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WHAT MAKES SECTION 118 OF HP GOVERNMENT SO CONTROVERSIAL

By Siddharth Singh . 20th August 2019 10:00am
WHAT MAKES SECTION 118 OF HP GOVERNMENT SO CONTROVERSIAL

Weeks after the scrapping of Article 370 and Article 35a of the Indian constitution which provided special status to the state of Kashmir, seems like the government is planning to end similar laws across various states in India. If you are unaware of these special provisions provided by different states then let us tell you it’s even worse than J&K.

Today, we’ll be sharing information about different states and special rights which they give to their residents.

In the last few days, section 118 of the HP government is making the rounds on the internet. After the Jammu and Kashmir verdict of the Indian government, many of the residents residing in and around Himachal Pradesh have started demanding to end section 118 of the Himachal government.

So what is Section 118 of HP government?

Under Section 118 of the HP government, it is said that the land in the hill state completely belongs to the farming community of this state. The provisions under section 118 neither allow an outer investment in the state.

When it was introduced, the economy of this state was completely dependent on crops and the fruit orchards. Since, the state has a limited land area for farming so it was introduced for the welfare of farming community.

Controversies about Section 118

While this section takes complete responsibility of the farmer community, the working class population of this state is still not applicable for purchase of lands even if they are permanent residents of this state. One can take land on a 100 years lease for agriculture.

The residents of this hill state are demanding to abrogate this law so that they could purchase land in the hill state. A similar kind of law in the tribal district of Kinnaur also restricts Himachalis from purchasing land in its sub divisions.

This is not it as there are some other states too with similar laws. Check them out here;

 
Jharkhand
: The Chotanagpur Tenancy (CNT) Act, considered the Magna Carta for tribals, was enacted in 1908 after the Birsa Movement to govern land issues and prevent land alienation. Section 46 restricts transfer of land belonging to Scheduled Tribes/Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes. But they may transfer their land through sale, exchange, gift or will to fellow community members and residents of their own police station area.

West Bengal: As per the West Bengal Land Reforms Act, private ownership of agricultural land in the state is capped at 17.5 acres for irrigated areas and 24.5 acres for rainfed areas. In urban areas, private ownership is capped at 7.5 cottahs or one-eighth of an acre. Only tea gardens, mills, workshops, livestock breeding firms, poultry farms, dairies, and townships are exempted from restrictions of the Land Reforms Act.

North-East and Darjeeling: States under Sixth Schedule of Constitution include Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Mizoram and the areas under the Gorkha Hill Council, Darjeeling in West Bengal. Here restrictions are imposed on outsiders to buy land. Autonomous Councils in each of the states have the sole right to regulate sale-purchase of land.

Sikkim: Article 371(F) grants special provisions to Sikkim, which prohibits sale and purchase of land or property to outsiders. Only Sikkimese residents are permitted to buy land there, and only tribals can buy land and property in the tribal areas. Outsiders can buy land in Sikkim, but only to set up industrial units.

Arunachal Pradesh: Sale of land or property to outsiders and non-tribals is prohibited. Till last year, even the indigenous tribals had no right over land as an individual. Land was owned by communities.

Nagaland: Article 371A prohibits non-residents from buying land. Land can only be bought by tribals who are residents of the state.

Odisha: The Odisha Scheduled Areas Transfer of Immovable Property (by Scheduled Tribes) Regulations, (OSATIP) 1956, was enacted to curb land transfer to non-tribals. The regulation was amended in 1966, 1975, 1997 and 2002 to make it stricter. But later some tribal groups raised demands for permission to sell their land to overcome fund crisis in an emergency situation. The state government is considering some relaxation.

Andhra Pradesh and Telangana: As per the Land Transfer Regulation Act I of 1970, there is no way where tribal land could be alienated to non-tribals.

Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh: There are provisions to restrict and prohibit land transfer from tribals to non-tribals.

Uttarakhand: The state government had enacted an amended version of the Uttar Pradesh Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act in 2003 to stop the exploitation of agricultural land in rural areas. Outsiders could buy only 500 sq metres of agricultural land for residential purposes, reduced to 250 sq metres in 2007.

Gujarat: Agricultural land can’t be purchased by a non-agriculturist. Earlier, only those residing in the state could invest in agricultural land but, in 2012, the Gujarat High Court allowed any agriculturist to purchase such land in the state. But special law applies in the tribal-dominated areas.

Maharashtra: Only an agriculturist can purchase agricultural land and if a person holds such land anywhere else in India, he can still be deemed an agriculturist in Maharashtra. The maximum ceiling limit for such land is 54 acres. Here also restrictions are imposed under Schedule Five. But a recent notification by the Governor ruled that tribal land acquisition for vital government projects doesn’t require the consent of gram sabha in Panchayat Extension of Scheduled Areas (PESA).

Karnataka: Only an agriculturist can purchase agricultural land. A non-agriculturist is a person whose income from any source exceeds Rs 25 lakh per annum (earlier the limit was Rs 2 lakh per annum). Under Section 109 of Karnataka Land Revenue Act, 1964, social or industrial organizations can purchase agricultural land with government approval.