vLEGISLATIVE COMPETENCE –
Transfer of property other than agricultural land is a subject specified in the concurrent list. The Constitution of India under its seventh schedule, by virtue of entry 6 (Transfer of property other than agricultural land; registration of deeds and documents.) of list III, empowers both states as well as the Parliament to frame laws on this topic.
As far as agricultural land is concerned , the states alone are empowered to legislate on the same by virtue of entry 18 (Land, that is to say, rights in or over land, land tenures including the relation of landlord and tenant, and the collection of rents; transfer and alienation of agricultural land; land improvement and agricultural loans; colonization.) list II of the seventh schedule of the constitution of India, and in cases where there is a conflict , a state law relating to transfer of agricultural land can override a parallel conflicting provision of the Transfer of Property Act,1882.
The state, therefore, has the power to make Special provisions or rules with respect to the transfer of agricultural property which may include registration, or prohibiting persons from alienating such land, including a power to frame rules with respect to reopening of such transfers or alienations.
vACTS PERTAINING TO AGRICULTURAL LAND IN RAJASTHAN AND HIMACHAL PRADESH –
This heading covers mainly three acts pertaining to agricultural land in Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh, they are –
Rajasthan Tenancy act, 1955
Rajasthan Land Revenue Act, 1956.
Himachal Pradesh Tenancy And Land Reform Act, 1972
vPROVISIONS PERTAINING TO AGRICULTURAL LAND IN RAJASTHAN –
This topic is particularly dealing with the transfer of an agricultural land under the local Acts of Rajasthan. Rajasthan Tenancy Act, 1955, which deals with the primary rights given to the tenants of an agricultural land in Rajasthan (mentioned from section 31 to 37). Further the process of transfer of an agricultural land and rules, restrictions (Section 42 of Rajasthan Tenancy Act 1955 and Section 90-A of Rajasthan Land Revenue Act, 1956) attached therein will be discussed. And an analogy has been drawn between the transfer rights pertaining to agricultural land in Rajasthan and the bar on the transfer of agricultural land in Himachal Pradesh, under The Himachal Pradesh Tenancy and Land Reform Act, 1972.
The process of transfer means giving of ownership (transfer of title of ownership) of a land from one person to another. Transfer of title is to be done when the property is transferred from one owner to the new owner. Now if we talk about transfer of an agricultural land, there are different rules and restrictions in all the states of India.
As states have power to legislate upon the transfer of agricultural land, so they follow different procedures for the purchase and sale of the agricultural land. Like in some states, only those persons, who are an agriculturist, can purchase such agricultural land whereas there are no such kinds of restrictions in other states. And also throughout the country, NRIs and PIOs are allowed to purchase agricultural land, plantation property and farm houses; however they can inherit the agricultural lands. So here we have to give emphasis on the process of transfer of an agricultural land and rules, restrictions attached therein, in the state of Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh. So it is must, to be aware of the rules and restrictions which are imposed at the time of purchasing the agricultural land in both the respective states.
“There are no such restrictions in the state of Rajasthan. But in the earlier time, under the section 17 of the Imposition of Ceiling on Agricultural Holdings Act, 1973, there were some ceiling limits on the purchase of an agricultural land from the “Khatedars” in Rajasthan. But this provision of such section was amended in the year 2010. And that amendment has resulted into the relaxation that now people from other states can also purchase agricultural land here.
However, one has to apply for the conversion within a year from acquisition of such land and he has to commence the purported non-agricultural use of that land within the time period of three years from the date of above mentioned conversion.
vPROVISIONS PERTAINING TO AGRICULTURAL LAND IN HIMACHAL PRADESH:
On the other hand, if we talk about the procedure for transfer of an agricultural land in Himachal Pradesh, section 118 of the local act i.e., Himachal Pradesh Tenancy And Land Reform Act, 1972 “transfer of land to non-agriculturist barred”. But this section does not put an absolute bar on the purchase and sale of such property in Himachal. It only restricts the transfer of agricultural land to a person who is not an agriculturist of the state. However, section 118 also provides that, with the permission of government one can purchase such land in the state.
vMOTIVE BEHIND THE PROVISION OF SECTION 118 OF HPTALRA, 1972 :
As there is insufficiency of agricultural lands in Himachal, so this section was incorporated in the act to avoid the accretion of lands in the hands of affluent ones and to prevent the alienation of such lands from the agriculturists. At the time of insertion of this clause, the economy of the state was also totally dependent on the agricultural sector and there were already limited agricultural lands because of the mountainous terrain. So in such situation, transfer of land to non-agriculturist would surely affect the economic condition of both farmers and the state.
vCOMPARATIVE ANALOGY, PERTAINING TO THE TRANSFER OF AGRICULTURAL LAND, BETWEEN RAJASTHAN AND HIMACHAL PRADESH –
According to the comparative study, related to the transfer of agricultural land in both the above-mentioned states, “there are no such restrictions in Rajasthan. But some restrictions were there in the earlier time , and the same were altered by the 2010 amendment. So as a result of that amendment, now people from other states can also purchase agricultural land here.
Besides this, if we see the scenario of Himachal Pradesh in relation to transfer of agricultural land, it is banned by Chapter XI “Control on Transfer of Land” under section 118 of the Himachal Pradesh Tenancy and Land Reform Act, 1972. Section 118 states, “Transfer of land to non – agriculturists barred.”
“Only an agriculturist belonging to the State can purchase agricultural land here. People from other states require prior permission of the Government of Himachal Pradesh u/s 118 of HP Tenancy and Land Reforms Act. The maximum land ceiling limit in is 160 bighas or 32 acres”.
Section 118 equalizes the non-agriculturist Himachalis with the non-agriculturist from outside the state and therefore they also need to follow the same procedure as any other person from outside state is supposed, for purchasing the agricultural land. A non-agriculturist has to seek permission from the state government by stating the purpose for which he wants to purchase such agricultural land.
This blog is authored by Ms. Pankaj Rawal a student at HPNLU, Shimla