataka has declared that no prior permission of the State government was required under Section 4(2) of the Karnataka SCs and STs (Prohibition of Transfer of Certain Lands) Act, 1978, for transfer of ‘granted lands’ if such lands were diverted under Section 95 of the Karnataka Land Revenue (KLR) Act, 1964.

It also declared that lands granted to persons belonging to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes lose the character of ‘granted land under the provisions of 1978 Act when diversion for non-agriculture purposes is permitted under the provisions of the KLR, 1964.

A Full Bench comprising Justices Alok Aradhe, Sachin Shankar Magadum and M. Nagaprasanna delivered the verdict while answering the reference made by a single judge bench on the issue related to status of such lands.

Interpreting the provisions of the 1978 Act and the KLR Act, 1964, the Bench said that “...in case of diverted lands, the requirement of obtaining prior permission under Section 4(2) of the 1978 Act does not arise as the permission has to be obtained only in respect of ‘granted land’ and the land on conversion no longer remains ‘granted land’.”

However, the Bench said, “when such persons [belonging to SC and ST granted with lands] seek conversion of the aforesaid land under Section 95(2) of the KLR Act, 1964, it presupposes that the land granted is an agricultural land and the person belonging to SC and ST intends to use it for non-agricultural purpose.”

“...the intention of the legislature is to grant protection to an allottee in respect of ‘granted land’. Once such permission for conversion is land is granted under Section 95(2) of the KLR Act, 1964, by the Deputy Commissioner, the aforesaid land loses its nature as ‘granted land’ and therefore, the protection available under Section 4(2) of the 1978 Act no longer available,” the Bench clarified.

The issue had cropped up as the legal heirs of one Kondappa of Bengaluru north taluk, who hailed from the SC community and was granted 5 acres 3 guntas of land in 1927-28, sought cancellation of sale of the ‘granted land’ in 1996 claiming that land was sold sans prior permission of the government in violation of the provisions of the 1978 Act. However, the purchaser had claimed that grantees had sold the land after obtaining conversion under Section 95 of the KLR Act, 1964, and hence prior permission was not required.

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Printable version | Sep 29, 2021 2:36:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/govt-nod-not-must-to-sell-land-granted-to-scssts-if-its-use-is-diverted-hc/article35518207.ece

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