Tamil Nadu

No ryotwari patta for private estates under Janmam Act: panel

Report deals severe blow to claim that lands are for farm purposes

The Central Empowered Committee in its report to the Supreme Court has clearly said that many of the estate holders (in Gudalur, the Nilgiris), being companies incorporated under the Companies Act, can by no stretch of imagination be beneficiaries for grant of ryotwari patta under the Janmam Act, 1969.

In its report, the CEC, dealing with the applicability of Section 17 of the Act in respect of all the plantation leases in Gudalur, has dealt a severe blow to the private estates, which claim that the (janmam) lands in their possession are non-plantation, non-forest, farm land.

Plantation lands

Dealing with it in detail, the CEC said that under the Janmam Act, there was no provision for grant of patta in respect of plantations under Section 17. At the same time, under the Land Ceiling Act, 1972, the plantation lands are kept outside the ceiling limit. “If the tea, coffee estates are not plantations as claimed by these lease holders and the entire property being agricultural land, the holding is subject to ceiling under the Land Ceiling Act, 1972,” the CEC pointed out.

On the one hand, the estate holders have been claiming to be engaged in non-plantation agricultural activities while, on the other hand, they have been enjoying the provision of exemption of plantation from the ceiling limit of the TN Ceiling Act, 1972. “Both can’t go together,” the CEC said, in its latest report to the apex court, a copy of which is available with The Hindu. “If the claim of the estate holders are to be admitted for issue of ryotwari patta on the ground of accepting their holdings of plantation lands as agricultural lands not covered under Section 17 of the Janmam Act, then the Land Ceiling Act of 1972 will come into play whereby the admissibility of ryotwari patta can at best be for 15 standard acres only,” the CEC pointed out.

Already, 17,014.43 acres have been declared as forest land out of the 52,000.71 acres of estate lands situated within erstwhile leaseholds of various estates. Also, the constitutional validity of the Janmam Act, 1969, has been upheld by the Supreme Court solely on the ground that it was to introduce ryotwari settlement under the objective of agrarian reforms.

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Printable version | Apr 1, 2020 2:53:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/no-ryotwari-patta-for-private-estates-under-janmam-act-panel/article25795869.ece

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