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Modes of Recovery of Arrear under Assam Land Revenue Regulation, 1886

Updated: Feb 14, 2022


Tea gardens- Terrace farming

Another important provision of the Assam Land Revenue Regulation, 1886 is about the different modes or methods of recovery of arrear.

The revenue which is calculated in the settlement operation must be entered in the Jamabandi or Record-of-Rights, which we also discussed in the Settlement Operation and Resumption of the Regulation. It is the duty of the owner to pay the revenue.

If such land revenue is not paid on the date when it falls due, it will be referred to as an ‘Arrear’ of Revenue as per Section 67(a) of the Regulation, and the person who is liable to pay such arrear is called a ‘Defaulter’ as per Section 67(b) of the Regulation.

Finally, the estate in respect of which the revenue is not paid (due) is called the ‘Defaulting Estate or Land’.

When a Defaulter does not voluntarily pay the arrear on time, coercive measures are resorted to, and a penalty not exceeding Rupee 1 may be levied upon the defaulter under Section 68(1).

Similarly, a notice of demand under Section 68(2) is issued before resorting to coercive measures. The notice of demand is generally issued by-

  • (a) Deputy Commissioner

  • (b) Sub-Divisional Officer

  • (c) Tahsildar, as the case may be under Section 68 of the Regulation

The various modes of recovery of arrears on land revenue are:-

1. Attachment and Sale of Movables under Section 69:

The law of the land- ASSAM

Section 68 lays down that to recover an arrear, so much of a defaulter’s movable property may be attached and sold as a will or as nearly maybe, defray the arrear.

The processing fee and the penalty fee of Rupee 1.00 mentioned in Section 68 of the Regulation are also realized along with the arrear.

Rules framed under the regulation have been given some supplementary directions as to where and how the sale of the movables may be held.

Following movables, cannot be attached and sold for arrear:-

  • Necessary wearing apparel

  • Implements of husbandry

  • Tools of Artisans

  • Materials of houses and other buildings belonging to and occupied by agriculturists

  • Cattle or seed grain

2. Attachment of a Defaulting Estate under Sections 69A & 69B:

A defaulting temporary estate may itself be attached by the Deputy Commissioner with the sanction of the commissioner for recovery of the arrear. He may take it into his own management or let it on the farm.

The settlement holder shall be excluded from possession and the rents and profit from the estate then maybe collected by Deputy Commissioner or person to whom it islet in the farm.

The revenue generated is used to pay the current revenue and in discharging the arrear. If after 5 years, the entire has not been discharged, then the previous sanction of the state government will have to be taken.

Similar action can also be taken for a defaulting estate belonging to a religious institution under Section 69B after consultation with the managing committee of the institution and with the previous sanction of the commissioner.

Other estates under the same religious instruction within the same district may also be attached and the proceeds from such estate shall go into the recovery of arrears, payment of government (revenues) dues and any surplus shall go to the daily worshippers.

Here, after 2 years, if the entire arrear is not discharged, the previous sanction of the state government will have to be taken.

3. Sale of a Defaulting Estate under Sections 70-88:

Sale of Defaulting Estate

If the Government is unable to recover the arrear even after the sale of attachments of the defaulting land, then the government will sell the defaulting land, through auction by Deputy Commissioner, under Section 70.

The sale of defaulting land/estate can be discussed in the following parts:-

(i) Notice of Sale (section 72):

(a) Sale Statement:

Whenever the Deputy Commissioner proceeds to sell any property under Section 70, he/she is to prepare a sale statement specifying-

  • Property to be sold

  • Time and place of sale

  • Revenue assessed on the property

  • Arrear for which it is to be sold

  • Other necessary particulars

(b) Publication of list of estates under Section 72(2) & Rule 135:

A list of all estates for which sale statements have been prepared is also to be published-

  • In the court of the revenue officer who has prepared the list

  • At the office of the sub-deputy collector in charge of the circle concerned

  • At the office of Tehsildar or Mouzadar concerned

  • On the signboard of the Gaonborah concerned

Other inclusions under the notice of sale are-

  • Statement open for inspection

  • Publication of sale statement under Section 72(3)

  • Service of sale statement on the defaulter under Sections 72(4) & 72(5)

(ii) Proclamation to tenants under Section 73:

The Deputy Commissioner may direct the tenants to not pay the defaulter any rent. The Defaulter can collect only up to the date till when the arrear is clear and tenants paying after that will do o under their own risk.

(iii) Actual sale (section 74):

Actual sale can be discussed under the following:-

(a) Date and officer for the conduct of sale:

The auction date should be fixed after 30 days of the publication of the sale statement, and any sale before that is against the provisions under Section 74(2) and can be set aside under Section 81.

The date should be an authorized holiday or Sunday and the sale is to be conducted by Deputy Commissioner and Assistant Settlement officers empowered by Section 70. If any defaulter pays arrear, the day before the sale, the sale will have stayed under Sections 74-75.

(b) Right to Pre-Emption:

A co-sharer in the periodic estate has the right of pre-emption if he himself is not in arrear regarding his own share. The claim can be made on the last day and conditions must be fulfilled.

In such a case, the estate will be sold to the co-sharer at the highest bid offered by the stranger under Section 89.

(c) Auction Purchare’s Liability under Sections 77-78:

The auction purchaser with the highest bid (not a co-sharer) in the sale is required to deposit at least 25% of the amount of his bid and if he fails to do so, the property is again put up to auction there and then.

(iv) Setting aside of sale under Sections 78A-79:

Even after the sale has been concluded by an authorized officer, it can be set aside under the following circumstances:-

(a) If within 60 days, a person deposits with the Deputy Commissioner, a compensatory sum, the arrear of revenue along with the cost of sale, then the sale shall be set aside by Deputy Commissioner under Section 78A.

(b) Similarly, the sale can also be stayed within 60 days, on grounds of any mistake or irregularity under Section 79.

(c) A sale may also be annulled on the grounds of hardships or injustice on any application made to it within a year of sale becoming final under Section 81.

(d) The civil courts may annul the sale, which is final on the ground that it is against provisions of the Regulation and causes substantial injury to the plaintiff under Section 82.

(v) Finality of sale & delivery of possession under Section 85:

The sale becomes final when as per Section 80-

  • (a) On the 60th day, no application to set aside the sale under Section 78A or grounds of irregularity or mistake under Section 79.

  • (b) No revision petition under Section 81.

  • (c) No appeal in civil court to set aside the sale under Section 82.

After the finality of sale, the Deputy Commissioner shall put the auction purchaser in possession of property sold and grant him a sale certificate.

The Deputy Commissioner may indulge/grant in symbolical possession to the purchaser or actual possession, where persons not protected by Section 71 of the Regulation shall be evicted and possession shall be delivered under Rule 144.

(vi) Sale of property other than defaulting estate:

Section 91 provides that if any of the provisions methods fail to realize the arrear of a defaulting estate, then any other property of the defaulter even if it’s not in default may be attached and sold by the Deputy Commissioner.

But the procedure to be followed in such a case will be as per the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (Order XXI).

If such property is situated in another district, on receiving a requisition along with a certificate of the amount of the arrear, may proceed to realize the arrear as if it has occurred in the same district.


The British administration, therefore, through this legislation had also laid the groundwork for the recovery of arrears through different procedures, but also made provisions to not completely deprive any person of all their assets, in case their lands were attached for sale, which goes on to show democratic character in this legisation.

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