THE DEKKHAN AGRICULTURISTS’ RELIEF ACT, 1879

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The Dekkhan Agriculturists’ Relief Act, 1879 was enacted on October 29, 1879 for the purpose of relieving the farmers who are under debt in some areas of Dekkhan. The Act came into effect on November 1, 1879. The Sections 1, 11, 56, 60 and 61 of the Act shall be applicable to the Indian Territory as a whole. The other provision shall be applicable to the districts of Sholapur, Satara, Ahmednagar as well as Poona. But these provisions may be made relevant to other districts as well by the Government of the State as provided under the present enactment. The Act was annulled in Bombay State from May 27, 1950 according to the Bombay Agricultural Debtor’s Relief Act, 1947. Some changes are also made to the Act by the Adaptation of Laws Order, 1956.

As per the terms of the enactment, all the suits that relate with the specification mentioned under the Act may be filed and trial proceedings can be carried out in the Court that is having jurisdiction of the place of residence of the defendants and not anywhere. The defendant in such case may be single person or may be more than one person. But if there is more than one defendant, the suit may be filed in any Court which is having jurisdiction of the place where any of the defendants live. The provisions from Sections 22 to 25 under the Civil Procedure Code shall not be affected by the terms provided under the present enactment. Moreover, the documents that are executed by the farmers shall be considered as valid only if it is made before the Registrar of Village and not otherwise. The instruments which intends to formulate, alter, transfer, assign, extinguish or evidence with regard to a liability in terms of money or with the charge on any assets or may be conveyance or lease or the instrument which is executed subsequent to the enforcement of this Act by a farmer who resides near to the place where a Village Registrar is assigned shall not be taken as evidence to facilitate a person who has the power or permission to take such evidence or it shall not be done by any person or even public official. Such instruments shall be taken in as evidence only if it is written or under the supervision and control of the Village Registrar and also attested by him.

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The proviso to the Section provides that the above provision shall not be a restriction to take such instrument as evidence in the matters related with criminal proceedings. It shall not be applicable where the farmer has signed the instrument as a surety and also where such instrument is need to be registered according to Section 17 as provided under the Indian Registration Act, 1877. All the instruments which are carried out and registered as per the provisions of the enactment shall be considered to be registered in accordance with the terms of Indian Registration Act, 1877. Such instruments that is deemed to have registered in front of the Village Registrar but actually executed in other manner shall not be registered by any authority working under the 1877 Act. It shall also not to be validated by the public officers. The Act does not mean to necessitate a document that belongs to the Government or other Government officer to be registered as mentioned above.

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In 1947, the present enactment was re-legislated according to Section 56 (1) of the Agricultural Debtor’s Relief Act, 1947 for a term of 3 years. Such term of re-enactment came to an end on May 26, 1950 as there arose some misinterpretation regarding the period of the re-enactment. Hence, suit was filed before the Court on May 27, 1950 and the Court dismissed the suit as they were initiated subsequent to the expiration of that Act. To give legal sanctity to the suits as well as applications and also to dispose such suits Dekkhan Agriculturists Relief (Suits and Applications) Validation Act, 1954 was enacted on May 18, 1954.