Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Wednesday said mutation of shamlat deh (common land) in the name of panchayats is aimed at stopping the illegal transfer of the land.
"We are only seeking mutation of such lands in favour of the gram panchayats," said Khattar, while asserting that the mutation would not change the title. To curb the illegal transfer of such land is the sole objective of the Haryana government, said Khattar in his reply in the state assembly after concerns raised by some MLAs.
In April, the Supreme Court had held that in respect to the land taken from the proprietors from their permissible ceiling limits under a Punjab law, only the management and control would vest with the panchayat and not the title.
Shamlat deh is village land reserved and used for common purpose. Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh Hooda demanded that the state government should file a review petition in the apex court.
Hooda pointed out that deputy commissioners have been given instructions regarding restoration of such lands, which was likely to create tension in villages. Hooda said the state government should stop the execution of sale deeds of such chunks of land rather than executing mutations in the panchayats' favour.
Khattar said the state government has stopped sale/purchase transactions of such land. The top court had in April said that the management and control include leasing of land and use of the land by non-proprietors, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes which is for the benefit of the village community.
A Supreme Court bench had passed the verdict on a batch of appeals against the full bench verdict of Punjab and Haryana High Court which examined the legality of sub-section 6 of Section 2(g) of the Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Act, 1961.
The bench had, however, clarified that vesting under Section 4 of the Act would be limited to management and control of the land with panchayat.
For the land taken from the proprietors by applying pro-rata cut from the permissible ceiling limits of the proprietors, management, and control alone vests with the panchayat but such vesting of management and control is irreversible and the land would not revert to the proprietors for redistribution as the common purposes for which land has been carved out not only include the present requirements but the future requirements as well, the bench had said in its verdict.
It said that such land would not be available for sale so as to confer the title on the purchaser in view of the fact that the panchayat is not the full owner of the land but while exercising control and management, it is duty-bound to safeguard the land for the benefit of the village community.
The panchayat will not have title over the land but as part of management and control, the panchayat is at liberty to put the land for use for common purposes.
Such common purposes as defined under Section 2(bb) of the 1948 Act are interchangeable and also can be used for any other common purpose. It is to be noted that common purposes are ever-evolving; they are not fixed in time, it had said.
(With PTI inputs)