How to Find your An­ces­tral Prop­er­ties in In­dia

Accommodation Times - - Editiorial - By Dr San­jay Chaturvedi LLB, PhD

Most of the peo­ple who re­side in ur­ban ar­eas have been up­dated from their fa­ther or grand­fa­ther about the ex­is­tence of their an­ces­tral land.

By tra­di­tional def­i­ni­tion the an­ces­tral prop­er­ties are those which are ob­tained from fa­ther or pa­ter­nal grand­fa­ther or pa­ter­nal great-grand­fa­ther or share ob­tained on par­ti­tion or self-ac­quired prop­er­ties or sep­a­rate prop­er­ties of an in­di­vid­ual (like those in­her­ited from a ma­ter­nal grand­fa­ther) thrown into the joint fam­ily prop­er­ties. In 1986 the Supreme Court held in an ap­peal that prop­erty ob­tained by a son un­der the Hindu Suc­ces­sion Act, 1956, would con­sti­tute his own sep­a­rate prop­erty and not an­ces­tral prop­erty. The Supreme Court thus re­moved a large cat­e­gory of prop­er­ties that for­merly were re­garded as an­ces­tral prop­er­ties from con­tention.

Search of An­ces­tral Prop­er­ties:

Most of the peo­ple who re­side in ur­ban ar­eas have been up­dated from their fa­ther or grand­fa­ther about the ex­is­tence of their an­ces­tral land. A very com­mon story is:

“My fa­ther was an Inam­dar - Vatan­dar- Rev­enue Of­fi­cer ( elite of his time) We once owned a land in a vil­lage. Our land was very fer­tile but un­for­tu­nately it was ac­quired by the Govern­ment for con­struc­tion of dam and fac­tory and our other land went into the hands of ten­ants ((Marathi-Kul) af­ter the in­tro­duc­tion of ten­ancy act. Only thing that was left with us was a bar­ren land.

Af­ter this in­ci­dent I left the vil­lage and set­tled in this city. On my fa­ther’s death, what so ever land was left, it was grabbed by lo­cal peo­ple and the rest of it was sold (il­le­gally) by our rel­a­tives.

I was al­ways will­ing to go to our vil­lage but I could not do so.”

Most of­ten you are en­thused to see your vil­lage but you do not do so. One fine day you de­cide to pur­chase an agri­cul­tural land for de­vel­op­ing out sta­tion prop­erty and be­fore in­vest­ing any money you try to ac­cu­mu­late max­i­mum in­for­ma­tion pos­si­ble about land trans­ac­tion from the var­i­ous sources avail­able to you. And one such source is land rev­enue de­part­ment.

Of­ten the rev­enue of­fi­cer tells you that ,”No sale, gifts, ex­change or lease of any land shall be valid in favour of per­son who is not an agri­cul­tur­ist un­der Sec­tion 63 of Bom­bay Ten­ancy and Agri­cul­tural Lands Act, 1948"

And af­ter see­ing your frowned face, he sym­pa­thet­i­cally adds “Just check if there is any an­ces­tral land at your na­tive place”

He shows you a way of trans­fer­ring the land in your name and this ges­ture gives birth to a lot of ques­tions in your mind but then you de­cide to never dis­close them be­fore this un­known of­fi­cer.

In any case, if you do ask him about it, he is most likely to re­spond you by say­ing ”Next time bring sat-bara (Vil­lage Form VII-XII) of your na­tive place, I will help you out.”

You are quite aware that if there is any land in your na­tive place, it is in the na­ture of ei­ther a bar­ren or a fer­tile land and quite ob­vi­ously there is no one out there cul­ti­vat­ing it.

Does that mean it is an agri­cul­tural land? And if an­swer is “yes”, but if no fam­ily mem­ber is cul­ti­vat­ing it so how can I be farmer?

All lands are ba­si­cally agri­cul­tural land un­less the Govern­ment clas­si­fies it as a non agri­cul­tural land. So your grass land or rocky bar­ren land is an agri­cul­tural land. Agri­cul­tur­ist means a per­son who cul­ti­vates the land per­son­ally and agri­cul­ture in­cludes the rais­ing of grass. Ac­cord­ingly the per­son who holds the land is agri­cul­tur­ist. Land is trans­fer­able her­i­ta­ble im­mov­able prop­erty and so fam­ily mem­ber of an agri­cul­tur­ist is also an agri­cul­tur­ist. You are also farmer even if you are not show­ing phys­i­cal pres­ence on your grand­fa­ther’s land.

One of the ob­jec­tives of land rev­enue ad­min­is­tra­tion is to re­cover the rev­enue, thus it is ob­vi­ous that fail­ure to pay ar­rears of land rev­enue makes the hold­ing li­able to for­fei­ture. On for­fei­ture the oc­cu­pancy ceases to be prop­erty of the oc­cu­pant un­der sec­tion 72 of MLR Code 1966. The for­feited land shall not change hands by way of in­her­i­tance. You know that none of your fam­ily mem­ber has paid any taxes for 40-50 years to the Govern­ment. So ques­tion be­fore you is whether the land is for­feited by Govern­ment? It is duty of Ta­lathi to re­cover land rev­enue from you. In case if Ta­lathi could not re­cover rev­enue from you he has to fol­low a lengthy pro­ce­dure to for­feit the land. In­stead of go­ing for lengthy pro­ce­dure he is pay­ing land rev­enue on your be­half from his own pocket or col­lect­ing it from the per­son who holds in­ter­est in your land.

Now ques­tion be­fore you is, How to search land?

An­ces­tral land might have spread in num­ber of vil­lages. You have to try to col­lect names of the all vil­lages. If the land records of your vil­lage are avail- able since 1920, you have to search land record from that date. So you should find names of your an­ces­tral dur­ing that time. You should find out names of your grand­fa­ther and your fore­fa­thers and if pos­si­ble names of their broth­ers and sis­ters. Things will be easy for you, if you could pro­cure old land records from your old gen­er­a­tion. Af­ter gath­er­ing the above in­for­ma­tion you have to fol­low the steps as men­tioned be­low. Step 1 This is very easy step. Just log on to http:// ma­hab­hulekh/ click “Query” - Se­lect - District -Taluka – Vil­lage. Now find names of your an­ces­tral. If you could find them, you are very lucky. If their names are not on this web­site do not get up­set be­cause this web­site need not nec­es­sar­ily pro­vide you the his­tory of your land. Step 2 Visit the Ta­hasil­dar of­fice. Ap­ply for com­puter record of Vil­lage form 8-A. If they pro­vide you your an­ces­tral vil­lage form 8-A, you should be in a po­si­tion to find out to­tal hold­ing of your an­ces­tral. If you do not get de­tails from the Ta­hasil­dar of-

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