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CHAPTER VIII VILLAGE HEADMEN, INAMDARS AND ZAILDARS

305.Value of unofficial agency. In the last two chapters the strong body of government servants, of which the deputy commissioner is the head, has been described. It is a powerful piece of administrative machinery, but, as links between the higher officers and the communities for whose welfare they are responsible, its inferior members have the defects which belong to purely official agency. They have therefore been supplemented by representatives of the landowners in the shape of village headmen inamdars and zaildars.

Commentary

Where lambardar fails to perform his duties, the recovery can be effected from his or his estate.

306.Convenience of dealing with village communities. It is obviously convenient for the state to deal with bodies like village communities through headmen. The internal affairs of such communities used to be and in some places still in a measure are, managed by informal councils or panchyats. But these have fallen into decay, and in any case their constitution was too loose for them to serve as intermediates between the rules and the land owners. The sikh govt. like own, found it useful to have such intermediaries. The chaudhris and mukaddims through whom it dealtwith the people corresponded roughly with our zaildars and lambardars.

307.Duties of headmen. The headmen of a village act on behalf of the landowners, tenants and other residents in their relations with the state. They are bound to attend when summoned by officers of govt., and to aid them in the execution of their public duties. Their important functions as regards the prevention and detection and detection of crime do not fall within the scope of this work. Their chief duties are set forth in some detail in a vernacular memorandum which is given to each headmen on his appointment. Those connected with land administration may be summarized as follows:-

A duties government-

1.     to collect and pay into the treasury the land revenue and all sums recoverable as land revenue.

2.     To report to the tahsildar-

(a)   the deaths of assignees and pensioners ,and their absence for over a year

(b)  encroachments on, or injury to, government property.

3.     to aid-

(a)   in carrying out harvest inspections, surveys, the record of mutations and other revenue business;

(b)  in providing, on payment, supplies or means of transport for troops and officers of government.

4.     to render all possible assistance to the village postman, while passing the night in the village, in safeguarding the cash and other valuables that he carries.

B. Duties to landowners and tenants of estate-

1.     to acknowledge every payment received from them in their parcha books.

2.     To collect and manage the common village fund, and account to the shareholders for all receipts and expenditure

The duties of headmen as regards the collections of revenue (a 1 and b 1 on page 128 and above) are dealt with in chapter xv. Those which fall under heads a 2(a) and (b) and A 3(a) call no remark. The financial commissioner’s standing order no. 58 deals with transport and supplies for troops. As regards the village malba (B), the 93rd and 94th paragraph of the settlement manual may be consulted.

Commentary

Lambardar under rule 20 of the Punjab land revenue is duty bound to recover land revenue and other sums which are due to the state, if money due to paid to the lambardar the liability of the person concerned stands discharged. On failure of the lambardar to deposit the amount or account for it, the lambardar is the person liable to the state and not the person for whom it was originally due. Government if recovers money from person originally liable to pay despite having his paid the amount to the lambardar, such  person is entitled to decree against lambardar as also the state.

308.Remuneration of headmen. The manner in which headmen are remunerated for their service has already been noticed. The pachotra or surcharge of 5 percent on the land revenue to which they are entitled is calculated not on the demand, but on the amount collected. A suspension or remission of the land revenue therefore involves the suspension or remission pachotra, it may be doubted whether this rule is always carried out, but in case of dispute, it must be enforced. Headmen usually receive an allowance of 3 percent on account of collections of canal occupier’s rate.

309.Appointment and dismissal in districts under settlement.  When a district is under settlement, headmen are appointed by the settlement officer. When the question of dismissing a headman arises, the settlement officer deals with the matter if the malfeasance was connected with work  under his control, otherwise the deputy commissioner is the final authority. The officer with whom the actual decision rests should consult his colleague before passing orders.

310.Headman must be landowner of village. The headman or headmen must be chosen from among the landowners of the village. In the case of govt. estates , or estates in which govt. owns  considerable share, he may be one of the govt. tenants.

311.Too many headmen often appointed at  1st regular settlement. The existing lambardar arrangements in most villages were made when they were first brought under a regular settlement. It was often found that a considerable number of the owners had in fact received a share of the pachotra, and that there were many claimants for the office of headman. The original arrangements can be recast and the number of headmen reduced with the sanction of the financial commissioner. When a readjustment of the pachotra is advisable for any reason, the collector can take action under land revenue rule 21(iv)

312.Matters to be considered in making new appointment. In making new appointments, as distinguished from the filling up a vacancies in existing posts, the chief matters to consider are---

(a)         the constitution of the community to be represented.

(b)        The family claims of the candidates.

(c)         The extent of their landed property and their freedom from debt.’

(d)        Their character ability and personal influence.

(e)         Any services render to the state by themselves or the families to which they belong

The first point is important in deciding how many headmen are required. The number should be as small as possible, having regard to the claim of each principal branch of the community to have its own representative.

313.New appointment of headmen. New appointment are now a days exceptional, save in the case of estates carved out of the govt. waste. Where such an estate is leased to a single lessee, he become ipso facto headman for the period of his lease. In the village which have recently been planted in hundred on state lands brought under cultivation by means of the upper and lower chenab, the upper and lower jhelum, the lower Bari Doab and the sutluj valley chanals, the lambardari arrangements are governed by the constitution of the groups of colonies who have occupied the new settlements. In an ordinarny district new appointment are only necessary when the family, in which the post is hereditary, becomes extinct; when after the resignation or dismissal of a headman the collector finds that he must be pass over all the heirs under the vrious provisions of sub-rule(ii) of land revenue rule 17; or in the rare cases in which an increase in the number of headmen is sanctioned by the commissioner. The importance and implications of the doctrine of primogeniture are elaborated in the Lahore Law times xviii, page 43.

314.Ordinarily headman must perform duties himself. A headman once appointed holds officer for life unless the Deputy commissioner dismisses him or accepts his resignation. No man should ordinarily be retained in office who either does not, or cannot, carry out the duties efficiently. But in some cases whether inability to do so is of a temporary nature, and in others where it aprings from unavoidable circumstances, the lambardar is allowed to retain the title and even in some cases a share of the emoluments, while a substitute is appointed to do the work.

315.Appointment of substitutes in certain cases. The commonest instance of a temporary inability is that of a headman being too young to act. In that case, the appointment of a substitute is imperative. Another instance is absence  from the village with the Deputy commissioner’s consent for a period not exceeding one year. Old age or physical infirmity is a disability which it might savoir of harshness to treat as a ground of dismissal. A wide dissection is left to the deputy commissioner for he can allow a substitute or sarbarah not only in the circumstances maintained above, but in any case in which “ good cause” can be shown fir the lambardar’s unfitness to do the work himself. (land revenue rule 27) an absentee landlord owing a whole estate may nominate for the approval of the deputy commission any of the residents to be his substitute. As a rule, he will have an again on the spot whom he will naturally put forward. Should he fall to nominate to a fit person the deputy commissioner choses one of the resident tenants.(land revenue rule 26(1) ) where in an estate owned by more than on person an absent headmen the responsible either individually or as a representative of other absence for more than half of the land revenue the deputy commissioner may appoint any resident owner or tenant to be dabbed. In this, and indeed in all cases in which substitutes are appointed for a lambardar whips is not a minor, the wishes of the substantive hold of the office should be put on record and fully considered, other things belong equal, the best plan, when the headman has become unfit to do his work, is to choose as his substitute the man who would naturally succeed him in the office in the event of his death. If this is his son, he will usually not be a “landowne” but this is no obstacle, for “egad shall be had to the properly which of the candidate will inherit form the person he is intended to represent in like manner as if he has already inherited it.” (land revenue rule 29 iii) in the case of minor lambaradare, their mothers often he is ineligible because he owns no land in the village, and in any case it is generally much more in the accordance with local sentiment to select a near relative of the boy’s father.

315-A. appointment in canal colonies. In the colonies it has been the practice from trthe foundation of each estate to restrict the number of lambadars to on  two. Where service conditions exist, as, for instance, in the horse-breeding chaks of the lower jhelum canal colony it is usually considered preferable to have only one lambardar. These posts are si much converted that the ordinary objection against having too few lambardars does not hold good. Hereditary claims need not be regarded since the landholdes suitable landholder. In the news colonies, where service conditions do not exist, two lambadars ae ordinarily appointed.

In making such appointment care should be taken to ensure that the lambardar appointed resides, or will reside personally in the chak. It must be remembered that the post of lambadar has been created in order to the ensure the performance of services necessary for the efficiency of the administration of the province and the district. These posts are no treated to add to the prestige and influence of influential and  wealthy landowners, who have no intention of fulfilling the obligations of the post. An additional objection that o the appointment of such person as lambardar, to all intents and purposes, would be performed by a servant and that landholders of considerable social standing, such as retired commissioned military officers, would occupy a position of subordination to the sarbarah lambardar a state of affairs to which they naturally have a strong objection. The land revenue rules with regard to the appointment of substitutes should therefore be most carefully observed. The only concession which can properly be made to influential and wealthy non resident landholders is that they should be appointed lambardar’s of the land which they hold themselves. In such cases they should not be permitted to have any hand in the management of the land allotted to the menials of the village.

316.Division of pachotra - It is permissible to  divide the pachotra between the headman and his substitute. If it is intended to do so the arrangement must be noted in the order of appointment, otherwise the substitute will receive the whole on the principal that the man who does the work should get the pay. In any case the substitute’s  share must not be fixed at less than oneself (land revenue rule 30)

317.Removal of substitute - The deputy commissioner may remove a substitute for any reason which would justify the removal of the headman himself or for any other sufficient reason. (land revenue rule 29 iv)

318.Resignation of headman - When a headman resigns, he generally ask for the appointment of his son to succeed him and  in other to give him the land owners qualifications, officers to transfer a share of his holding to him by gift. Arrangements of this sort being apt to lead to quarrel’s over the division of the family holding after the father’s death should be discouraged. Where the lambardar has done nothing to merit dismissal, it is better to retain him as nominal headman and to appoint his son to be his substitute.

319.Dismissal of headman - The chief grounds on which a headman may properly be dismissed are four-

(a) loss of the states of landowner in the estate,

(b) poverty

(c) persistent neglect of duty,

(d) crime ( land revenue rule 16)

the first calls for no remarks. Dismissal in such a case is imperative.

Hon'ble Revenue Minister

Hon'ble Minister-In-Charge
Shri. Gurpreet Singh Kangar

 


 

Special Chief Secretary, Department of Revenue, Rehabilitation and Disaster Mangement
Shri. Karan Bir Singh Sidhu, IAS

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