Keywords : Land, Proprietor, Tiller

 An Act to provide for the Abolition of Big Landed Estates and their transfer to actual tillers.

    Whereas no lasting improvement in agricultural production and efficiency is possible without the removal of intermediaries between the tiller of the soil and the State ;

    And whereas for the achievement of this objective it is expedient to provide for the abolition of such proprietors as own big landed estates and to transfer the land held by them to the actual tillers.

    Now, therefore, in exercise of the powers vested under section 5 of the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution Act, 1996, read with the Proclamation issued by His Highness and published in the Extraordinary issue of the Government Gazette dated the 7th Har, 2006, Shree Yuvaraj Karansinghji Bahadur is pleased to enact as follows :-

1. Short title, extent and commencement. – (1) This Act may be called the Jammu and Kashmir Big Landed Estates Abolition Act, 2007.

(2) It shall extend to the State of Jammu and Kashmir and shall also apply to the lands owned or held by or on behalf of Maharaja Hari Singh.

(3) It shall come into force from the date it is published in the Government Gazette.

2. Definitions – In this Act, unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context, –

(a) “land” means land which is occupied or has been let for agricultural purposes or for purposes subservient to agriculture, or for pasture, and includes-

(i) the sites of building and other structures on such land ;

(ii) trees standing on such land ;

(iii) areas covered by or fields floating over water ;

(iv) sites of jandars and gharats ; and

(v) forest lands and wooded wastes ;

but does not include the site of any building in town or village, abadi or any land appurtenant to such building or site ;

(b) “proprietor” means a person owning the land, and includes-

(i) an inferior land-owner ;

(ii) a person who is recorded as qabiz in respect of the holding of ghair-hazir or ghair-qabiz in the revenue record ; and

(iii) the successor-in-interest of a proprietor :

provided that in case of land owned by a joint Hindu family only the father with his male lineal descendants in the male line of descent shall, where he is alive on the date this Act comes into force, be deemed to be the person owning the land ;

(c) “prescribed” means prescribed by rules made under this Act ;

(d) “tiller” means a person who tills land with his own hands, and with reference to the land held by a proprietor has, on the date of the commencement of this Act, been in cultivating possession of such land and includes a tenant who, after 1st Baisakh, 2004, has been ejected otherwise than in due course of law or has ceased to cultivate the land owing to reasons beyond his control ; but does not include-

(a) a trespasser ;

(b) a servant who is paid in cash or kind for his services ;

(c) a person who is not the actual beneficiary ; and

(d) a hired labourer ; and

(e) words and expressions not defined in this Act shall have the meaning assigned to them in the Jammu and Kashmir Land Revenue Act, 1996, the Jammu and Kashmir Tenancy Act, 1980, and the Code of Civil Procedure, 1977.

3. Act not to apply to certain lands. – Nothing in this Act shall apply to-

(a) any land which is occupied as the site of a town or village and is not assessed to land revenue ;

(b) any revenue-paying land occupied, used or transferred after the Samvat year 1990 for building purposes situate in an area declared as a municipality or notified area under the provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Municipal Act for the time being in force, or a cantonment under the provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Cantonment Act, 1991, or a town area under the provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Town area Act for the time being in force, or in an area in which a town planning scheme is sanctioned under the Jammu and Kashmir Town Planning Act, 1997, or in such villages in the vicinity of a city or town as are specified by the Government ; and

(c) any land owned by the State or any department of the State or any local body or a Co-operative Society registered under the provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Co-operative Societies Act, 1993, other than land which was owned by a person declared as an enemy agent and has since been forfeited to the Government under the Enemy Agents (Confiscation of Property) Ordinance, 2004.