Assam (Temporary Settled Areas) Act, 1971- Important Provisions- Part 2

The second part of the Assam (Temporary Settled Areas) Act, 1971 shall deal with the Acquisition of Ownership & Intermediary rights, Grounds & Procedure of Ejectment of Tenants along with the Protection given to the Tenants from wrongful or illegal eviction by the landlords.

In the previous part, we have already covered the Importance & Reasons for passing the Act, and the different Types of Tenants recognized under the Act along with their rights and obligation.


ACQUISITION OF INTERMEDIARY & OWNERSHIP RIGHTS:


1. FIRST METHOD:


(a) Acquisition of Ownership Rights on Government initiative for Tenants:


The State Government may by notification declare that the rights of any landlord in any land held and personally cultivated by an occupancy tenant shall stand transferred to the said tenant and vest in him free from all encumbrances created by the landlord.


Such declaration may only be made in case of land under personal cultivation of the occupancy tenant, the non-occupancy tenant being excluded from this benefit under Section 22(1).


(b) Acquisition of Intermediary and Ownership rights on Government initiative for under tenant:


But the acquisition of ownership rights by occupancy tenants alone will not lead to the abolition of landlordism. Non Occupancy tenants will after 3 years become occupancy tenants and then he will also be entitled to the acquisition of ownership rights.


So, unless those under-tenants, who are continuing since before the commencement of the act, are also enabled to acquire the rights of the intermediary tenants who are landlords, landlordism will continue at the tenant’s level.


Hence, the act also provides for the acquisition of intermediary tenants by the under-tenants. This is called Acquisition of Intermediary Rights.

The same under tenant may further acquire the rights of the owner landlord (proprietor, landholder or settlement holder) under whom the intermediary tenant had held and thus becomes full owner.

The Act, therefore, provides for acquisition of, both Intermediary Rights of ‘tenant landlord’ and ownership rights of ‘owner landlord’.


(c) Quantum of Compensation:


An amount equal to 50 times the full revenue rate shall be payable for all the rights in the land so acquired under Section 24. This amount will wholly go to the owner landlord if there is no under tenant and rights of the land is vested in the occupancy tenant.


(d) Procedure of Determining Compensation:

Before such determination, the Deputy Commissioner shall give notice to the landlord and other persons having an interest in the land acquired and fix a copy of the notice in his office. After that, the Deputy Commissioner shall make an enquiry, hear objections and decide the compensation, with apportions if necessary stated under Section 26(1).


(e) Procedure of Payment of Compensation:


The Compensation decided will be paid initially by the state government because it was at the instance of the state government that the land is acquired.

The state government will place certain funds to the Deputy Commissioner and out of it, the Deputy Commissioner shall pay the specified amount to the person entitled, within 3 months of the date of his determination under Section 26 (2) (a).


If there is any dispute, as to the person entitled to receive it, the Deputy Commissioner will keep the funds in the district court and refer the parties to the civil court and make payments as per their decision stated under Section 26 (5).

But as the occupancy tenant or the under-tenant is the actual beneficiary, the total compensation will be ultimately realized from them in 5 equal annual instalments, the first of which, will be at the end of 3 months from the date of its determination under Section 26 (3).


If any instalment is not paid within, 30 days of it becoming due, the Deputy Commissioner will recover it as an arrear of land revenue.


(f) Issue of Ownership Certificate:

But to get the ownership certificate, he is not required to wait till the completion of payment of all the instalments, for as soon as the occupancy tenants or under tenants pay the first instalment, the Deputy Commissioner will have to issue an ownership certificate to him and also correct the revenue records by deleting the landlord’s name stated under Section 26(4) (a).


ACQUISITION OF OWNERSHIP & INTERMEDIARY RIGHT ON THE INITIATIVE OF TENANT & UNDER TENANT:


Here, the initiative will have to come from the tenant or the undertenant. Any occupancy tenant personally cultivating the land of his tenancy, desirous of acquiring the ‘Ownership Rights’ of his landlord (.i.e. proprietor, landholder or settlement holder), may apply to the Deputy Commissioner in writing under Section 23(1).


Similarly, any under tenant cultivating the land of his under tenancy, desirous of acquiring the ‘intermediary rights’ of his ‘tenant landlord’ (occupancy or non-occupancy tenant, under whom he holds land) and the ownership rights of the owner landholder (proprietor, landholder/lord or settlement holder), may (also apply to the Deputy Commissioner) under Section 23(ii).


(a) Procedure for determining compensation:


The Deputy Commissioner will then give notice to the landlord and other persons having an interest in the land, and also fix a copy of such notice in a conspicuous part of his office. He shall then make an enquiry, hear any obligations, determine the amount of compensation and make apportionment if necessary under Section 26 (1).