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The Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms Act, 1960

The Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms Act, 1960 (MLR & LR Act, 1960) came into force on 13th September, 1960. The act aims to consolidate, amend and also provide measure of land reforms to the laws relating to land revenue in the State of Manipur. Before the enactment Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms Act 1960, the Assam Land & Revenue Regulation Act, 1886 applied to Manipur by a State Durbar Resolution. Certain parts of the Act are amended after the Manipur Act No. 13 of 1976 published in Assam Gazette dated 24-5-1976

Act aims at bringing consistency in land distribution throughout the State except for hill areas of the state as per section 2. Act shall apply to hill areas subsequent to notification. According to Section 2 sub clause (j) of the Act, hill areas means such areas in the hill tracts of State of Manipur as the State Government by notification in official Gazette declared to be hill areas. The State Government has power to create, abolish and alter districts. For the purpose of administration the districts shall be further divided into sub districts.

The State government shall for the purpose of proper administration appoint revenue officers under various classes i.e revenue commissioner, deputy commissioner, additional commissioner, director of settlement and land records, sub-divisional officers, extra-assistant commissioner, survey and settlement officers, assistant survey and settlement officers, settlement supervisor, sub-deputy collector, revenue inspectors, supervisor kanungos, jilladars, mandals, and such other officers as deemed necessary and appointed under provisions of the act. However this hierarchy of officials was reconstituted under Manipur Act No. 13 of 1976 where after the Deputy Commissioner became the highest official Deputy Commissioner followed by Additional Deputy Commissioner. New posts of Sub-Deputy Collectors,  Revenue Inspectors, Amins were created and the posts of settlement supervisor, sub-deputy collector, revenue inspectors, supervisor kanungos, jilladars, mandals were invalidated. All the appointments so made shall be notified in official gazette.

Under the Act charge of district shall be with deputy commissioner, charge of a sub division shall lie with sub divisional officer and tehsil shall be headed by sub deputy collector. All revenue officers are placed subordinate to Revenue Commissioner while the other officials in the district shall be subordinate to deputy commissioner as per section 5, 6 of the Act.

All land except for private land shall be owned by the government as per the provisions of the Act. Incase of dispute over the ownership of a land the matter shall be decided by deputy commissioner under section 10 sub clause 3. In case a person is aggrieved by the order so passed he shall appeal before civil court within six months from date of such order. Incase a person occupying a government owned land such person shall be termed as trespasser and be liable to pay penalty.

The owner of land shall pay land revenue to the government except in cases where State Government has provided for an exemption. Revenue officer shall issue receipt in lieu of land revenue paid by the owner. Land revenue shall be assessed in accordance with the purpose for which the land is used. Incase the owner of a land wants to use land for a purpose different from the original use he shall apply for permission to competent authority under section 20 of the Act. Incase of partition the land owner shall apply in writing to deputy Commissioner, claim partition. The deputy commissioner shall publish notice of title and serve notices to all shareholders and thereafter decide the matter.

The State Government whenever deems necessary shall order revenue survey and preparation of revenue records to be carried out in the state and such records shall be updated time to time. It shall be the duty of the survey officer to prepare a record of rights for each village showing the area of each survey number and other particular and any other record or register such register shall be open to objection. Incase of dispute arising under the act the civil courts shall have jurisdiction.

Section 59 of the Act provides that land revenue shall first be charged upon land followed by crops, profit and rent. Where a person does not pay arrears he shall become defaulter. The act also gives rights to landowners with respect to land given by the government. The act provides for equal distribution of land among the family members and incase a person owns excess of land such land shall ultimately be transferred to government or the government shall charge extra revenue over such piece of land.

The Manipur Land Revenue and Land reforms act is a symbolic at in terms that it aims at a uniform law applicable on all land holders. Inorder to uniformly apply the act it gives authority to state government to make laws in coherence with provisions of the Act.

by Vibhuti Nakta