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Panchami land in tamil nadu.

(Querist) 27 September 2023 This query is : Resolved 
My Father unknowingly purchased panchami land before 20 years from a relative whose family was holding it for 3 generations. Now when I tried to transfer the patta to my name, it says DC land and anytime Govt can takeover it. Is there any solution for this issue?
kavksatyanarayana (Expert) 27 September 2023
It can neither be sold nor re-classified.
P. Venu (Expert) 28 September 2023
In this context it would be profitable to study the following extract from the decision of the Madras High Court in P. Dandapani v. The Principal Secretary ..............(

"8(a).The Courts have settled the legal principles in this regard as follows:

(1).In the High Court of Madras, in the case of VGP Prem Nagar Minvariya Kudi Erupor Nala Sangam Vs. The State of Tamil Nadu in W.P.No.17467 of 1996, and the relevant paragraphs are extracted hereunder:

2. In all these cases, admittedly, the survey numbers referred to by them were all pertaining to the lands allotted to the members of the Scheduled Caste community in that area, in terms of the Revenue Board Standing Order No.15, which are all conditional assignments. The condition being that the same cannot be alienated by any other person and in case of any alienation for reasons other than mentioned in the conditions of allotment, the Government has power to resume such lands.

3. These lands were otherwise known as 'Panchami lands' or 'Depressed Classes lands' (i.e. DC lands). It is claimed by the petitioners that there was no bar for such allotment and they have purchased the land from various persons, who inherited from the original assignees. After forming a society and after getting the opinion of a local Government Pleader, the lands were purchased. Layouts were made for constructing houses to their members and different petitioners. If at this stage, the lands are taken over possession, they will be put to grave hardship.

7. Before considering the submission made by the learned counsel for the petitioners, it is necessary to refer to the history of allotment of Panchami land to the Dalits by the Government. Such allotments came to be made by the colonial Government after coming to know the plight of the members of the Scheduled Castes in this State. The atrocities against the dalits which are of common occurrence throughout India are well described in the Abstracts of Proceedings of the Board of Revenue of the Government of Madras dated 05th November 1882, No.723. The following is an extract from the said proceedings as found in paragraphs 134 to 136:-

''134. There are forms of oppression only hitherto hinted at which must be at least cursorily mentioned. To punish disobedience of Pariahs, their masters-

(a)Bring false cases in the village court or in the criminal courts.

(b)Obtain, on application, from Government, waste lands lying all round the paracheri, so as to impound the Pariahs' cattle or obstruct the way to their temple.

(c)Have mirasi names fraudulently entered in the Government account against the paracheri.

(d)Pull down the huts and destroy the growth in the back-yards.

(e)Deny occupancy right in immemorial sub-tenancies.

(f)Forcibly cut the Pariah's crops, and on being resisted charge them with theft and rioting.

(g)Under misrepresentations, get them to execute documents by which they are afterwards ruined.

(h)Cut off the flow of water from their fields.

(i)Without legal notice, have the property of sub-tenants attached for the landlords' arrears of revenue.

135. It will be said there are civil and criminal courts for the redress of any of these injuries. There are the courts indeed; but India does not breed village Hampdens. One must have courage to go to the courts; money to employ legal knowledge, and meet legal expenses; and means to live during the case and the appeals. Further most cases depend upon the decision of the first court; and these courts are presided over by officials who are sometimes corrupt and who generally, for other reasons, sympathize with the wealthy and landed classes to which they belong.

136. The influence of these classes with the official world can hardly be exaggerated. It is extreme with natives and great even with Europeans. Every office, from the highest to the lowest, is stocked with their representatives, and there is no proposal affecting their interests but they can bring a score of influence to bear upon it in its course from inception to execution".

8. After referring to the proceedings of the Board of Revenue, Dr.B.R.Ambedkar, an Architect of the Indian Constitution, emphasized the need for a special care of such persons and he stated as follows:-

''The helpless, hapless and sapless condition of the Depressed Classes must be entirely attributed to the dogged and determined opposition of the whole mass of the orthodox population which will not allow the Depressed Classes to have equality of status or equality of treatment. It is not enough to say of their economic condition that they are poverty-sticken or that they are a class of landless labourers, although both these statements are statements of fact. It has to be noted that the poverty of the Depressed Classes is due largely to the social prejudices in consequence of which many an occupation for earning a living is closed to them. This is a fact which differentiates the position of the Depressed Classes from that of the ordinary caste labourer and is often a source of trouble between the two. It has also to be borne Depressed Classes are very various and the capacity of the Depressed Classes to protect themselves is extremely limited."

(Ref. :Dr.Babasaheb Ambedkar : Writings and Speeches Vol. No.II : Page Nos.552 and 553)

9. J.H.A.Tremen Heere, the then Collector of Chengalpattu District during the British period submitted a memorandum to the British government about the plight of the depressed classes in Chengalpattu District and the need for distribution of land for them in 1891. The British Government conceded his demand and enacted a law in British Parliament to distribute land for cultivation purpose to the Untouchables in India to improve their socio-economic status. The government order numbers 1010 and 1010A dated September 30, 1892 specified that land would be assigned to the Depressed Classes by the government under this Act, agricultural land was distributed to the Depressed Classes from 1892. While distributing the land to the Depressed Classes, the British government made certain conditions and hence they are known as conditional assignments. These conditions were: 1. These lands cannot be sold or mortgaged to any one for ten years, 2. These lands may be sold or mortgaged after 10 years to the Depressed Classes only, 3. Any breach of these conditions will be liable to be cancelled.

13. In State of U.P. v. Zahoor Ahmad, reported in (1973) 2 SCC 547, the Supreme Court held in para 16 thus:-

''16. Section 3 of the Government Grants Act declares the unfettered discretion of the Government to impose such conditions and limitations as it thinks fit, no matter what the general law of the land be. The meaning of Sections 2 and 3 of the Government Grants Act is that the scope of that Act is not limited to affecting the provisions of the Transfer of Property Act only. The Government has unfettered discretion to impose any conditions, limitations, or restrictions in its grants, and the rights, privileges and obligations of the grantee would be regulated according to the terms of the grant, notwithstanding any provisions of any statutory or common law.

23. After hearing the arguments of the learned counsel for the petitioners one is only reminded of the wise Indian Chief of Seattle who replied to the great White Chief in Washington when he offered to buy their land. The following passage found in para 2 quoted by the Supreme Court in Sachidanand Pandey v. State of W.B., reported in (1987) 2 SCC 295 may be reproduced below :-

''2. A hundred and thirty-two years ago, in 1854, #the wise Indian Chief of Seattle# replied to the offer of #the great White Chief in Washington# to buy their land. The reply is profound. It is beautiful. It is timeless. It contains the wisdom of the ages. It is the first ever and the most understanding statement on environment. It is worth quoting. To abridge it or to quote extracts from it is to destroy its beauty. You cannot scratch a painting and not diminish its beauty. We will quote the whole of it: (Reproduced verbatim from Pariyavaran Vol.1 No.1 June 1984).

''How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us.

If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them?

Every part of the earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every clearing and humming insect is holy in memory and experience of my people. The sap which courses through the trees carries the memories of the red man.

The white man#s dead forget the country of their birth when they go to walk among the stars. Our dead never forget this beautiful earth, for it is the mother of the red man. We are part of the earth and it is part of us. The perfumed flowers are our sisters; the horse, the great eagle, these are our brothers. The rocky crests, the juices in the meadows, the body heat of the pony, and man # all belong to the same family.... ... ..."

24. In the light of the above, all the writ petitions will stand dismissed. However, there will be no order as to costs.

(2)In the High Court of Madras, in the case of VGP Prem Nagar Minvariya Kudi Erupor Nala Sangam Vs. The State of Tamil Nadu in W.P.No.1446 to 1448 of 2008, and the relevant paragraphs are extracted hereunder:

4. Today, statistics reveal that vast extents of the lands so distributed are now with the persons who do not belong to the depressed classes. Therefore, the conditions appear to have been violated without any restraint or check. The Special Form-D applies to order for assignment of lands to Scheduled Castes and Condition No.9 reads as follows :-

"If the land is alienated to any person within a period of ten years from the date of the grant by way of sale, gift, mortgage or lease of any kind, or after that period, to any person who is not a member of the Scheduled Caste..., the grant will be liable to be resumed by the Government who will be entitled to re-enter and take possession of the land without payment of any compensation or refund of the purchase money."

Several Government Orders have been passed, as for instance, G.O. Ms. No.2217, Revenue dated 1.10.1941; G.O. Ms. No.3092, Revenue dated 12.12.1946, etc. which affirm the same conditions.

5. A Division Bench of this Court, in K. Palaniappan @ K.Subramaniam Vs. The Government of Tamil Nadu and others, 1992 (2) M.L.J. 561, referring to Section 3 of the Government Grants Act and the decision in Uttar Pradesh State vs. V. Sagur Ahamed, A.I.R. 1973 S.C. 2520, rejected the contentions raised by the subsequent purchaser who came into possession of the 'panchami land' and turned down the plea raised by them. In paragraph 6 of the judgment, the Division Bench observed as follows:-

"6. Coming now to the second contention raised by the learned counsel for the appellant, suffice it to say that the classification is both rational and has a clear nexus with the object sought to be achieved, that is to prevent alienation by exploitation of the Harijans by persons, other than Harijans.


In view of the settlement of law by the Supreme Court which has again been reiterated in Lingappa Pochanna vs. State of Maharashtra, A.I.R. 1985 S.C. 389, the second ground of attack viz., the unconstitutionality of the restrictions contained in Clause (9) of Special Form D, Board Standing Orders 15, paragraph 9 must also fail and holding that Clause (9) is constitutionally valid, we reject the argument raised to the contrary by Mr. Doraiswamy."

The Division Bench also referred to a decision in Sri Manche Gowda vs. State of Karnataka, A.I.R. 1984 S.C. 1151, wherein it is held that it is not possible to accept that the conditions contained in Form-D are illegal or invalid and dismissed the writ petition. Therefore, with regard to the same subject matter, the Division Bench has held as above and hence, the submission that in the present case, no provision in pari materia as in the Karnataka Act is existing is immaterial since the lands were assigned to persons belonging to the depressed classes subject to the above conditions.

7. In Papaiah Vs. State of Karnataka and others, (1996) 10 S.C.C. 533, the Supreme Court again dealt with the question of right to economic justice and with reference to Article 46, which casts upon the State a duty to provide economic justice to Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes and other weaker sections of the society in order to prevent their exploitation, observed in paragraph 8 as follows:-

"8. It is seen that Article 46 of the Constitution, in terms of its Preamble, enjoins upon the State to provide economic justice to the Scheduled Castes,Scheduled tribes and other weaker sections of the society and to prevent their exploitation. Under Article 39(b) of the Constitution, the State is enjoined to distribute its largess, land, to subserve the public good. The right to economic justice to the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other weaker sections is a fundamental right to secure equality of status, opportunity and liberty. Economic justice is a facet of liberty without which equality of status and dignity of person are teasing illusions. In rural India, land provides economic status to the owner. The State therefore, is under constitutional obligation to ensure to them opportunity giving its largess to the poor to augment their economic position. Assignment of land having been made in furtherance thereof, any alienation, in its contravention, would be not only in violation of the constitutional policy but also opposed to public policy under Section 23 of the Contract Act, 1872. Thereby, any alienation made in violation thereof is void and the purchaser does not get any valid right, title or interest thereunder."

8. In R. Chandevarappa Vs. State of Karnataka, (1995) 6 S.C.C. 309, while considering the alienation which was in violation of the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes Prohibition of Transfer of Certain Lands Act, 1978, the Supreme Court held as follows:

"The Prohibition from alienation is to effectuate, the constitutional policy of economic empowerment under Articles 14,21,38,39 and 46 read with the Preamble of the Constitution. Accordingly it was held that refusal to permit alienation is to effectuate the constitutional policy. The alienation was declared to be void under Section 23 of the Contract Act being violative of the constitutional scheme of economic empowerment to accord equality of status, dignity of persons and economic empowerment."

9.This Court is of an opinion that the entire transactions made by the writ petitioner in respect of the assigned land by the Government is a fraudulent transaction and made in violation of the conditions imposed in the assignment. Thus, the writ petitioner is not entitled for any relief. Such transactions are to be treated as illegal transactions and authorities competent are bound to evict all those persons, who are are in illegal occupations and those occupations are to be treated as encroachments.

10.In view of the fact that there is a growing attitude of encroachment of Government lands and public lands by certain Real Estate Mafia. It is imminent for the competent authorities to be vigil in respect of protecting the Government lands and other public lands. In view of the fact that large number of encroachments are made by these land grabbers, the State is duty bound to protect the public lands and utilize the same for the welfare of the public at large. Such land grabbers and Real Estate Mafia must be dealt with iron hand and there cannot be any leniency or misplaced sympathy in respect of prosecuting them or to evict them from the encroached lands.

11.Considering the facts and circumstances of the present case, the following orders are passed:

(i) In respect of the encroachments made in the Government lands, the respondents are directed to initiate immediate action against all the encroachers under the provisions of the Tamil Nadu Land Encroachment Act, 1905, by issuing show cause notice and by following the procedures contemplated under the provisions of the said Act and thereafter, evict all such encroachers without any delay and within a period of four weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this order.

(ii) The District Collector, Thiruvannamalai, is directed to conduct review meetings with all the revenue officials concerned and identify all the encroachments in his jurisdiction and issue suitable orders to evict all such encroachers in the interest of public, and by following the procedures contemplated under the Tamil Nadu Land Encroachment Act, 1905. Such review meetings and orders to be passed by the District Collector, Thiruvannamalai, within a period of four weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this order.

(iii) The District Collector, Thiruvannamalai, is directed to oversee the implementation of the provisions of the Tamil Nadu Land Encroachment Act, 1905 by all the officials concerned and if there is any negligence or dereliction on duty, then the District Collector shall initiate appropriate disciplinary proceedings against all the officials concerned under the provisions of the Tamil Nadu Civil Services(Discipline and Appeal)Rules, and criminal prosecutions, if warrants under the facts and circumstances.

(iv) The writ petitioner has not established even a semblance of right, so as to consider the relief sought for. Thus, the writ petition in respect of the writ petitioner stands rejected.

12.Thus, the writ petition stands disposed of. However, there shall be no order as to costs. Consequently, connected miscellaneous petitions are also closed."
T. Kalaiselvan, Advocate (Expert) 29 September 2023
Permission for selling the panchami lands should have been obtained from District collector by the vendor before selling the property.Even now they can seek permission to ratify the sale.

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