THE DELHI LAND HOLDINGS (CEILING) ACT, 1960

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The Delhi Land Holdings (Ceiling) Act, 1960 was enacted on August 26, 1960 for the purpose of levying of ceiling on the holding of land in Delhi Union Territory. The Act is applicable to the entire Delhi Union Territory but excludes some of the areas in the Act from its applicability. The Act states that a person shall not by himself or through his family members shall keep land more than 30 acres in total whether in the form of Bhumidhar or as an Asami or either or both of them. But, if the total number of family members are more than five, then such person shall keep additional five more acres representing each member but such excess land should not be more than 60 acres in total. But where it is a company or organization or group of individuals, the ceiling shall be determined at 30 acres.

All persons who corresponds to a family who at the initiation of the enactment keeps or has in between February 10, 1959 and enforcement of the Act, land which is more than the limit fixed under the Act, shall present a return providing the details regarding the land which is under his control and specify the parcels which is not more than ceiling limit that he is authorized to keep. But where the land is held jointly, other owners should submit the return together specifying the parcels of land. Where any person who is under the responsibility to give return, did not present the return as per the provisions of the Act, the authority shall gather the details with the help of an agency. When the return is received, the authority shall subsequent to hearing other persons, conduct an inquiry in the specified mode. It shall also settle on the area of land which is to be held by the person who stands for the family, the exact parcels of land that is to be maintained by such person, the land which he should keep more than the ceiling limit, the land kept by the Bhumidhar or Asami and the additional land under his control, additional land that is to be reinstated and the extra land that is to be vest with the concerned Government.

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When additional land under the control of the Bhumidhar is possessed by him, such extra land shall be transferred to the Government. If the additional land of the Bhumidhar is possessed by the person who really keeps it as an Asami and the extra land in addition to other land kept by that person exceeds the limit of ceiling, the land more than that of the ceiling limit shall be under the control of the Government. The Chief Commissioner is empowered under the Act to reserve extra land that is under the control of the Government for the assistance of the village people or for the public utility functions. The Chief Commissioner or officer entrusted by such Commissioner may allocate the additional land which is held by the Government as per the provisions of the Act to the person based on some stipulations provided. The amount which is to be paid to the Government shall have the status of arrears of land tax and may be recovered as such.  The aggrieved person shall prefer appeal to the Deputy Commissioner from the order of the authorized authority. Some powers are given to the officers when conducting inquiries under the Act.

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The Chief Commissioner is authorized under the Act to formulate rules to serve the purpose for which legislation is enacted. The Act amended Section 33 of the Delhi Land Reforms Act, 1954. Therefore the Act determined the land to be held by a person and made clarity for the additional land that can be retained by that person. It also provides for the excess land to be transferred to the Government and furnishing of returns by the person who holds land.