The Central Provinces Land-revenue Act, 1881

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The legislation is one from the British India period, under the ruling of East India Company in India, and same was provided with the short title and name as ‘the Central Provinces Land-revenue Act, 1881’ (Act no. 18 of 1881). The basic aim and object for which the present legislation was provided is for consolidation and amending the provisions of the Laws dealing with the Land Revenue and the laws enumerating the powers and authorities of the Revenue Officers in the Central Provinces. The Act is from the category of Land Revenue laws and was enacted by the Governor General of India in Council and was assented by him on 8th day of June, 1881. It was brought into operation of force on 4th day of November, 1881 by the Notification of the Chief Commission of Central Provinces, with the approval from the Governor General of India in Council. The provisions of the Act were divided into five parts, twelve chapters and therein one hundred and sixty two and more sections and there was also a schedule annexed to this Act, however that was taken off or repealed by the Amending Act no. 12 of the year 1891. The provisions of this Act were also amended several times by the several Amending Acts, like Act no. 16 of 1889, Act no. 12 of 1891, etc.

The First part of the Act was providing for preliminary provisions, including the short titled and commencement as specified above and also its extension as over the territories which was coming under administration the Chief Commissioner of Central Provinces. The said Chapter was also dealing with provisions to repeal certain enactments and also provisions for certain pending proceedings, however, the concerned provisions were repealed by the Amending Act of 1891.

The second part was dealing with provisions as to appointments of the revenue officers, like Chief Commissioner as Chief controlling revenue authority and subordinate officers to the Chief Commissioner, like Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner, Assistant Commissioner, Tahsildar, Naib- Tahsildar. The revenue officers from a division were to be subordinate to the Commissioner and officers from a district were to be subordinate to the Deputy Commissioner. For any village not under the settlement, any officer for survey was to be invested with the powers by the Chief Commissioner. And all such officers subordinate to the Chief Commissioner were to be appointed by him, and their removal, suspension, etc. were also given with his authority. Further, the subsequent provisions under this part were dealing with the powers, authorities, etc. of such revenue officers.

Part three of the Act was dealing with survey and settlement provisions, where at the first instance the Chief Commissioner was required to publish a notification as to making of survey and all officers- in- charge of survey should thereupon enter in the concerned and erect survey marks. Similarly, for settling the local area also the Chief Commissioner with the prior approval from the Governor General in Council should first publish notification and thereupon should also appoint settlement officer, being subordinate to him. The Act was also extending its provisions to require the Settlement Officers to make list of lands without owner, and demarking of such lands for making that as Government property. Similarly, the Settlement officer was vested with the powers to declare any area as Mahal and in respect of such land in the further provisions there will be assessed separate and definite sums as land- revenue.

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Further, there were provisions as to maintenance of records of rights in relation to the lands so surveyed under this Act. And all matters like granting of pattas, matters relating to tenants, etc. in relation to the mahal areas, the settlement officer was authorised under this Act. And other relevant provisions as to records of rights were provided under the same part being third one. Further, part IV of the Act was providing for revenue administration, where provisions in relation to collection of land- revenue, revenue and village records and also certain additional powers and functions which the revenue officers in this Act were to exercise and perform in relation to the purpose were provided. Besides other relevant provisions, the provisions regarding partition were also made under this Act in the subsequent provisions in the said part.

The fifth part of the Act makes miscellaneous provisions, where at the first instance, the right relating to fishery, mines, minerals, quarries, coal, etc. were sought to be belonging to the Government and there were other provisions as to many other aspects being relevant as to the purpose of this Act.

However, the present Law Commission of India, while studying the ‘Legal Enactments : Simplifications and Streamlining’ made second interim report being Report no. 249 as ‘Obsolete Laws : Warranting Immediate Repeal’, where it has recommended repealing of the present enactment after having consultation with the relevant States, like, State of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, the area of which earlier was falling within the Central Provinces as these all States are now having their own revenue codes and as such present enactment has become redundant.

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