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Land Laws Influenced by State in India

Updated: Aug 22, 2021

There are various laws and acts in India which deal with the acquisition of land by the government such as the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013. Apart, they are some laws that influence the ownership and purchase of land by individuals.

  • Escheat or Bona Vacantia: Escheat or Bona Vacantia means a reversal of the ownership of the property to the State in the cases where there is no legal heir appointed for the property after the death of the owner, no claim has been made by any of the distant heirs, the property has been unclaimed without ownership for a long period of time. Property accruing by escheat or lapse or as bona vacantia is mentioned in Article 296 of the Constitution Of India. Judgment by Supreme Court In the case of Pierce Leslie and Co. Ltd. v. Violet Ouchterlong Waoshare, AIR 1969 SC 843: Property of an intestate dying without leaving lawful heirs and the property of a dissolved Corporation passes to the Government by escheat or as bona vacantia.

  • Assigned Lands: Assigned lands mean land assigned by the Government to the landless poor persons in the state subject to the conditions of the act. Although an assigned land is allocated to the individual, he can't sell, rent, or transfer. Also, ownership of assigned land can't be procured by any other individual as means of purchase, gift, lease, mortgage, exchange. The validity of the ownership will be illegal and void under the purview of the law. An individual who has been found under the ownership of assigned land can be penalized and imprisoned. Telangana Assigned Lands (Prohibition of Transfers) Act, 1977 carries imprisonment which may extend to six months or with fine which may extend to two thousand rupees or with both.

  • Purchasing of Land by Non-Residents: In Himachal Pradesh, Only an agriculturist belonging to the State can purchase agricultural land. People from other states require prior permission of the Government of Himachal Pradesh under 118 of HP Tenancy and Land Reforms Act. Article 371F of the Constitution prohibits the sale and purchase of land or property involving outsiders in Sikkim. Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland also have some restrictions on the purchase of land by non-residents.

  • Purchasing of SC/ST Land: Lands that are allocated or under the ownership of Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribes cannot be purchased or transferred to a Non-SC/ST or General individual without the approval of the District Collector or State Government. Section 42 of the SC, ST Act provides some general restrictions on the sale, gift, and bequest of the interest of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe, in the whole or part of their holding. The aim of the law is to prevent misuse or takeover of land by people from influential people and also to protect the right of the SC/ST Individuals.


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