Updated: Jul 6, 2021
The Protection of Backward classes especially in tribal belts, important provision enumerated in the Assam Land Revenue Regulation, 1886, for securing the rights of the people residing in the Tribal belt, in the State of Assam.
Chapter X of the Regulation was brought in and added to the Regulation by the Assam Land and Revenue Regulation (Amendment) Act, 1947. This chapter is intended for the protection of the interests of certain backward classes inhabiting an area constituted into a belt or block.
All rights inland, including the restrictions in the transfer and possession of land, within the belt so constituted, are governed by the provisions of this chapter and the Rules made thereunder.
1. Classes of people entitled to protection (Section 160-161):
The provisions of Chapter X are intended for the protection of the interests of certain classes of people who are lacking in education, and socially and economically backward, and whose welfare depends upon their having sufficient lands for their maintenance.
The classes of people who are entitled to the protective measures are to be notified by the State Government in the Official Gazette; and accordingly, the following classes of people have been notified as persons entitled to the protection:
(1) Plains tribals,
(2) Hills tribals,
(3) Tea-garden tribals,
(5) Scheduled Castes, and
(6) Nepali cultivator-graziers (since excluded).
2. Protective measures under Chapter X:
The protective measures provided in Chapter X include the following:
(a) constituting compact areas into belts or blocks, the areas predominantly inhabited by the backward classes notified by the Government;
(b) laying down guiding principles for the settlement of wastelands by lease for ordinary cultivation;
(c) defining the rights that may be acquired inland within the bel modifying the existing rights, and providing for termination or forfeiture of such rights; and also restricting transfers of land by sale, mortgage, lease, agreement, exchange or otherwise, and limiting the right to acquire or possess lands within the belt; and
(d) providing for ejectment of persons in unauthorized occupation of land within the tribal belt.
(A) Constitution of Tribal belt or blocks (Section 161-161):
For the protective measures under Chapter X, the State Government may constitute the areas, predominantly peopled by the notified classes of persons, into belts or blocks. The belts or blocks are so constituted that these may be easily distinguishable, and generally constituted to coincide with the Mauza boundaries.
The belts or blocks thus created are commonly called Tribal belts or blocks.
After the creation of the belt or block the provisions of Chapter X are made applicable in the areas constituting the belt by notification in the Official Gazette.
On such application the special provisions of Chapter X will govern all matters relating to rights in land, settlement of wasteland by lease for ordinary cultivation, ejectment of persons in unauthorized occupation and such other allied matters; and where it is not possible, the Deputy Commissioner will be guided by the spirit of the general provisions of the other Chapters of the Regulation.
The provisions of Chapter X will not, however, apply to the following lands:
(i) land settled for special cultivation or purposes ancillary to special
cultivation (including grants made for tea cultivation); and
(ii) Lakhraj, Nisf-Khiraj or special estates settled with non-cultivators for their maintenance.
The State Government may also by notification declare withdrawal of the provisions of Chapter X from any area or areas to which they were applied.
(B) Disposal of wastelands under Section 163:
Lands at the disposal of the Government within the tribal belts are to be settled with the following classes of persons only, considering their bona fide needs:
(i) persons who are permanently residing in the area on the date of the notification by which the provisions of Chapter X are made applicable in the area;
(ii) persons who are settlement-holders within the area, and though temporarily residing in the area on the date of the notification enforcing the provisions of Chapter X, are likely to become permanent residents therein;
(iii) persons of the notified classes residing elsewhere in the district; and
(iv) persons residing in the neighbourhood of the belt, in case large areas are a