416. Immedilate transfer of ownership on payment of compensation. The landowner or any of the landowners of an estate in which has been included land whose transfer qua propritary right has been suspended by order of the collector, may apply to him cancel his order and award compensation for the loss of their rights to the existing landowners it is within the collector’s discretion to accept or reject such an application.(section 101-c of the punjab land revenue act, 1887)
417. Exclusion of jurisdiction of civil courts. By an addition to section 158 of the land revenue act questions connected with proceedings for the determination of boundaries under punjab act 1 of 1899 are excluded from the jurisdiction of civil courts(section 158(xviii)(a) of the punjab land revenue act, 1887)
418. Procedure. The boundry in each case is laid down by the collector. in practice, the work has been done by settlement officers or special officers invested with the powers of a collector and working under the orders of the financial commissioner. No boundry line is deemed to have been permantly fixed till it has been approved by the financial commissioner.
419. Amendment of regulation XI of 1825. Additions made to sections 2 and 3 of regulation xi of 1825 make thaat enactment of no effevt afrer a fixed boundary has been laid down.
421. Jursidiction boundaries. In theory, there is no necessary connection between the boundaries of privare property and those of jurisdiction. In the case of the latter, three kinds of riverain boundaries may be distinguished-
(a) between districts in the same administration.
(b) between two administration.
(c) between british administrations and indian States.
422. Official opinion formely favoured deep-streakm fule pure and simple. The recognition of the iniquyity of the deep stream fule pure and simple as applied to the ownership of land was quite compatible with the emphatic assertion kthat it ought to be enforced as between district and district,and between and kthe punjab and indian States. The reason urged was that the boundaty of jurisdiction must be one kljthat could be quickly determine and easily recognized,conditions that were only satisfied by adopting as the line of demarcation the main channel for the time being.
423. Deep-stream declared to kne the jurisdiction boundary along Sutlej in 1869.a notification published in 1869 declared the deep-stream of the sutlej to be the boundary between adjoining districts along its whole course. No similar notification has been issued as regards any of the other rivers in the punjab.the tendency in most places probably was to apply the same rule to the detemination of ownership and jurisdiction.
424. Assimilation of boundaries of ownership and jurisdiction- The view that the deep-stream rule pure and simple was the only suitable one for the determination of district boundaries gained force from the difficulties and delays besetting the dicision of boundaries disputes between the landowners of riverain estates situated in the defferent districts. But it overlookd the inconvenience landowners were bound suffer from having to pay part of ther revenue in one district and part in anothr, and from being at the beck and the call of two sets of judicial, revenue and police official. The punjab government, therefore in 1889 accepted a proposal made by colonel wace to declare by notification that the boundaris of dirticts separated by rivers followed the boundaris of ownership in the boundary villages the deepstream being adopted where that was the peactice followed for frgulating proprietary rights, and the rule of fixed boundaries being observed where the estates on opposite banks defined their rights of ownership thereby. To the notification relating to the different rivers, schedules were annexed giving the names of the boundry estates on their right and left banks. When such a notification has been published, action taken under Punjab Act 1 of 1899 to lay down fixed boundares for riverain estates also establishes permanent boundaries between the diatricts in which thay are situated.
425. Boundary between Punjab and united provinces. The boundaty along the course of the jumma between the Punjab and the untied provinces is regulated by the deep-steam rule pure and simple in the panipat and Karnal tahsils of the Karnal district. But the boundary of jthe thanesar tahsil of Karnal, the jagadhri tahsil lkof Ambala and the Gurgaon district are fixed.
156 REVENUE LAW AND REASSESSMENT OF LANDS AFFECTED BY
426. Boundary of Punjab and Kashmir. The boundary on the rivers Ravi and jhalum between the punjab and the Kashmir State is a fixed one.
427. Advantages and defects of deep-stream rule pure and simple. But eisewhere the reasons whch were held to require the adpotion of the deep-stream rule pure and simple for the demaration of district boundaries applied with double force to the boundaries of the province and indian states. Assuming that the plan of fixed boundaries was impracticable, it was the only rule which made it pessible to settle the boundaries in whch indian States are cincered without endless trouble and interminable delays. But, on the other hand, the hardships to which landowners were sunjected by a divergence between tne rules governing the limits of jurisdiction and private ownership were much increased whin the land was transferred,not from one British district to another, but from the punjab to an indian State.
428. Deep-stream rule in extreme form given up. At frist the deep-stream rule in its extreme from prevailed. In accordance with it,eight astates were transferred in 1857 from the ferozepore district to the Kapurthala State. But lord canning refursed to accpet Sir,john Lawrence’s suggestion that the rule adopted in that particular case should be accepted as a general one. In 1860 the Governor-Genral in council,in dealing with a case which concerned Bahawalpur,rejected a proposal to apply the deep-stream rule pure and simple,and declared that “it was incorrect to assume that as between Sovereigns the only safe rule of pracitice is that the main river should be the boundary, irrespective of all other considerations. The rule is such only in cases of alluvion and not in those of avlusion……. When a boundary rivers to sundally quits its and bed and cuts for itself a new channel,it ritory cut off by the change in the river continues to rule it.” This decision was approved by her Majesty’s Secretary of stete,and was declared to govern all cases which had occurred after the date,August 1860, at which it was given.
429. Fixed boundaries adopted in cases of Kapurthala and Bahasalpure. The boundaries of indian States cannot be legally affected by punjab Act1 of 1899. But since ot was passed, a fixed boundary has been laid down by content between British orttitory and Kapurthala along the course of the Beas and the
Sutlej and a similer line has been demerited between the punjab and Bahawalpur along the Sutlej and rhe indus. Thus a content source of trouble has been removed.
430. Special revision of assessment in riverain villages. The action of the seven great rovers of the punjab and of the numerous torrents which issue from the hills renders the assets of the estates on their banks very unstable. It is therefore imperative that some means should exist by which the land revenue demand of such villages can be revised form time to rime. It was ultimately found that in some large tracts the changes caused by the rivers were so frequent and so extreme that nothing would serve but the abandonment of a fixed assessment altogether in favour of a fluctuating one which involved the reassessment of the whole demand harvest by harvest. But elsewhere it has been prossible to tetain the fixed demand providing for its annual revision as regards those parts only of villages which have been lost system prevailed throughout the province ofr many years after annexation, and it is still in force in a large part of it.
434. Existing order. The following orders have been issued for general guidance in conformity with section 59 of the land revenue act:-
“(1) where land of an astate paying land revenue is injured of improved by the action of water or sand, the land revenue due on the astate under the current assessment shall be reduced of increased in conformity with the instructions issued from time to time in this behalf by the Financial commissioner.and in every such caes the distribution fo the land revenue over the holding over the holdinb of the astate shall be revised so as to similarly reduce of increase the sum payable in respect of the halding in which the land that has been injured of improved os situated.
435. Supersession of general by special local rules. The defects in the old assessment rules are pointed out in the 455th paragraph of the settlement Manual. These defects have led to their supersession in many districts by special rules drawn up by settlement officers to suit the circumstances of each locality. The main fearuers of these new rules are described in the paragraph of the settlement Manual cited above. In the 26th of the standing orders issued in 1910, general rules under section 59(c) of act xvii of 1887 have been issued as instructions if the financial commissioner to be followed where no special rules have been sanctioned.
436. Close supervision of alluvial assissments required. The special local rules not only prescribe rates of assessment, but also explain the procedure to be followed in bringing to record the loss and gain due to river action. But, however perfect the system on paper, its working in practice must always remain a delicate matter,in which the work of the tahsildar and has subordinates must be clisely supervised by the superior revenue staff of the district.
437. General instructions. The measurements in which these yearly revision of assessment must be based occupy a good deal of time, and must be started in rivetain circles as soon as the patwari has finkshed the kharif crop inspection, written up the mutations which have come to light in the course of it and perpared the annual bachh papers. Every village in which any change of assessment is required must be inspected by the Deputy commissioner or by one of has assistant or Extra assistant commissioners. Of course the bulk of this work falls to the revenue assistant,but,where it is heavy,part of it sould be made over tosome other mimber of the crop inspection, written up the mitations which have come to light in the course of it and prepared the annual bachh papers. Every village in which any change of assessment is required must ne inspected by the deputy commissioners of by one of his assistant or Extra assistant commissioners. Or course the bulk of this work falls to the revenue assistant, but where it is heavy part of it should be made over to some other member of the headquarters staff the final order as to each astate must be passed by an assistant collector of the 1st grede and officers of higher class.
438. Annual returns. An abstract statement of the changes due to alluvion and diluvion is sent to the commissioner in the middle of April. A divisional abstract compiled from these district returns is submitted to the financial commissioner. The orders passed on it are the authority for making the necessary changes in the land-revenue roll.
439. Cmmon land of village communities. It is an essential frature of the village community, at leasr in its original form, that the proprietary body should possess part of their loands in common. The village sites, the grazing lands over which the cattle wamdered and sometimes the wells from which the people drew their drinking water were held in joint ownership. Often each sub-division (taraf, patti, or paa) of the astate had also its own common land in addition to its share in the common land or shamilat of the whole community. This veature of communal village proprety was reproduced by our revenue offivers in those parts of the province in which the village systen was forcibly engrafted on a tenure of a very different chacter.
440. Other joint holdings. But, besides the large joint holdings in which all the landowners in an estate or a sub-division of an estate have an interest. It constantly happens that maby of the other holdings are jointly owned by several sharehokders. According to indian ideas,land in north-western india, at least wherever real village communities exist, belongs rather to the family than to the individual. What may be called family bhalding were very common when our first records of rights were framed, the tendency of our legal and revenue system has been to substitute individual for communal holding. But holdings of the latter type are still numerous. And holding owned by individuals are constantly reverting to the cindition of joint holdings under the law of inheritance,which gives to each son,or,falling sins, to each male collateral in the name degree of relationship,an equal share in the land of a deceased proprietor. A joint holding is also created whenever a landowner sells or mortgages with possession a share of his holding,itstead of partocular fields included in it.
441. Tendency to divide joint holdings. The increase of population and of the profits derived from agriculture leads in time to large portions of the common waste of the vo;;age pf patti being broken up by individual shareholders, with the result that in the end a demand arises for its partition. Family quarrels and the restraints and inconveniences which spring frim common ownership conctantly make those who are interested in other joint holding enxious ot divide the land.
442. Vesh. The custom of vesh,or the periodical redistrinution of village or tribal lands, which is an intersting feature of promiktive land owning renures both in the East and wist, is now nearly extinct in the punjab. But the land Revenue act provides for its enforciment shere the custom still prevails.
443. Private partitions. Private partitions are frequently made, but there is always a risk that sime shareholders will become dissatisfied and allege that the division was only one for convenience of cultivation,and was not intended to be of a prrmanent character. Landowners therefore,especially when the area keld in common is largeand the share holders numetous, usually apply to the revenue authorities tomake the pertition for them. A private partition may also by affirmed after due enquiry by as Assistant Collector of the 1st grede on the application of any of the persons interested init. Although no formal application has been lodged, the patwari is bound to record voluntary partitioins for orders in the mutation register as soon as they have been acted on. In passing orders on such cases,care must be taken not bo treat as partitions of proprietary right arrangements which the parties did not intend to ne permanent. Shareholders may be comtent for years to have in their cultivating possession less than their forr shere of a common holding without intening to give up any part of their right of ownership. Of any of them objects to the record of kthe alleged partition and the attestiong officer considers the objection valid, he should refuse mutation of names and refer the party seeking it to proceedings under section123 of the land Revenue act. But if he finds that the objection is vexatious or frivolous, and that fair private partition has actually been carried out he should record the objection and his proposed lorder disallowing it, and other assistant collector of the 1st grade authorized by the deputy commissioner to deal with these cases.
No report made to patwari and no proceedings taken under the act for finalisatio of partirtion cannot be recognised.
444. Complete and incomplete partitions. Partirions are of two kinds:complete and incomplete. Where a complete partition is made, there is a total severance if rights liabilities. They have always been looked on with much disfavour in the punjab, where they cannot be carriled out without the express consent of the financial commissioner( section 110(1)-cf. Paragraph 1 of finan cial commissioner’s book circular no xlviii ov 1860 and paragraphs 1 and 2 of chapter xiii of rules under act xxxiii of 1871). In complete partitionas do not affect the foint liability of the shareholders for the revenue of the divided holdings and still less do they operate to create new estates. The former fact is not of much practical importance. The officer who makes the partitions is requied to distribute the revenue of the divided land over the new holding which have been created. If in the case of a complete partition a fraudulent or erroneour distrinution takes place, the local Government may, at any time within twelve years after the discovery of the mistake,order a fresh distribution. For this purpose the best estimate passible must be made of the assets of each astate at the time of its formation.
445. Property which must, and property which may be excluded from partition. The village site unless in the very rate case of its being assessed to land revenue cannot be partitioned by proceedings under the land revenue act. Even if it is assessed the assistant collector may refuse padrtition and this discrtetionary power may properly be held to extend to the uncultivated land round a village which os lused as standing ground for cattle or occupied by enclosures for fodder and manure. Place of worship and burial ground cannot be partitioned unless the parties record and file an agreement assenting to their division. Any embankment water-course,well or tand and the land by the drainage of which a tank is filled and any grazing land may be exclided from partition. In arid tracts where the people depend on tanks for their own drinking water and for the watering of their cattle it may be a matter of importance to keep the waste atea which feeds a tank free from dultivation though the land hunger is now so great tha that maby of the owners may clamour to have it divided. If any of thejoint owners afterwards encroadches on the reserved land he may be ejected from it on the application of any other co-shares. It deciding whther to use the discretion given by section 112 (2) of the act, one must think not only of the wishes and interests of the land owners, but also of the likelihood of the partition causing inconvenience to other residentants of the village, as of example, the menials who have been accustomed to use the common property. When any of it is excluded from partition, the assistant collecter may determine the extent and manner to and in which the co-shares and other persons interested therein may make use thereof, and the proporation in which expenditure incurred thereon, and profits derived therefrom, respectively, are to be borne by, and divided among those or any of them.(section 119)
446. Holdings of occupancy tenants. A discretion is also left to revenue officers as regards holdings of occupancy tenants. if tenants who have a joint right of occupancy in a holding wish to partiton, it any objection that the landlord may urge must be carefully considered, and, it is a reasonable one, partition may be absoulately,disallowed(section 112(4) ) even when such a tenancy is divied, the former co-shares do not except with the express consent of the landlord, cease to be jointly liable for the rent of the original holding(section 110(2) ) again an occupancy tenant may well be unwilling to see his holding spilt up among three or four ;andlords, to each of whom he must pay a sepreate rent. The law therefore provides that such a severance of tenancy may be sufficien treason for disallowing a cliam on the part of landowners for partition, so far as ot wpould affect the holding of the tenant, unless the latter gives his assent to the proposlas.
447. Who may apply for aprition - Any joint owner andy any joint tenant who has a right of occupancy in his holding nay apply for partition if-
(a) his share entered in the last jamabandi, or
(b) his right to a share has been established by decree or court, or
(c) his title has been admitted in writing by all persons interested in the admission or denial therof.(section iii see also financila commissioner’s standinmg order no. 27)
the mere fact that a man is a landowner as defilned in section 3(2) of the land revenue act does not entitle him to apply unless he fulfills one or other of the above three conditions(the circumstances under which a mortage in possession can claim partition of a jointholding are dilscused in revenue judgement no. 4 of 1903.)
the mere fact thea a man is a landowner as defined in section 3(2) of the land revenue act does not entitle him to apply unless he fulfills on eor other of the above three conditions.
448. Conduct of perrtition cases. Pertition casers are decided by revenue officers of a class not below that of assistant collector of the Ist grade and usually by the Revenue Assistant. No officer who is not homswlf empowered to settle the case should receive an application for partition. A qualified officer to whom an application has been presented can either cinduct the whole enquiry himself, or refer it for report to as Assistant Collector of the 2nd grade that ia as a rule to a tahsildar or naib-tahsidar. The latter course os generally the best to follos. But the officer before whom the case has been instituted isw responsibkle for itsd proper conduct throughout, and should exercise close supervision over the proceedings of the official to whom je jhas referred it for onvestigation. An assistant collector,who in a disputed pertition case is content to pass prders on reports received from the tahsildar wothout ever having the parties before himself,and without, if need be inspecting the land to be divided, certainly fails in his duty
449. Common defects in partition cases. No branch of revenue work used in former days to be worsen dine than pertition cases. Scandalous delays were allowed to occur. No proper care was taken to lay down clearly the mode of partiton or to define accurately the limits of the land assigned to each share holder, or to point these out on the spot to the parties interested. Years after an elabolrate partition has been made on paper it was notin frequently found that the existing facts of possession in no way agreed with the allotmendts shown in the file. Matters have improved of late years but much watch fulness on the part of assistant and the deputy commissioner is required to prevent undue delays, and to secure that partitions are fairly carried out and given effect to fully and promptly. The points o which it is most essential to insist are that the cases are dealt with by the investigation officer as far as possible in or near the village where the land is sirtuted, (see paragraph 247 of this manual) that the proposed mode of partition is clearly explained by him and that the orders passed by the revenue assistant ar district and enter into sufficient detail to enable the actual division to be carried out without any opportunity arising for further duspute. In cases in which many shareholders are concrened, the first hearing should invariably be in or near the village where the land is situated. A visit to the village is equally necessary after the partition papers have been prepared and objections to the partition are to be heard. All the shares in the common land of a large village cannot be expeccted to attent at the tahsil on the same day, nor can objections against the partition be decided without seeing the plots alloted to each shareholders.
450. How delay may be prevented. The failure to ascertain fro the first what is the actual contention of those who appose the partition is a fruitful cause of delays and wrong decisions. An officer who begins by carefully amining the parties on the spot is not likely to fall into this mistake. That complicated cases should remain pending for a considerable time is of course inevitable. The best way to check any tenency to procrastination is for the deputy commissioner, from time to time, to examine a few of the pending files in each tahsil.
451. Care required to make equitable division. Officers are too ready to pass orders of a general character, for example, “that division shall be made having regard to the character of the land” if land descrived by the same name in the jamabandi really differs much in value, a durther classification is a necessary preliminary to a first division, and it should be made before the mode of partition is determined. On the other hand, it is not always equitable to give each man his exact share of each brought part of it under irrigation by sinking a well or digging an irrigation channel, or may have raised its value by embanking it. He ought,as far as possible, to be allowed to retain the land, whose present value is due to his enterprise. A suitable arangement often is to allot to him the land he has improved giving to his co-shares a larger area of unimproved land. In this connection efforts should be made to persuade co-shares to abstain from insisting on an exact application of the rule of equal proportions where this would result in the formation of an excessive number of small scattred plots or fields. It should be pointed out that such a division of a holding has many disadvantages from the point of view of agricultural efficiency. It entails waste of the cultivator’s time and labour and adds to the work of his bullocks by multiplying journeys to and from his land. It causes waste of water, and even waterlogging, by involving the use of unnecessarily long, tortuous or wells, drainage, leveling and other agricultural improvements more difficult, while small fields nay often be an obstacle to the emploment of improved agricultural implements and machinery. Should the parties neverthless desire the application of the rule of equal propertions of each class of land, the revenue officer has discretion, under section 118 of the land revenue act, to refuse compliance if he thinks that the circumstances of the case render that rule inappropriate and he may instead authorize duly specified deviations from it.
452. General discretion to refuse partition. Certain special cases in which a revenue officer has a discretionary power to refuse partition have been referred to above. But, in addition, a general discetion to reject applications is given by section 115 of the act, which provides that “after exemining such of the co-shares and other persons as may be present……….. the revenue officer may, if he is of opinion that there is good and sufficient cause why partition should be absolutely disallowed, refuse the application recording the grounds of his refual.” This discreation should not be exercised in an arbitrary way. Ordinaralily the ground for refual should be on eof those alreay mentioned on the 453rd and 454th paragraphs. But the assistant colleccter is not debarred from rejecting an application on other grounds if a sufficient case is made out by the opponents of partition. If, for example, he finds that many of the new holdings which would be created by the partition of the common land of a village would be so minuute as to be useless to the right-holders to whom they would be allotted, he may reasonably refuse to sanction a holding by holding partition, and wither reject the application entirely or order a pattiwar partition, each patti being given seprate possession of its share in the common land of the estate.
453. Claims by widows. The claims of widows for partition are often strongly opposed by the other co-shares. Among agricultural tribes in the punjab a widow who has no son inherits,as a rule, a life interest in her deceased husband’s land. Her right is indisputable, but it is one that ils viewed with great jealousy by ultimate heirs. Where her property consists of a share in a joint holding, they are very laoth to allow her seprate possession from a fear, often well founded, that she will manage it badly, and probably in the end attenate t. at the same time, so long as the holding is undivided, the widow often finds it diffcult to obtain her fair share of the produce. If the records of tribal custom prepared at settlement are examined, it will generally, through not invariably, be found that the widow’s right to claim partition is admitted, and it is clear that under the provision of the land revenue act she is entitiled to apply for it. But, if satifactory arrangements can be made to secure for her, due enjoyment of her life interest without partition, it should be disallowed.
454. Questions of title. The officer to whom an application has been sent for report sometimes finds himself confronted at the outset by an objection witch disputes the title of the applicant to ask for partition. Fox example, the responant may deny the correctness of the report of rights, or he may admit its correctness, but assert that the applicant is not in possession of his share, and is therefore not entitled to claim partition at all, oor is not entitled to do so till he has had a settlement of account woth the responent. In such cases all that the tahsildar can do is to record clearly what the points in issue are, and return the case to the officer who is empowered to dispose of it. After hearing the parties,has asked for partition procedding will give him an advantage over the opposite party, has asked for partition in order to envade direct resort to the civil court regarding a question of title which he knows to be disputed. In that case he should file the proceedings, with leave to either party to apply to have htem reopned on showing that the point at issue has been a decided by a competent civil court. But if it appears that the applicant is acting in a straight-for-ward manner, the revenue officer should invariable, unless there is some special reassom to the contrary, deal with the dispute himself. Generally speaking where landowners are concered, be question at issue will be one over which a civil court jurisdiction. If it is so the procedure of the revenue officer must exactly folow that applicable to the trail of an origianl suit in a civil court, and the decree will for proposes of appeal, be treasted as if it had passed by the subordiante judge if however, the questions is one over which revenue court has jurdisction, the revenue offiver must proceed as a revenue court. The neglect of this provision by revenue officer often causes much trouble.
455. Appeals. The law regarding appeal in partition cases is a little complicatede, an dforms a partial exception to the general rule that appeal from an assistant collector of any grade lie to the collector, an order under section 115 of the land revenue act absolutly disallowing a partition is appeable to the collector. but if he does not reject the application abinitilo the assistant collector must proceed ascertain the questions in dispute distinguishing between
(a) question as to title in the property and
(b) question as to the property to be divided or the mode of the making the partition.
The procedure in cases in which a question of a title has to bne settle has been explained in the proceeding paragraph. If the assistant collector has acted as a civil court, and appeal will lie to the district judge,if as a revenue court to be collector. but appeal from any order he may pass “as the proprty to be divided or mode of a making a partition” are heard by the collector.
ACQUESTION OF LAND FOR PUBLIC PUSPOSES
456. Advanatages and disadvanteges of acquestion by the private agreement - Land which is required for the public purposes must be taken up through the collector if the provision for compulsory acquestion contained in the act I 1894 are put inforce. But engineers or the other officers of government who have obtained permission from the head of there own department, can endeaviur to arrange for the purchase of land private agreement, and in such cases deputy commissioner’s out to supply them with perliminary estimates of value just as they would do in case in which it was proposed to make use as of the act. But they must not carry on private negotitiations for any other department unless of the department acquiring the land has itself failed to acquire land by such negotations. The advatage of the voluntry agreement is that the addition of fifteen per cent to the market price, which the act allows as a solatium for the compulsory nature of the transaction, is saved. On the other hand under the statutory procedure therei perhaps less risk of an extravagant valuation and comliance with the necessary for malities ensure the vesting of the land “absolutely in the government free of all encumbrance.” Where there is a faintest doubt regarding the title of the person in person in possession, or where there is any reason of the fear that the land may be encumbered to an unknown extent, private negotation is out of the jab there is often no danger, at least in localities where the land tenure is of latent defects of title. Where this is the case restore may be had to purchase by private agreement if ir is likely to result in any appreciable saving to time or money.
457. Plan and perliminiary estimate of cost. Whatever be the procedure proposed, the first step to be taken is the preparaation of a proper paln of the land by so officer of the department which wishes to acquire it. Ordinararly the landowners will raise of objection to this entring on their land and doing whatever is necessary for that propsose. The act however, did not allow for an opportunty to be given to a person whose land was to be acquired to protest that the porpose for which acquestion was bein gordered was not fact a public purpose. To provide for this an amending act no. XXXVIII of 1928, was passed. The effect of this act is that a perliminiary notifiaction under section 4 is now essential in every case and provision for the lodgenment of objections against any proposed acquestion with in a period of thirty days. But if they do a notifiaction stating that the land is likely to be required for public purposes must be issued in the gazette. When this has appeared, and the deputy commissioner has publiced it locally, any officer authorised by government may enter on the land any survery it. If any demage is done to be land or the crops in the process, he must offer compentation to the landowners. If it is not accepted he must refer them to be deputy commissioner, who decision is final having made his plan, he must obtain form the deputy commissioner data for a perliminiary estaimate of the cost of acquiring the land. All that the district officer expected to give at this stage is the ordinary rate per acre which land of the description fetches in the neighberhood and a rough valuation of the trees building extra.
458. Procedure in cases if purchase by private agreement - The procedure to be followed after the perliminiary estaimate has been sanctioned by competent authority in cases in which purchase by private agreement is preferred to compulsory acquestion is laid down in paragrah 21-27 of financial commissioner standing order no. 28.
459. Perliminary action in case of cumpulsory acquisition - If the better course appears to be to proceed under the act, a notification is published in the gazette stating that the land is required for a public purpose and directing the deputy commissionor to take order for its acquistion. If the area is very large, a special officer is usually invested with the necessary powers and employed instead of the deputy commissioner.
460. Nature of enquiry made by collector - The enquiry which th ecollector has to make in these cases relates to three points, each of which must be dealt with in his award. He must determine-
(a) the true area of the land of each class,
(b) the amount of compensation due, and
(c) the appointment of the compensation among the persons interested.
461. Demarcation of land. The first step is to have the land marked out and measured through the tahsildar. The existance of small discrepancies between the areas and the descriptions of land as found by the tahsildar and as stated in the notification is no reason for staying proceedings.
462. Notice to parties interested. A general notice is next given to all persons interested in the land to appear before the collector on a certain date and to state the nature of their respective interests and the amount of compensation which they claim.
463. Tahsildar’s report. Before the time fixed for the hearing, the collocror should receive from the tahsildar a khasra or filed register and a statement of holdings. In these statement particulars are given as to the areas, the rent, and the revenue of the land, and the trees, crops, wells, and buildings on it, and the estimated value of the last four items. The tahsildar also furnishes a report giving the chief date from which the market value of the land can be deduced, and his own opinion as to its proper price. The data of course include figures relating to any recent purchases of land by government course include figures relating to any recent purchases of land government or private persons on the same village or neighbourhood. Information regarding the latter can be obtained from the mutation registers and from the books in the office of the sub-register, who is usually either the tahsildar himself ir a non-official working at the headquartes of the tahsil. In using the prices stated in deeds of sale it must not call for reports from patwaris or kanungos as to the value of the land. In forming his own opinion he must take into account the matters which the act required the collector to consider in fixing amount of compensation, and must disregard those which it directs the collector to disregared.
464. Reperesntation by departmental officer. It is important that the local officer who represents the department for which the land is being acquired should have ample opportunity to make any represented he thinks fit as to its market value.the instructions in paragraphs 38-39 of financial commissioner standing order no. 28 provide for this. Any representation he may make personally or by agent or in writing should receive careful consideration. But the collector must avoid all correspondence with him on the subject of the award, he must not inform him of the compensation he proposes to assess until the award has been pronounced.
465. Examinatin of parties. A little trouble taken before the right holders before him will put the collector in a position to deal promptly with their objections, and by questioning them to clear up any points. Which the tahsildar’s report has left in doubt. A brief enquiry regarding any claims for compensation which they present will usually be enough to show in what respects if any his own perliminary estaimate of compensation requires to be modified.
466. Preparation for hearing of case. Before the hearing of the case the collector ought to have studied the tahsildar’s report and to have estimated the compensation which appears to be suitable. The tahsildar’s data as to the prices paid for other land required by government can be checked by referring to th register of lands taken up for public purposes maintained in every district office. If the last settlement of the distirct is at all recent , valuable information as to the market value of land of different kinds is sure to be found in the tahsil assessment report.
467. Award. The next step is to record and announce the award. All posible care must be taken in framiing it,for, as far as government is concerned, it cannot be questioned. The record will as a rule enable the collector to determine at once the first matter for decesion, namely, the true area of the land of each class to be acquired.
468. Market value of land. In deciding he next point, the amount of compensation due, he has in the first flace to settle what the market value of the land is land to add to it 15 percent on account of compulsory acquisition. If he finds the amount to be much in excess of the preliminary estinate referred to in paragraph 465, he should refan from making an award and ask for further instruction.
469. Consequential damages. He must consider the persons interested in the land to be taken up have any claim for consequential
(a) loss of standing crops or trees(section 23(1), second sub-head)
(b) damage to other land of theright holder by the taking up if the land required (section 23(1), third and fourth sub-heads)
as the owner will rlieved of th eobligation to pay land revenue and cases, the demand of the harvest under these heads should be deducted from any compensation awarded for crops.
470. Damage to other land of rihgt-holder. Under the second head difficult questions arise. If, for example, a canal is carried through the heart of a village, the fields on one side ir the other are cut off from the homestead. To reach land which in a direct line is only distanbt a few hundred yards may involve the taking of ploughs and cattle three or four miles around. It is not always feasible to build a second adadi acriss the canal. The land may all be cultivated, or none of it may be common property. Again, if an embanked road or a canal distributary is carried through the fields attached to a well, and the area which ir can command is thereby dimished, the capital sunk in its construction may cease to yield any return to thelandowner. It is difficult for th epeople whi suffer to believe that a slight deviation from a strainght line, which would have saved themselves much trouble, could not have been made. No wise man will do anything to foster the idea that the administration wirks with the unsympathetic rigour of a piece f machniry, for this reason, and to avoid the expenses of consequential damages, governemnet has made consulting engineers and the local revenue officers responsible that in qzquiring land for railwys the fullest consideration is given to the convience of the landowners, and has ordered slight alteration in the alignment tobe made, where this is feasible, if annoyance to the people can be thereby obviated(govt. of india circular no. iv-railway, dated 4th september, 1897) strrict orders exist on the irrigation department forbidding the excavation of canal water course thrighland belonging to a well “until-suitable pipe, culvert, or syphon is competed and the cultivatin of the alignment, which would be cinvenient to the properties, would diminish the usefulness or seriously increase the cost of the work. It is the more desirable to avoid claims for consequential damages where possible be cause it is a matter of great difficulty to calculate the compensation which si fairly due.(if reasonable claims are made under the head of severance, government amy direct the collector to acquire the whole of the objector’s land49(2))
471. Matters to be excluded from sonsidertion in estimating market value. In estamating market value, the condition of thalnd as it was at the tine the notifiacation was issued declaring it to be required for a public purpose must alone be taken into account. tHe urgency of the need government nothing to do with the question(section 24, first and second heads) the latter, whether it is great or small must be taken as paid fir by the grant of fifteen percent over and abpve the market value. The fact that the use to which the land is to be put will imcrese the value of other land belonging to the right-holder is quite immaterial(section 24, sixth head) and so is any damage he may sustain which, if causes by a private person, would not be a ground for a civil action(section 24,third head)
416. Compensation other than in money. Persons who are beiong deprived of their land for public purpose would often prefer to take other and in exchange rather than money compensation. The act allows an arrangement of the sort to be made with the sanction of the local govt. but, in the first instance, the compenstaion must be assessed by the collector in money, and no one can be compelled to take land instead of cash. Another form in which compensation may be given with the approval of the local government is the reduction or remission of the land revenue payable on the remainder of the right-hlder’s land. An objection to this plan is that it introduces some complications into the revenue accounts and it is not desirable that it should be larglely adopted.
417. Appointment of compensation. If the right-holders agree among themselves as to the division of the compensation their agreement must be accepted and cmbodied in the reward(section 29) where the right-holders are of different classes e.g. superior owners, inferior owners, or occupance tenants, the collector will usually have to apportion it himself. To do so is not always easy. The share of an occupance tenat would properly be measured by the proportion between the price at which he sell his tenant right and that at which the landowner could sell the land , if unencumbered by any subordiante title.another way of approaching the question is to try to find out how the profits derived from theland are divided. The land revenue is supposed to be equal to half the rent paid by an ordinary tenant-at-will, but as a matter of fact ,it is usually much less. In considering cash rents paid by between them and their landlords, the most favourable assumptions to adopt, as far as the latter are concerned, are that the assessment is up to the theortical standard, and that the rents are the highest allowed by law for tenants should receive seven-eights of the compensation. But, if he belongs to class which may be required to pay a malikana equal to three-fourths of theland revenue, his share of the compensation,as measured by the rent he pays, would be one-fourth. It will probably be found that calculatons based on the rent paid by occupancy tenants, at least in cases where the malikana is low, would give the landlord less than village opinion generally would hold to be his due, entries as to the division of compensation between land owners and occupancy tenants are sometimes to be cound in village administration papers. Where the allotment there stated is not palpably unjust, it is well to adopt it without further question. But it is clear that , where all the administration papers of the district contain an identical entry without any dicrimination between different classes of occupancy tenants it cannot be accepted without further enquiry.
418. References to civil court. Right-holders who object to the award of the collector as regads any of the maters which it deternmines may require him to refer their objections for decision to the district judge(section 3(d) and punjab government notification no. 1791, dated 26th february 1883, section 18.)as soon as the award is announced, the collector should proceed to pay the compensation to all who are prepareed to accept it, either willingly or under protest(section 31(1). A right-holder who receives the money without protest cannot afterwards demand a reference to the civil court(section 31(2) a list must, therefore, be made of those who refuse to accept it or accept it under protest, immediate notice of the award must also be given to all the right-holders who have not appeared before the collector, so that no delay may occur in making any references to the civil court which their objections may render necessay(section12(2). For the period which applications for a reference to the court must be lodged, see provision to section18(2)).
419. Taking of possession. As soon as the award has been made, the collector should ordinaly take possession of the land, “which shall thereupon vest absolutely in the government free from all encumbrances(section 16) he need his award. But, if the amount of the cliams to compensation put in much exceed the sum awarded, possession should not be taken without first refering to the authority sanctioning the work until the period within which appication for a reference to the court has elasped without any application being lodged(government of india letter no. 503-c,w.b. dated 19th september 1898) one possession has been taken, government is bound to complete the acquisition of the land, whatever it may cost to do so. The fact that compensation has been paid does not entitle the department officer toenter upon theland he must receive possession of ir from the collector.
420. Immediate possession in urgent cases. The 17th section of the act makes it lawfil for the collector in cases of urgency to take over land without the assent of th owners and without waiting for the completion of the legal formalities. But, before doing so, he must tender to the right-holders compensation fir standing crps and trees and for any damage suffred by them on account of sudden dispossession. Legal requirement nay also of course be waived by agreement os really a voluntary one, and that the getting of immediate possession is a matter of great importance(detailed instructions on this subject will be found in paragraph 65-7- of financial commissioner’s standing order no. 28) for when land is taken up in this way, it is difficult afterwards to assess compensation for standing crops and trees, and it is hardly possible to refuse to complete the acquisition, even through it becomes evident that government runs a risk of having to pay an extravagent sum as compensation.
421. Representation of government before civil court. When he makes a referenc to the district judge, the collector must inform the department officer that the has done os, and must supply him with a copy of the right-holder’s application stating the grounds of his objection to the award. The proceeding before the civil court are of a judicial character(section 53). Facts must be proved in a legal manner, and all evidence, whether oral or dicuments in which the award is bases, must be produced. Unless the objection nerely relates to the appointment of the compensation, its amount not being in dispute, the district judge gives the collector notice fo the date of hearing, and the collctor must arrange for government being properly repersented in court by the govermnet pledger (see in this connection the ilnstruction in the punjab law department manual). The latter msut in any case receive a copy of the notice served in the collector so that he may have an opportunity of being present at the hearing of the case.
422. Appeal. An appeal lies to the high court from decisions in land acquisitions cases passes by a district judge.
423. Reduction of revenue. The reduction of the land revenue assessment consequent on the taking up of land has effect from the harvest succeeding the last ine in which the owners have been able to garner their crops.
424. Compensation to assignees. If the revenue is assigned, the capitalized value of the demand may be paid to the jagirdar or mafidar. But the loss of the position of assignee, or even the diminution of the income derived from an assignment, is so unpalatable that, where possible, the necessary range for this being dine where only part of the revenue. It is usually feasible to assigned, in other cases, where the loss of revenue is very small, the jagirdar or mafidar must be content to accept to one-fifth of the total land revenue enjoyed by the assignee, the deputy commissioner may make a proposal for the grant of a pension or of a new assignment. Such a proposal should not be made as a matter of course, but only in favour of a deserving assignee who feels keenly the loss of his jagir income (punjab government no. 549, dated 4th september, 1890. For the scale fo compensation in case of jagir revenue, see paragraph 53 of financila commissioner’s standing order no. 28.)
425. Temprary occupation of land. The local government may didrect the colector to take up laid for any period not exceeding three years. In cases of temporary occupation of this kind, no notification os published in the gazette. The collector calls the rihgt-holder together an endeavours to come to an agreement with them as to rent to be paid. In fixing the amount, it must be remembered that the landowners will remain liable for the land revenue. If the collector cannot come to an agreement with the right-holders, he must refer the matter in dispute for the decision of the district judge.(section 35)
426. Compensation for damage done during occupation. At the expiry if the term of occupation the collector must offer compensation for any damage done to the land not provided for by the agreement, and the right-holder may rquire government to buy it out right if it has become permanatly unfit for the purpose for which it was use immediately before it ceased to be in their possession. Any dispute as to the condition of the land must be referred to the district judge.
427. Taking up of land for companies. What has been said above about the acquisition land for the state applies equally to the taking up of land for a company under the provisions of part VII of the act.
428. Disposal of land no longer required. Where land in the permanent occupation of any departments of the punjab government is no longer required, it should be handed over to the deputy commissioner of the district, who becomes responsible for the disposal of it under the orders of the commissioner. “it may not however, be permanently alienated without the previous sanction of government” there is no legal bar to its being put up to auction. But as the matter of grace, government is usually willing to restore agricultural and pastoral land to the persons from whom it acquired it or to their heirs in their refunding the amount paid as compensation less the 15 percent granted for compulsory acquisition. The price may be lowered, if necessary, on account of deterioration, or enhanced in the rare case of land having been improved by the use to which government has put it. The improvement must be must be one one affecting the quality of the land. The fact that land which was unirrigated at the time of acquisition can, when relinquished, be watered by a canal si not an improvement of this sort. Considering how great the rise in the market value of land has been, the terms stated above are very liberal. It is not necessary to adopt them in their entitrety where the persons concerned are remote descendants or relations of the original holders. And where the circumstances of the case are at all out if the common, when for example, no price, or when the rise on the value of land on the neighbourhood has been exceptionally hlarge, these facts should be pointed out when referring such cases for orders so that government may have suffcient material before it to decide whether to offer any specail terms to the heirs of the persons from whom that land was qcquired.
In the case of rendtion of land under kassies and abandoned water channels such as those in multan and shujabad canel divisions which came under the possession of the irrigation department free of cost, the land should be restored to the original owners or their heirs free of charge.
Land acquired project completed. The land no more required, hence ordered to be auctioned but more came forward. The land leased for a long term by the officers and leasee reclaimed it. In the meantime govt. decided to surrender to land to its original owner, held the state is not bound by the decision of its officers to lease and the govt. may recoveramount paid as compensation to original owners from plaintiff.( sadhu singh v. state of punjab 1992(2) RRR 464.
429. Case in which prefernece should be given to owners of adjoining fileds. In the case of plots which from their size or shape are practically of no value to any one but the owners of the adjoining fields, government will be prepared to consider proposals for giving these owners the optin of purchasing at the market value. The mere fact that an outsider is prepared to outbid them should not deter the deputy commissioner from recommendeding to government the acceptance of any fair offer which they may make.
430. Action when the heirs and neighbourhood proprietors do not wish to purchase. If the heirs of the original owners cannot be traced, or if they or the proprietors of adjoining land decline to accept the terms approved by government, a further reference to government will be necessary if it is proposed to alienate the land permanently in some other way.
495-A. Department concerned to be consulted before land is actually sold. The department by which the land is surrendered should be given an opportunity of criticizing the rendition price to be demanded and of commenting upon any did or tender before it is accepted.
431. Report to commissioner. In negotiations for the disposal of land no longer required, the deputy commissioner, must make it plain that any therms he proposes are only tentative and need the sanction of government. Cases should, of course, be submitted through the commissioner and each reference should be a detailed one.
496-A. Transfer of land between governement departments. For the procedure to be followed in cases of transfer of state lands and building from the central government to a local governement of lands in the possession of one department to another, and of lands owned by manicipalities, reference should be made to part A of the financial commissioner’s standing order No. 28
It will be noticed that in these cases of acquisition the provisions of act I of 1894 are not applicable.
COLLECTION OF LAND REVENUE AND LOCAL RATE.
COLLECTION OF LAND REVENUE.
432. Taxation the touchstone of good or bad administraiton. There is nothing on which the happiness of subjects and the stability of government more depends than the way in which revenue is assessed an dcollected. The old monarchy in france, which at on etine had conferred great practical benefits in thast country, was gradually underminded by its failure to limit the amount of its taxation, to distribute it fairly over the different classes of the community and to collect it without oppression, and at last fell with a crash which shool the whole of Europe. The measures adopted by the british government in india to secure an equitable assessment of the land revenue have been descrived elsewhere. We are here only concerned with the regulations for its collection, a matter of equal importance, and sometimes of even greater difficulty.
433. Deputy commissioner responsible for collection of land revenue and local rate. The income of indian government, whether native or foreign, has always been mainly derived from the share of the produce of the soil which the state claims as its own (see chapter I of the settlement manual) it is one of the chief duties of the head of a district to collect the land revenue and local rate. The second charge is levied as a percentage on the land revenue and for practical purposes, is hardly distinguishable from it. The deputy commissioner is also the collector of the various taxes imposed by the government, but with these this handbook is not concerned. It will be necessary, however, to notice briefly his duties in connection with the realization the rates levied in many districts for the use of canal water.
434. And 500 cancelled.
501. Revenue a first charge on produce of land. The land revenue of holding, or of an estate, being a cash commutation of the right of governement to a share of the crops grown upon it, is properly declared to be “ the first charge upon the rents, profits and produce thereof (act XVII of 1887 section 62(1). The section quoted in this chapter are sections of act XVII of 1887)” it is the deputy commissioner’s business to safe guard this right. Withoput his consent no court can attach the “rants, profits or produce” untill the current land revenue and any arrears that may be due have been paid (section 62(2)) orders issued by civil and excluted by the revenue department. (section 141)
502. Instalments. It seemed at one time natural enforce the government line on the produce by making the instalement of land revenue fall due before the crops, from which they were to be liquidated, were cut. This plan in practice land to great abuses. Instalment are now arranged so as to be become payable shortly after the garnering of the crops. The number, dates and amount of the installement are fixed at settlement with the approval of the financial commissioner and are often identical for all the estastes in a tahsil. If experinence shows clearily that the agreements originally made are unsuitable for any estate or group of estates, the deputy commissioner should not hesitate the ask to have them changed.
503. Land owners jointly and severally responsible. The joint and several responsiblty of all the land owners in an estate for the payment of the whole land revenue assessed upon it is emphatically asserted in the 61st section of the land revenue act. Each shares holders is there for liable not only for the demand due on his own holding, but also for any arrears that may arise on respect of another holding. If he happened to be only solvent land holder in the estate, he could raiseon legal objection to an orderthat he should himself pay the whole balance. In such a case the holdings of the defaulters would of course. If he wished be transferred to him for a term. When an estate conists of rwo or more recognised sub-divisions (pattis or tarafs)the joint and several responsibility for an arrear arising in any particular su b-division should in the first instance, be enforced against the shareholders in the sub-division and bot against the whole community.
504. Extent to which joint responsibility should be enforced. The communal bond never in fact existed in some parts of the punjab. Where it is a mere fiction of our revenue system, and estate are only artificial groups of indipendent holdings the enforcement of common responsibility, through legal would bot be just. Everywhere the tendency of our rule has been to promote individualism and the intrusion of strangers into village communities has in maby places weekend the feeling of corporate life and duties. A revenue officer in his dealings with estates should do what he can to check this process of disintegration. As far as possible village communities should be left to themsilves. As thomason remarked:-
“So long as the Fovenment revenue is punctually paid it is nost important that the collector as a fiscal officer should abstain frim all interference……… the great desire and object of the Government is to teach the people selg-government …….they should be instructed and encouraged thus to conduct their affairs and by punctual payment of the government demand to bar all direct interference on the part of the fiasal officers of the Government. Where difault occurs prompt action is ofcourse required. If the arrears cannot be recovered from the defaulter themselves kthe measures adopted ofr their fralization should be so framed as to assert the orinciple of common respobnsibility.
505. Headman not to be made scapegoat of community. It is the duty of the village headman to collect the revenut from the landowners and pay it into the tajsil treasury. But if the can show that he has done his best and failed his responsibility for an arrear is no greater than that of the members of the brother hood and he should not be made the scapegoat.
506. Sharesolders must not be allowed to pay direct. A shareholder sho is no bad terms with his headmanb sometimes tries to pay in revenue direct either in cash or by money order. Such payments ahould in variably be refused. The grant of revenue money orders to anyone but a lambardar is against the rules of the postal department.
507. Village khatauti’s. To aid the tahsildar in keeping an eye on the dollections for each estate a separate village account of demand and receipts known as the khatauni is kept upby the rtahsil revenue accpintant or swail baki navis. One ;arge sheet is alloted to each villafe, and these sheets are bound together in one or more volumes. At the top a statement of the dimand arranged under various heads os entered. As it is inportant that the tahsildar ahould be able to see artr a glance the whole of what he has to realize from each eatate. The demand is shown not only on account of land revenue, fixed and fluctuating but also on account of diffferent items of miscellaneous land revenue such as tirni and talabana, local rates, canal water rates, and so on. It fact everything should be out down which the estate pays into the tehsil treasure through its headmen. The rtest of the sheet is occupied by the sollection statement. Under each item of demand os shown each receipt under that head, with the date of payment. Atn the ind of the year each dolumn should be totalled and any unpaid balance should be noted. Such balamce3s should be carefully shown under the proper heads in the khataunis of the succeeding year.
508. Duties of patwari in connection with land revenue dollection. It is the duty of the patwari ofter the kharif harvest inspcetion in over to give the headman a list known as the fard dhal bachh, showing the demand due under different heads( land revenue local rate erc.) from the owner of each holding. this list is brought up to date and dorrected if necessary after the rabi firdawari. A fresh list will always be required whin the instalments for the two harvests are not equal of where the demand is a fluctuation one assessed by the application of acreage rates to the harvested area. The patwariis bound to help the headmen by explaining the accounts. And by writing, if required the receipts to be given to the shareholders. But he is forbidden to have anything to do with the actual collection or handling of the money. He should gove each heacman, for presentation at the fahsil a memorandum (arz lrsal)showing under the proper heads the amounts to be paid in.
509. Payment at outlying tehsils - Arrived at the tahsil the heacman shows the arz irsal to the revenue accountant(wasil baki navis). Heving ascertained by reference to the village khatauni, if necessary the proper distribution of the amount tendered, the revenue accountant enters it under the proper heads in jthe foil and counterfoil of the recdeipt register(dakhilabahi). The corrections of any made by the revenue accountant in the arz irsal should be attitude by the tahsildar or naib-tahsildar. On receiving the money the tahsildar of tahsil treaxurer signs both copies of the dakhilawith a note of any deductiuon for short weight of fa,se coin that may be required. The signature of the tahsildar or naib-tahsildar must next be obtained on the foil and counterfkoil. The dakhila is thin hended to the diyaha navis, whose businmess it is to write up the daily cash account(siyaha) of the tahsil. The payments made should be entered under their proper heads nby the siyaha navis in the case account of wiyaha and by the wasil baki navis in the khatauni. The tahsildae’s signarure on the salhila is the authority for the enteies in kkthe sihaya and they must not by made till it has been obtained. The siyaha navis should sign both the foil and counterfoil of the dakhila after which the counterfoil should be removed from kthe rekgister and given to the headman.
510. Payment at headquarter’s tahsils. The tahsils at headquartes have no seprate treasuries, and therfore no tahsildar and siyaha navis headman bringing money to such a tahsil presents his arz irsal to the wasil baki navis, who prepares receipts in triplicate, singing them himself and obtaining the signature of the tahsildar or naib-tahsildar. The headman is sent to the district office treasury with the money and the three copies of the receipt. The presents them in the first instance to the treasury the three copies. They are next presented by the headman to the district treasurse, who receives the money enters the amount in his cash book and signs in full the three copiesof the dakila after entering in each any deduction for short weight or bad coin which may be necessary. The three copies are then brought back to the treasury accountant, who enters the amount in his cash-book and complets his signature on the three copies. One copy he returns as, receipt to the headman, first obtaining in the case of sums of Rs. 500 and upwards, the signature of the treaury officer, the second he forwards to the tahsildar when the accounts of the day are closed, the third he keeps for record in the treasury. The first, third and last columns of the dakila register should be made about any dakhila not returned by the treasury on the same or the following day. Where the govt. treasury is managed by the imperial bank of india, a similar course is followed, the triplicate dakhila being presentes with the money at the bank, instead at of the district treasury. No daily cash account or siyaha is sent in by headquarters tahsils, but a sent to the district treasury, where it should be carefully examined to see that all items have been duly credited in the treasury accounts. No copy of the goshwara is kept at the tahsil.
511. Payment at revenue by money orders, currency notes and cheques. The headman, when they bring in the revenue, are often expected or compelled to give small douceurs to members of the tahsil establishment, especially to the revenue accountant. Tahsildar should be made to under stand that their own credit is involved in stopping this practice. Deputy commissioner who wish to do soare allowed the option of introduction the system of payment of land revenue into the treasury without pre-audit by the wasil baki navis. According to this system, it is essential in the first place that a correct kistbandi should be supplied to every patwari for each of his villages. With the assistance of the kistbandi the patwari may by expected to give correct arz irsal to each headman paying in an intalment of land revenue. The persins tmndering payment will then take the arz irsal with money to be paid direct to the teasurer who will ar ince teceive the money and sign a receipt on the back of the arz irsal. Ehis will then by taken by the headman or person paying the niney to thesiyaha vavis and wasilbaki vavis, by whom dakhilas will be prepared in the usual way. The headmen can also pretect themsolves by sinding the money to remitted throughthe past or at places where treasury the uahsil by revenue money order or by currincy notes business is concucted by the imperial bank of india, by cheque in a local bank but in some cases they are probably afraid ti offend the tahsil staff by adoping these expedients. It is best to leave thin to choose whichever mode of payment they prefer. It is a pity to discourage them from coming personally to the tahsil. There are sime advantages in their doing so and no herdship is involved if they are not subject to needless delays of illegal exactions.
512. Payments to be credited to demand of harvest, not in liquidation of arrears. After the land revenue of any harvest has become due all payments must be credited against the demand on account of that harvest. It is only after that has been fully satisfied that miney rteveived can be cmployed for the reduction of balances outstandig from previous harvests.
513. Direct payment to assignees. It was formerly the rule to allow large assignees of land revenue to take it direct from the headman. This privilege was often abused,and has been withdrawn in many cases. It can only be continued if the arrangements for receiving the money are satisfactory to the deputy commissioner. It should caase where the jagirdar makes it an intrument for illegal exactions of for putting pressure on landowners to transfer their land to himself. But where he acts faor;u amd the landowners have no valid ground of domplaint, it is harsh to deprive the assignee of a privilege which he greatly values. The collection must be made frim the headmen, and not direct form the land owners. A jagirdar cannot of course employ any of the coercive processes to be presently described. If the revenue is not paid to him or eiththe assent of the deputy commissioner he can sue the defaulter in revenue court. Where the revenue is realized by the deputy commissioner for the jagirdar a charge of 2 percent known as haqul tahsil is made to cover the cost of collection.(land revenue rule 57(ii))
514. Failure to pay either justifiable or unjustifiable, action appropriate to each case. Failure to pay the land revenue by due date may be either justifiable or unjustifiable. Where it is justifiable the demand should be either suspended or remitted. The circumstances under which relief should be given in one or other of these ways are described in the next chapter. The rest of the present chapter deals with the action to be taken by the deputy commissioner to recover arrears which have not been, and, in his opinion, ought not to be, suspended or remitted.
515. Delay in enforcing payment harmful to landowners. It should be an invariable rule either to collect the dedmand punctually or to suspend it regularity. If each instalement is not taken when it falls due, the provision of the law which makes theland revenue a first charge on the produce of the harvest becomes a dead letters. The money-lender takes from his deboters the grain which should have been sold to pay the state its share, and the landowners in the end have to contract fresh debts when they are at least pressed for payment. Every tahsildar must understand this, but many of them act as if mere delay in enforcing a claim which must ultimately be met were a boon to the defaulter. The means which the deputy commissioner possesses of detecting unpunctuality are described in XVIIth chapter.
Meaning of defaulter. “defaulter” is definedi th land revenue act (section 3(8)) as menaing “ a person liable for an arrear of land revenue”, and as including “ a person who is responsible as surity for the payment of the arrear”, the definition has a wider scope than might at first sight appear. Reading it with section 61 of the act, it is clear that all the landowners in an estate are defaulters if an arrear accures in respect of any particular holding. In practice, the milder coercive processes, which are all that are ususllyneeded are dilrected either againest the owner of the holding in respect of which the default arises or against his headman.
516-A. As soon as the collection for a harvest is over, a complete and up-to-date list of arrears of land revenue and other allied dues outstanding against each defaulter shall be supplied by the headman to the sarpanch of the village panchayat. The village panchayat, in turn, shall take suitable action to impress upon the defaulters the necessity of clearing off the arrears.
517. Application of headman for process against defaulter. A headman who has shown proper diligence can obviate the risk of proceedings being taken against himself by applying to the tahsildar or deputy commissioner for assistance. Application will not be entertained if the arrear has been outstanding for over six months unless the lambardar satisfies the revenue officer that the delay in realization has not been due to his own neglect. If the application is enterained, a date is fixed, a writ of demand is served on the defaulter and he is sumoned to appear. (land revenue rule 65) . if the existance of the arrear is proved an order is recorded stating the amount the person from whom it is due, and the duty of recovery is transferred from the headman to the tahsildar.
518. Personal action by tahsildar. Such is the prescribed procedure but, when it is clear that headman without any apparent reason finds difficulty in including his co-shares to pay their quota, it is a good plan for the tahsildar or his naib to go to the village and find out what the real cause is. If he sees tha thte refusal is due to private enmity or jealousy, he should uphold the lambardar’s authority by convincing the defaulters that they themselves are the person who will suffer by delay. If the assert that they suspect the headman of misappropriating the money he collects, and are afrain to entrust him with it, he should relize the revenue at once through the lambardar and tell him to take it to the tahsil.
519. Misappropriation by headman. Misappropriation by a needy headman is unfortunately no rare occurrence. Having money in his hands, he finds it convenient to pacify his private creditors at the cost of plunging deeper into debt a month or two later when the tahsildar insists on payment of the government demand. Whenever misappropration is proved, the headman should be dismissed, and the deputy commissioner should consider whether it is expedient also to prosecute him criminally.
520. Legal processes for recovery of arrears. The legal for the recovery of arrears are-
(a) by service of a writ of demand on the defaulter [section 67(a), 68 and land revenue rule 63 and paragraphs,3,4 and 9 of financial commissioner’s standing order no. 29];
(b) by arrest and detention of the defaluter[section 67(b) and 69 and land revenue rules 67-69]
(c) by distress and sale of his movable property and uncut or ungathered crops [sections 67(c) and 70];
(d) by transfer of the holding in respect of which the arrear is due [section 67(d) and 71];
(e) by attachment of the estate or holding in respect of which th earrear is due [section 67(e) and 72 and paragraph 21 of financial commissioner’s standing order no. 29];
(f) by annulement of the assessment of that estate or holding [sections 67(f) and 73-74 and paragraph 25-29 of financial commissioner’s standing order no. 29];
(g) by sale of that estate or holding[section 67(g), 75-76 and 79-96 and land revenue rule 70];
(h) by proceeding against other immovableproperty of the defaulter [section 67(h) and 77],
for details of the procedure to be followed in connection with each of these coerive process, reference must be made to the sections of the land revenue act and the rules and orders abive noted.a person against whom proceedings are taken for the recovery of an arrear may, if he denies his liability and pays under a written protest, sue in a civil court for a refund. (section 78)
521. Writ of demand. A writ of demand is known as “dastak” it is little more than a reminder. It shows the amount of the arrear, and requires the person addressed, to pay it, together with a service fee (talabana) of one rupee where the revenue involved is more than rs. 5 and of twelve annas where the revenue involved is rs. 5 or less, into the tahsil by a cretain date, writs are served by a special staff temporarity engaged for the purpose, and the issue of many dastaks may mean more to a village than an addition of talabana to the land revenue demand. A writ may be addresses to the actual defaulter, but it is usually directed to his headman unless thelatter had made an application under section 97 of the land revenue act (see paragraph 517 supra). It can be issued on any date of the instlemnet, but it is proper to allow a few day’s grace, and this may reasonably be extended to a fortnight where, there are two instalements, it is the custom of the estate to pay the whole demand at one time. There is no legal objection to the sending out of repeated destaks, but only a week tahsildar would think of doing os. A tahsildar can issue wirts of his own authority. If he has his tahsil well in hand, he ought not to find many necessary. Any tendency to only two which a tahsildar can put inforce himself can easily be chacked by the collecter as the thasidar sends in monthly statements of writs warrants issued.
522. Detection of defaulter. The actual defaulter or headman who repersents him may be rested and detained at the tahsil or district office for ten days. He may be released on bail being given that he will not absent himself for certain hours daily during that period. If the arrears is not paid by the end of the term, the deputy comissioner may order his further detection for a month in the civil jail. If the tahsildar finds it necessary to detainded the defaulter for more than twenty four hours, he must report his action to the deputy commissioner. The order land owners in the estate are not liable to this form of coercion because of their joint responsibilty for arrears. Nor can it be used in the case of females, manners, lunatics or idiots. The peon who executes the warrant must not receive the money if the defaulter produce it, but must instruct the latter to take it or sent it to the tahsil of this from of coercion thomason remarked. “it is only in peculiar cases that process of imprisonment is likely to be effected. When the defaulter is living in circumstance which make him fear imprisonment, and when he has resources which enable hem at once to pay the demand, there may be on moreefficient process. But on the poor or the embarrassed it is not likely to have any effect, whilst to the unfortunate, but honest and industrious, man it is a cruel hardship. It used to be a very common practice to impression defaulters as the first step towards the realization of the demand, but the harshness and impolicy of this have been long admitted.
Views expressed by Dousie, to be treated with great respect, however, can not take place ofprovisions of the act. The views in contravention with provisions of the act should be ignored. (Sardara singh v. sardara singh, 1976 PLJ 199 : 1976 RLR 172 (p&h)
523. Districts and sale of movable property. The deputy commissioner or any other revenue officer fo the 1st grade can distrain and sell the crops and the movable property of the defaulter. But the exceptions prescribed by section 60 of the civil procedure code (act V of 1908), as regards sales in execution of decrees of court apply, and in addition so much of the produce must be left unattached as the deputy commissioner thinks necessary for see-grain and the subsistance of the defaulter and his family and of exempted cattle until the next harvest. “the process is liable to very much the same objection as the objection as the proceeding. The usual defaulter are small landed properties whose personal property is of little value to any but themselves, and is easily removed, if it is destrained and sold little is thereby realized, whist they are greatly harassed and injured. If, however, the defaulter be in good circumstances, and wilfully withholds payment of the just claim of government there cannot perhaps be a better mode of proceeding than to distrain at once the most valuable articles of his private property. This course should be followed only when there is good reason to suppose that it will be the means of compelling payment of the whole or a considerable protion of the arrear. (thomsan’s director for colectors, eddition of 1850, paragraph 70)
525. Advantage of this form of coercive process. In cases in which the second and third forms of coercion fail, or are held to be harmful or useless, this is the process which it is ordinarily best to adopt. It has the great advantage of preventing the intrusion of a stranger into the community. If an arrangement can be made whereby a plot of land is left for cultivcation in the defaulter’s hands, he can still support himself and his family in his old home, and there may be some hope that he or his sons will learn lessons of thrift in the years in which they are excluded from the rights and temptations ownership.
526. Attachment of estate or holding. The deputy commissioner can attach the holding or estate and bring ir under direct management. [section 72(1)] this process is known as kurk tahsil. Usually the tahsildar should be the manger; but,if the estate is large, a non official agent may be appointed and paid by a fixed salary or by a percentage on the collections. The land revenue assessment it not affected. The manager steps into the position of th defaulting owner or community, and is bound by all existing engagements between landlord’s and tenants. [section 72(2)] the rents and points received after attachment must be credited-
firstly, against the cost of management, and
secondly, against the demand of the current harvest on account of land revenue and cases,
onlythe surplus, if, any is available for the liquidation of the balance on account of which the land was attached [section 72(3)]. As such as it has been satisfied any in any case at the end of five years, the land must be restored to the defaulter, who is entered to a full account of receipts and disbursements during the period of management. [section 72(4) and paragraph 21 of financial commissioner’s standing order no. 29]
527. Use of above process. Obviously this process is unsuited to the case of an ordinary peasent holding, except as a mere temporary measure, to prevent waste, when the deputy commissioner thinks one or ohere of the two following process must shorlty be adopted [land revenue rule 70] it may occasionally be of use when the defaulter is a quarrel between the member of a village community as to the distribution of the burden over the different holdings. In the later case, the manager takes for the time being place of the headman and collects from properties the cost of management including his own remuneration, the land revenue and ceases, the arrear and the village expenses. He does in fact by authority what the headman improved incapable of doing, and can, with the help of the tahsildar quickly settle any dispute as to the bachh.
528. Above process may be used by deputy commissioner of his own authority. The five process described above can be carried out by the head of the district without reference to any higher authority. He may choose the particular one he thinks most likely to succeed, and is under no obligation to try effect of the one before he employs another. The three remaining methods of coercion can only be used with the assent of the financial commissioner.
529. Annulmnt of assessment of holding or estate. If the arrear has been outstanding for over month, and the deputy commissioner,after trial or otherwise despairs it by any of the above proceses he can issue a proclamation attaching the holding or estate, and can propose to annual its assessment, and to manage ir direct or lease it to a farmer [section 73(1) and (3). This process cannot be used for the recovery of an arrear of land revenue which has accured on land which deputy commissioner has already taken under his control either on behalf of th ecourt of wards or in pursuanace of the crave process descibed in paragraph 526 supra. On receipt of sanction from the fianacial commissioner a proclamation is issued declaring that the assessment has been annulled. The effect of the issue of a proclamation attaching a holding or of one annuling its assessment is that thereafter on payment before publication of rent properly due till some date after publication is invalid except with the special sanction of the deputy commissioner. [section 74(2) and (3).
530. Term of direct management or farm. The term of direct management or of the farm must not exceed 15 years. When it is over, the holding or estate is reassessed in thelight of the evidence as to its real assets which has been obtained. Care should, however, be taken that the land revenue imposed on such land does not raise the total assessment of the circle in which it is situated to more than one-fifth of the net assets of the circles. If section 51(3) by section 51(4) of the punjab land revenue act, 1887 this object can in most cases be secured for all practical purposes by providing that the average rate of incidence on such land does not exceed the average rate of the estate in which it is included. Any case in which this is not suitable, as for example of especially valuable land, should not be such as to raise the existing average rate of incidencce of the assessment circle beyong the limit prescribed in section 51(3).” If the owners refuse to accept the new assessment, the financial commissioner can order direct management for the remainder of the term of the current settlement of the district or for any shorter term.
531. Effect of farm or direct management. Direct management accomanied by annulement of the assessment is known as khan tahsil. It diffres from kurk tahsil because the proprietary rights and obligations of the owners are for the time being in abeyance and the land revenue settlement made with them is cancelled. If part only of an estate is under farm or direct management, the joint responsibility if the landowners of the rest of the estate is sespended as regards that part only [section 73(7). The finacial commissioner made by the defaulter, or by other persons under whom the defaulter claims, shall not be binding in the deputy commissioner [section 73(8)]. If it is part of the sanctioned arrangement that the owners shall remain in cultivating possession of their khudkashat lands, they will do so as tenants, and will pay such rent as the deputy commissioner thinks proper.
532. Landowners cannot claim re-entry till end of term. However profitable direct management may be to government, the defaulters cannot claim re-entry until the end of the term, and they are not entitled to any account of profit and loss when they recover possession.
533. Remarks on direct management. Kham tahsil is only suitable in the case of a whole estate, or at least of a recognized sub-division of an estate. It is a puntive, or at least an exemplary measure, which it would only be right to adopt in case of contumacy on the part of a village community, which is nowadays very rare, or where the assessment has broken down on account of th gross mismanagement or idleness of the owners. Mr. Thomson’s remarks may be quoted: “ when land is valuable, popualtion abundant, and the assets….. consist of money collections from non proprietary cultivators, and the rent roll shows a fair surplus above the government demand, there should be no hestation in holding kham. Ordinary care will enable the collector to recover the balance, and probably improve the eatate. But when the population is scantly, when the defaulters are a community of cultivating proprietors, when the collections are made in kind, od whin lkthe estate is deteriorated and fallen out of cultivation, khammanagement requitrd much caution. Its success evidently depends upon knowledge of agriculture influence over the people and prompt and steady action. When the colector is conscious that he possesses thses qualities himself, or can command them through means of his subordinates, he has the strongest possible hold on the people. Nothing more convinces theom of the hopeless nests of attempting by combination to defraud the government of its dues, or to force a reduction of settlement, then the example of a few estate successfully held kham and made to yield more then the original assessment. It should not however be attempted on any great scale because of the time and minute attention it requirres, nor should it be attempted at all unless the collector finds himself in a position where he may reasonable except to have time and opportunity to carry his experiment fairly out.” [thomson’s director’s for collections, edition of 1850, paragraph 78] management should be firm, but sympathetic the object to be kept in view being to fit the landowners ultimately to resume their old position with changed habits.
534. Remarks on farma. Farm to a private person after annulment of the assessment is a still mare drastic measure than kham tahsil. Paragraph 531 applies mutatis mutandis to this process. If the defaulters are inferior proprietors. It will usually be right to offer the lease to the superior proprietors. No female ,minor,or resident ni indian state can be appointed farmer.
535 . Rights of farmer.a farm is neither heritable nor transferable, subject to this limitation and to any other conditions expressly embodied in the lease,the farmer has for the time being all the rights of ownership in the estate ,at leastall the rights which government takes into account in fixing the assesment. the lease lapses on the death of the farmer unless the financial commissioner to fit to renew it in favour of his heir. In any case the old propretors are not entitled to resume possession on account of a lapse occuring before the end of the period originally sactioned, for further conditions of farming leases paragraph 25,26 and 28 of financial commissioners standing order No. 29 may be consuylted. The case of direct management or farm rended necessary by the refusal of the landowners to accept the demand fixed at a general reassessment of the land revenue has been dealt with in paragraph 521 of the settlemant manual.
536. Yearly statement of results of direct management. A yearly statement showing result of direct management is submitted through the commissione to the financial commissioner.
537. Sale of estate or holding. The sale of a holding or of an estate on account of arrears is fortunately a very rare event in the punjab. This measure can only be adopted when all the foregoing processes are deemed to be in effectual. The sanction of the financial commissioner is required (section 75 of act XVII of 1887 and section 14 of punjab act No. II of 1903) and in order to obtain it, the deputy commissioner would equie to prove that the propeieto or the community was either hopelessly insolvent or stubbordnly contumacious. Land managed by the court of wads cannot be sold forr arrears and so sale is allowed on account of balances accuring while land is under direct management or leased to a farmer. (proviso to section 75) as a prelominary step, the deputy commissioner should attach the holding or estate under section 72 of the land revenue act.
538. Effect of sale. If sale is sanctioned, the flrst step is to issue a proclamation [section 79(1)]. The land is sold free of all encumbrances, and all previous grants and contracts respecting it become void as against the purchase [section 76(1)]. The justification for this lies in the paramount claim of the state on tehland until its title to a share of its produce has been satisfied. But rights of occupancy not created by the defaulter, and leases of land for gradens, building, and certain other non-agricultural purposes,are saved,and also any rights excepted in the proclamation of sale [section 76(2)] for the procedure to be followed in sale, sections 79-96 of the land revenue act may be reffred to. If the highest bid is evently inadequate,and especially if it dies not cover the arrearrs and the cost of the sale, it will usually be advisable to buy in the estate fo government. The defaulter is still liable for the balance, but except under very exceptional circumstances, it would be wrong to take any further processing against him. He is entitlled to reveiver any surplus.
539. Proceedings against other immovable property of defaulter. The law has still further safeguard the title of the state to its land revenue. If an arrear cannot be received by any of the measures described above, or if the financial commissioner is of opinion that their adoption is inexpedient, he can order of the deputy commissioner to proceed against any land or immovable property belonging to the defaulter other therein the holding on which the balance has accrued. In this case no grants or encumbrances created or contracts made in good faith by the defaulter are affected.
540. Actual employment of coercive processes. In the Punjab the drastic character of the law on the subject of the collection of land revenue is in marked contrast to the general midness of its administration. For proof of this assertion a reference need only be made to statement XI in the annua land revenue reports which gives the number or writs of demand and other processes issued and executed under section 68-72 and 75-77 of the land revenue act.
541. Local rate and village officer’s cess. The procedure for the recovery of land revenue is also applicable to the recovery of the local rate and of the village office’s cess (see also sections 97-99). A rule issued under section 71 of the Punjab district board act, XX of 1883, prescribes that the local rate shall be collected by installments bearing to one another the same proportion as the installments of land revenue with which it is collected.
542. Canal occupies ate. The 5th section of the land revenue recovery act (I of 1890) provides that where any sum is recoverable as an area of land revenue by any public officer other than a collector or by any local authority is situate, shall, on the requst of the officer or authority, proceed to recover the sum as if it were an arrear of land revenue. The chief demand which deputy commissioner in the punjab have to realize under the authority given by this section is that in account of accupier’s rate levied under section 36 of the northern india canal and drainage act, VIII of 1873. It is the attention to the collection of canal dues as he does to the realization of land revenue. In some districts the income from the latter is trifling compared which that from the former.
543. Procedure for recovery of canal dues. After the kharif and rabi harvests the canal executive engineer sends to the deputy commissioner an english demand statement showing for each estate the amount due on account of occupier’s rate and the commission payable to village headmen at the rae of 3 percent in the demand on condition of the collection being deputy commissioner may confiscate the whole or part of his quota in time, the simultaneously with the despatch of these english statements, the executive engineer sends to the tahsildar a vernacular khatauni for every village showing the amount due from each cultivation on account of occuper’s rate. The deputy commissioner must not receive any petitions against the correctness of any demand under the head of occupies’s rate entered in the kahatauni. Objections must be referred to the canal officer. Any additions granted after the prepartion of the statement, are communicated by the executive engineer to the deputy commissioner, who on his part furnishes to the executiove engineer monthly statements of collections and balances.
REDUCTIONS OF ASSESSMENTS.
544. Advantage and drawbacks of fixed demand. When the British government substituted a fixed cash demand for collections in kind, and after painful experience learned the secret of assessing it with fairness and moderation it confined a great boon on the country. The opportunities for opperssion and peclation by underlings were much curtained, the of living was raised, and the value of the proprietrly right in the land was enormously enhaced. But the measure was not without serious drawbacks, some of which have only been slowly recognized as evils, requiring remedy. In this chapter we are concerned with one of thse evils, namely, that arising from the occasional incompatibility between fixate of assessment and fluctuation of outreturn, and with the measures taken to remedy it without foregoing the undoubted advantages of a demand which does not vary.
545. Exception that landowners would save to meet deficiencies of bad seasons disappointed. It was the theory of those able officers who foundedd the revenue system of north-western india that, if a moderate revenue of fixed amount was assessed the land owners could be expected, to an extent in which actual experinence has beiled to meet the government demand in bad seasons from the surplus of good years. Theexpectation was plausible, but it took too little account of two important factors-the indian cliamate and the indian people. It did not allow enough for the extreme vicsisitudes of the harvests in many parts of the country, and it assumed that habit of thriftlessness, the growth of many centuries of misrule, would be repidly unrooted by supply a reasonable motive for saving. The peasent farmers of the punjab have had the advantage of a fair fixed demand for more than half a century, but it is still true that a consideable proportion of them is lazy and thriftless, a larger number hardworking and thriftless, and only a small fraction both industries and thrifty.
546. Fluctuating assessment. Where the fluctuations in the crop areas from year to year very extreme, it has in some cases been judged best to give up a fixed demand altogehter, and to adopt in its place an assessment varying in the acreage of crops harvested. But, so,far, these fluctuation assessment amd to some canal-irrigated tracts, and the extension of system to areas depedent in rainfall in which variations (see chapter XXVII of the settlement manual)
547. Rigidity of fixed demand should be tempered by suspensions and remissions. In most tracts therefore, government looks to its to make a fixed demand, which is polpular with the people and convenient to the state, work successfully by the use of the powers they possess of suspending and remitting revenue when there is a serious failure of crops.the rigid enforcement of the demand, irrespective of calamities of seasons is, a disastrous policy which government has clearly condeinned. the folly of collecting revenue frompeople who by reason of severve drought have not food in their houses, and whose credit with the graindealer is well nigh exhausted seems obevious, but in this matter routine has sometimes proved strongenough to overpower common sence.
548. Evil resulting from laxity in collection. On the other hand a fixed demand must be treated as such, and the realization of on part of it should be suspended, and still less entirely foregone, without plan necessity. It is easy by laxity to demoralize the people and their headman. But it must be confessed that until comparatively resent times their was much more danger of undue regour than of over leniency. It is certainly not the intention of government to authorize anything in the shape of laxity or carelessness in the collection of the fixed demand, or to make the system of suspension and remissions as has been proposed, “a regular feature of the revenue add policy of the state, but is to be recognized as a measure purely of grace, and not of right, to be exercised only in exceptional cases of calamity so serve as to justify and necessitate a relaxation of the settlement contract. It is true that, even within the areas under fixed assessment, the necessity for relief will require with greater frequency in some part than in others, and that in tracts of great precariousness which it has not been thought advisable to be bring under fluctuating assessment, such relief may be frequently needed as a matter of administrative necessity but even in such tracts, government has not attention of abandoning the general principle “fixate of demand”, with its attendant certainly, as the basis of its revenue system it recognizes, however, that it is unwise, even in the interests of its on revenue to insist absolutely upon what has been termed “the sacredness of the settlement contract”, or to call upon the cultivator to pay the revenue or rent in all circumstances however unfavourvle, that while it is whole some and legitimate to expect him to take the bad with the good in years of ordinarily fluctuation, payment should not be informenced under condition which would compel a cultivator of ordinary care and prudence, who has to busy food for family on credit, to further imperial his future solvency by borrowing to meet the demand of the state.
549. Proper working of suspensions presupposes knowledge of agricultural economy of district. No man can hope was to deal successfully within the questions that arise as regards the collections of and revenue unless he has a clear grasp of the agricultural economy of his districts of the soils and the crops of its different parts the security of the insecurity of their harvests, the character of the land owners as regards industry the size of their holdings, and the extent of which they are burned with, or free from debit, the best written sources of information are the assessment reports on the different tahsils, the districts gazetteer’s, the settlement officer’s table and maps classifying estates as secure and insecure, and this scheme for the working of suspension, but the study of these should only be aid to the knowledge to be gained by close personal observations.
550. Demand should be punctually collected or regularity suspended. It should be an invariable rule either to collect the demand punctually or to suspend it regularity. Left to themselves, tahsildars are apt, even when they know that there will be difficulty in realizing the revenue, to let matters slide, in seta of making up their minds definitely whether suspensions are, or are not. If possible, proposals for suspensions and remissions should be dealt with by the deputy commissioner before the crops are cut and garnered. Failing that, all questions regarding the grant of suspensions on account of a harvest should have been decided the deputy commissioner before the installment on account of that harvest falls due. In his tours and tahsil inspections he should find out what the estates are in which suspensions are likely to be needed, and should either himself inspect them at harvest time, or arrange for their inspection by the revenue assistant, or by possible, no suspension should be given until the estate affected his been visited by some officer of a higher grade then the tahsildar. Until recently this was required by the instructions in every case. But, in practice, where failure in crops affected a large number of estates, the rule had to be treated as a counsel perfection. An experienced revenue officer, who by marching through a stricken tract has gained a good general idea of the condition of its crops, need not hesitate to give suspensions to villages which he has not seen himself if he has before him the harvest jinn’s war statements and inspection note by the tahsildar or his naib. Accordingly, the following rider has been added to the rule. “in case of widespread distress, where the number of estates requiring suspensions is so large that all cannot be inspected by officer of higher rank, in section by a tahsildar or naib-tahsildar may be accepted as sufficient provided that as many villages as possible are visited in such assessment circle affected.”
551. Classification of grounds for relief. The circumstances which call for suspensions and remissions may be roughly classes as-
(a) ordinary, which are usually widespread ;
(b) extraordinary, which are usually local and isolated.
The distinction is one practical important for the treatment appropriate to the two descriptions of cases is, as a rule, different.
552. Ordinary calamities of season. The circumstances falling under the head of “ordinary” occasions for relief are mostly those arising from the normal vicissitudes of the seasons. Loss of crops is generally due to deficiency or excess moisture. The rainfall in most parts of the Punjab is very capricious both as regards its total amount, and, what is quite as important, its distribution over the months of year. According to the time at which the deficiency occurs, the calamity takes the shape either of a shrinkage in the area shown or of the destruction of growing crops. In a very bad season it is but too common to find both these evils united to produce disaster. (see paragraph 373 of the settlement manual). When rainfall are seed-time the contraction of the area shown is of course most marked, in unirrigated lands, but well crops are also affected. The acreage is often reduced, and the cost raising them is much enhanced. If the land has to be swatered before it can be shown, the effect of drought on growing crops can hardly escape the most careless observer. But the mischief done by frequent heavy falls of rain to crops on light sandy soils is more likely to pass unnoticed. The case of flooded lands under fluctuating assessment will be refereed to later. Where their assessment is fixed, the same principles apply as in the case of other unirrigated lands. But it must not forgotten that a flood which ruins the autumn crops may be of the greatest value for the much more important spring harvest.
553. Fluctuations of yield allowed for in assessment. The calamities of which we are now treating being due to ordinary changes of the seasons, ought in some measures to have been sore seen allowed for by the settlement officer. His final settlement report and his scheme for the working of suspensions should throw light on this point. Assessments nowadays are ultimately based in the application of a rate to the average area of successful crops for a series of years, and not to the cultivated area of the year of measurement, which may or may not, have been normal. In so far as functioned of yield have really been allowed for by lowering the rate on the cultivated area, the doctrine that landowners must meet the shortage of a bad year from the surplus of good seasons should be kept in view. But great watchfulness must be shown if there is a succession of poor harvests, otherwise an unfair burden may laid on the people. If the collector is satisfied that distress really exists, and that the profits of the land injuriously affected have fallen much below what were anticipated at the time the assessment was made, the suspension of a portion of the current demand will be appropriate.
554. Insecure dry tracts in south-eastern Punjab. In very insecure tracts it will probably be found that the settlement officer has himself clearly stated that there was no demand which he could with justice to the state impose which could be paid alike in good and bad years, and that he regarded the grant of suspensions from time to time as essential to the smooth working, of his settlement. This is a position which no one who has had experience of the rain lands in the south-east of the Punjab will dispute, and it has been fully accepted by government. In the orders of Punjab government on the report of the first revised settlement of the rohtak district sanction was given to the assessment “on understanding that in the case of all unirrigated lands the revenue assessed so one which is to be paid in full in ordinary years, but which government does not expect to realize at once during severe or long continued droughts. In such seasons suspensions will be freely given (paragraph 11 of review of settlement report of rohtak by Mr. H.C. Franshawe) an object lesson was soon after furnished by the breakdown of the revised settlement of Gurgaon, which was aggravated, if it was not caused, by bad revenue management. In explaining the conditions on which the reduced assessments proposed were accepted Sir James Lyall remarked.
“these conditions are that the full revenue of insecure tracts shall not be realized in years of severe or long continued drought, but that such relief shall be given by way of suspensions, and, when necessary, by way of advances for the purchase of bullocks etc., as may be called for by the actual circumstances of the case when carefully considered by the light of the continuous record of agricultural conditions which is now…………..maintained.
“it is impossible not to feel that the necessity for a general division of th original assessment………..would probably never have arisen but for the neglect of these principles. It is equally impossible……….to believe that any adequate assessment could ever be devised for the insecure tracts of this districts which could be safely realized without suspensions in yeas of severe and long-continued drought…………the variations in the rainfall, and especially in the sensonsbleness of the rains’ the consequent fluctuations in the area sown, and still greater fluctuation in the area harvested; the liability of the people to terrible losses of cattle in years of drought; the great mortality from fever which is apt to follow upon abnormal seasons; and the character of the population most liable to suffer from the effects of such seasons-all these circumstances constitute a marked condition of these things which demands special and exceptional treatment (paragraph 22 of Punjab government orders on Mr. Channing’s settlement report of Gurgoan)
555. Other rain lands in Punjab. These principles are clear enough, and, while they apply in the fullest degree to the south-easten districts of the state, where the rainfall in good years is sufficient to mature an immense are of unirrigated kharif crops but where the variations from the normal are extreme, they apply less or more to all parts of the Punjab plains in which the rainfall permits of barani cultivation, except a few specially favored tracts close to the hills. It is easy moreover to exaggerate the security of submontane lands. In the low hills and the broken country sometimes found near the outer spurs of the Himalayas the harvests are often very precarious. An instance of the former is the hill circle of Gurdaspur, and examlpes of the latter are the bharrari of the same districts and the kandi circles of Ambala. Submontane tracts are only secure where the surface is flat, otherwise in years of drought the rapid drainage does any with much of the benefit of a somewhat larger rainfall.
556. Arrears easily recovered in insecure unirrigated tracts. It is fortunate that those unirrigated tracts in which, suspensions in a large scale are most often required are precisely those in which the recovery of arrears is most easy. Their suspension need rarely be followed by remission unless a succession of bad seasons entails very heavy losses of cattle and deprives the people of the means of rapidly replacing them. In other words, remissions on a large scale need only be contemplated when scarcity has deepened into famine. The revenue rates have been pitched low because the periodical recurrence of short harvests was foreseen, the holding are as rule large, and in good seasons the surplus after meeting all expenditure is very great.
557. Well lands. The case of well lands is widely different. The effect of drought in well-irrigated estates should be closely watched just because the signs of the disease are likely for a considerable time to elude the notice of a careless observer. Well irrigation and small holding generally together, and the surplus remaining with the husband man, after paying the revenue and providing fir the support of his family, is always small. The price and the deep of the bullocks are heavy items of expenditure. In the drier parts of the state the wells by themselves cannot mature any large area without the help of the river floods in autumn or of watering from inundation canals, both precarious sources of moisture. On such wells moreover a considerable part of the area has to be given up to provide fodder for the cattle, and in dry years this area inevitably expands. Even in more favoured tracts during seasons of severe drought, the sacrifice of valuable crops, such as sugarcane, to keep the bullocks fit for works is a common sight. Well estates bear up at first in years if short rainfall better than unirrigated ones. But, if drought is very severe, especially if it is prolonged over several harvests, they suffer more severely and recover more slowly. Where relief has to be given in well-irrigated estates consisting mainly of small holding the collector should consider whether it should not take the form of remissions. The calamity is one for the possible occurrence of the form of remission’s. The calamity is one for the possible occurrence of which little or no allowance may have been made in assessing the village, the rates are as a rule far higher than on unirrigated soils and absorb a larger proportion of the average net assets, and the surplus even in good years, is small. These conditions are just the opposite of those which prevail in those unirrigated tracts which are classed as insecure. If the relief given has taken the form of suspension, much care and patience is required in the recovery of arrears, and if good sessions do not specially return, remission may be proposed before it would be admissible under the provisions of paragraph 576(1)
558. Remissions of revenue when wells fall out of use. The precariousness of the well cultivation in some of the western and south-western districts has been so clearly recognized that it has been made a condition of the land revenue settlement that well assessment will be remitted when a well falls out of use from use cause and re imposed when it is again brought into use. The following rules have recently been sanctioned providing of the reduction of revenue when a private irrigation work fall out of use during the term of settlement.
The rules do not apply.-
(a) to any district, or parts of district, for which local rules has been sanctioned, or may here after be sanctioned
(b) to unlimited (Khacha)wells on jhaalars of similar description.
I. The collector shall remit so much of the assessment of the land irrigated from a masonry or rube-well as is based on the profits of irrigation from such well.
(a) when it ceases to be fit for use;
(b) when irrigation from it is superseded by sanal irrigation and canal advantage revenue has been imposed.
II. The collector may grant a similar remission if the well though still fit or use has been out of use for four harvests, provided that no remission shall be given if the disuse of the well-
(a) occurs in the ordinary course of husbandry, the well being intended for use merely in seasons of drought;
(b) is due to the introduction of canal irrigation, and canal advantage for venue has not been imposed.
NOTE- The revenue versed on the profits of irrigation form the well shall ordinary be assumed to be as follows:-
(a) where a lump sum has been imposed at the distribution of assessment in the well in addition to a non-well rate- such lump sum.
(ii) where a lump sum, inclusive of a non-well rate, has been imposed at the distribution of assessment-such lump sum, after deducting the equivalent of the non-well rate.
(iii) where the distribution of the assessment has been by soil rates-the difference between the actual assessment of the area irrigated, and the amount which would have been assessed on that area, if it had not been irrigated.
111. cases nay occur which will not be sufficiently met by the remission of only so much of the assessment as is based upon the profits of irrigation from the well. Such cases should be refereed through the commissioner for the orders of the financial commissioner.
IV in deciding whether to use the discretion given to him by rule II, the collector shall consider whether the disuse of the well is due to some cause beyond the control of the landowner, such as the sread of salts in the soils, the loss of tenants or cattle, and extreme difficulty in replacing them.
V. except with the sanction of the financial commissioner, no remission’s shall be given under these rules unless the distribution of the assessment of the estate has been made in one or other the ways described in the note to rule II
VI. when a remission is granted, it shall take effect from such harvest as the collector may determine.
VII. If a few well is made to irrigate the land attached to a well in respect of which remission has been granted under these rules, or if such well is repaired, the reimposition of the assessment will ordinary be effected in accordance with the rules for the gran of certificates of exemption contained in paragraphs 505 to 508 of the settlement manual.
VIII. Where a well for which a remission has been given is again brought into use, and no certificate of exemption is granted, as, for instance, on the return of tenants or by reason of replenishment of cattle, the deputy commissioner shall reimpose the whole of that portion of the assessment which was remitted with effect from such harvest as he may determine.
If in any case the collector thinks the whole should not be reimposed he should report the case for the orders of the commissioner.
IX. these rules may be applied, so far as they are applicable, to the grant of remissions in the case of their irrigation works constructed at private expense, such as canals water-courses, dams embankments, reservoirs, and masonry Jhhalars. They may also be applied to wells which, though only partially lined with stone or brick, are expensive to make and may ordinarily be expected to last for some years.
Change in the fixed land revenue roll necessitated by the remission or reimposition of well assessment, either under these general rules or under abalogous special lecal rules, as approved should be reported once a year on 1st September for orders in the form of a comparative demand statement prescribed by paragraph 9 of Standing order No.31.
The principles of natural justice were required to be observed because the matter had to be determined by the Tehsildar and the collector as quasi-judicial Tribunal and also under section 3(2) of Punjab land revenue(special assessment) Act,1955 requires a speaking order.
558-A Suspension and remission of land revenue when cultivable lands are rendered unfit due to thur, sem, dhoes and sand - Damage to crops is also caused by Thur, Sem,Chos and Sand,etc., which necessitates the suspension and remission of land revenue. Accordingly the following rules have been sanctioned in this behalf when the cultivable areas are rendered unfit for cultivation due the these cases.
1 short title and commencement - (1) these rules may be called the Punjab land revenue (thur, sem, chos and sand) remission and suspension rules, 1960.
(2) they shall come into force at once.
2. Definitions - In these rules, unless context otherwise requires:-
(a) “Act” means the Punjab land revenue act 1887 :
(b) “ cho” means a bed of a torrent strating from the siwalik hills:
(c) “frorm” means a form appended to these rules:
(d) “sem” means the rise or collection of sub-soils water or moisture to such an extent that the land so affected becomes unfit for cultivation: and
(e) “thur” “kallar” of “reh” means a white or ash coloured substances which may or may not subside after rains but the existence whereof betayed by the crispness of the crust swelling over the powered earth underneath it.
1. Patwari to make entries of all unfit and uncultivable lands. At the time of each harvest inspection the patwari shall enter in the khasra girdawari all those fields which may have been rendered unfit for cultivation due to thur, kallar, reh or sem as thur, kallar reh or sem, as the case may be, along with the word khali. He shall also enter all such fields which have been rendered unfit for cultivation or grazing due to cho or deposit of send in consequences of heavy floods as “ Ghairmumkin cho” or “Ghairmumkin sand” as the case may be.
2. Entry as kharaba to be made where production estimated less than twenty five percent. Whenever a field affected by thur, kallar, reh, sem, cho or sand is sown with a crop but the yield is less than twenty-five percent of the normal yield the entry shall be “kharaba” together with the word thur, kallar, reh, sem cho cr deposit sand as the case may be.
3. Only affected areas considered. Wherever a pat of the yield is affected by thur, kallar, reh, sem, cho or deposit of sand, only the area affected thereby shall be taken into consideration.
4. Entries to be inspected regularly by inspecting officers. All fields, for which new entries as required by rule 3 and 4 are made shall be checked by the filed kanungoes and at least fifteen percent of them by the tehsildar or naib-tahsildar concerned. A specific note showing that such inspection has been made shall be given by the inspecting officer. The revenue assistant or the sub-divisional officer (civil) shall also check the girdawaris of at least ten percent of the villages which are affected by thur, kallar, reh, sem, cho or deposit of sand.
5. Entries to be changed after three consecutive harvests. Where an entry is made for a particular filed or a part thereof as required by rule 3 successively for three harvests, and a similar entry has to be made in the fourth harvest word “banjar jadid” shall be substituted for “khali” in the fourth harvest and if this entry persists further for four succeeding harvests, it shall be changed into banjar quadim in the eighth harvest in the case of lands affected by cho and deposit of sand, the entry shall continue to be ghairmumkin cho or ‘ghairmumkin sand’ as the case may be.
6. Name of crop to be shown if unculeivated land brought under cultivation. Any field or part thereof for which the previous entry in the khasra girdawari is ‘banjar jadid, thur, kallar, reh or sem” or “banjar quadim, thur, kallar, fer or sem” or gharimumkin cho or ghairmumkin sand and which is again brought under cultivation, the entry in the khasra girdwari shall show clearly the crop sown:
Provided that if the yield of the crop sown is less than twenty-five percent of the normal yield it shall be shown as ‘kharba’.
7. (1) Land revenue to be remitted from Rabi harvest - The land revenue of every field of part thereof, for which an entry exists as banjar jadid quadim,thur, kallar, reh, or sem, ghairmumkin cho or gharimumkin sand’ at the time of coming into force of these rules shall be remitted with effect from the Rabi harvest following the enforciment of these rules.
(2) The land revenue of every field or part thereof for which an entry is made as banjar jadid/qadim, thur, kallar, reh or dem of ghairmumkin cho of ghairmumkin sand, after the coming into force of these rules shall be remitted with effect from the Rabi harvest such an entry is made in that harvest and form the following Rabi harvest if the entry is made in the kharif harvest.
8. Revival of assessment of land revenue. Recycle of assessment Subject to the precision of rule 19,the remission shall cease and the assessment of land revenue remitted under these rules shall revive after the field of part thereof, with respect of which the remission was granted has produced four crops the yield of each of which is more than twenty five per cent of the normal yield.
9. Revival of assessment to take effect from Rabi crop. The revival of assessment of land revenue under rule 10 shall take effect from the fifth harvest if it is Rabi and if the fifth harvest is kharif from the Rabi harvest following such kharif harvest.
10. Statements to be drawn up by patwari. After the expiry of Rabi harvest every year and within five days of the expiry of the Rabi girdawari of the village the patwari shall draw up a statement in form a showing all the field number in which remission under rule9 has to be given and another statement in form C showing the field number in which assessment of land revenue is to be revived under rule 10.
11. Statements to be checked up by officers. Every field kanungo shall carry out a complete check of these statement with the relevant entries of the khasra girdawari and record a certificate to that effect on them. The Tahsildar or naib tahsilfar cimderned shall carruy out similar check of twenty-five per cint enteies in Forms A and C. the assistant sollector and the collector may at any rime carry out random checks of these forms.
12. Tahsildar to forward consolidated statement to the collector. The tahsildar shall have a consolidated statements prepared for his tahsil in form B and submit it together with the statement in form A to the collector by the twentieth april, every year.
13. Statements to be checked and forwarded to tahsildar. After the statements in forms A and C have been prepared and checked by the revenue officers the same shall be forwared to the tahsildar concerned.
14. Collector to suspend or remit the land revenue. On receipt of form B the collector may remit the land revenue, as proposed there in, if the total amount to be remitted for the tahsil, does not exceed Rs. 3,000 or suspended it if it exceeds this limit and forward the proposal for remission to the commissioner or the division for sanction. The order or suspension or remission thus made by the collector or the commissioner, as the case may be, shall be conveyed to the tahsildar concerned immediately who shall give effect to it. Necessary changes in the Dhal Bachh and other relevant papers shall made accordingly.
15. Patwari to enter statement in daily diary. The patwari shall enter in his daily diary the statements of all fields mentioned in forms A and C for each village at the time of their submission to the tahsildar.
16. Patwari to furnish parcha landowners and enter it in daily register. A parcha in form D of the filed numbers mentioned in form C shall be delivered by the patwari to the landowners concerned or in his absence to the lambardar or sarpanch of the gram panchyat and a copy thereof shal be pasted on the tesidential house of landowner in the village, within ten days of the completion of the rabi harvest girdawari of that village and an entry to this effect shall be made in his daily diary.
17. Procedure for revival of assessment. (1) after the parcha has been delivered in accordance with the provisions of rule 18 of the landowner may within a period of fifteen days of the date of its delivery file his objections with the tahsildar or naib-tahsildar concerned who shall after making such inquiries as he may deem proper pass such orders as he may deem fit. As far as practicable such orders shall be passed every year before the 10th of May.
(2) After the objections have been disposed of under sub-rule(1) the tahsildar shall forward a consolidated statement in form E of all the statements forwarded to him in form C along with a copy of each of the orders passed by him on the objections preferred under sub-rule(1) to the collector of the district who may confirm the revival of assessment of land revenue with or without amendment.
18. Statement to be surnished by collector. The collector shall furnish to the financial commissioner through the commissioner a statements shwing seprately the total amount of land revenue remitted as well as the amount of land revenue with respect to which the assessment has been revived under these rules. Such statements shall be furnished before the 15th of June, every year.
19. Repeal of existing rules. These rules shall supersede all previous rules in force in the state for suspension, remission or revival of assessment or land revenue or cultureable areas rendered unfit for cultivation due to thur, kallar, reh, sem, cho or deposit of sand (the forms mentioned in these rules are attached to similar rules appearing in appendix II to F.C.’s S.O. no. 30)
559. Suspensions, usual relief in case or ordinary calamities. The follwing instruction have been issued as to the relief to be given in the case of ordinary calamities. It will sometimes be found advisable to grant relief from the beginning in the form of remissions. If, for instance, the amount of revenue which it is decided not to collect is such that when considered with referance to the recent history and present condition of the people, the nature of the assessment and the character of the tract, it is practically certain that it wil be impossible subsequently to collect it, it should not be kept unnecessarily hanging over the heads of the revenue-payers, but hsould be remitted at once. So again the special condition of certain tracts may justify the adoption of initial remission as the rule. But, in view of the fact that remissions require more careful investigation than is necessary for an order of suspension, it may taken as a general rule that in cases of widespread calamity, where promptitude is essential, relief should in the first instance by given in the form of suspension.
560. Exitent of crop failure justitying relife. It is impessible to lay down a fixed criterion for the determination of the exact point of cfop failure which should be deemed to justify the grant of relif. It has been suggested that only those calamities which are too severe to have been contemplated by the assossing officer as inclide in the normal course of events should be recognised, and the principle is sound in itself, but does not cover the whole case. An eight-anna failure of crops in a precarious tract where it is of no unusal occurance would have been taken account at assessment, and would not in this principle admit of ht egrant of relief, whereas a similar degree of failure in a rich and stable tract, not having been taken into consideration, would, on the same principle, be held to justify relief. In this matter it has been decided to accept the conclusion arrived at in 1882 and endorsed by the famine commission of 1901 that “relief will not ordinarily be required when there is half a normal crop” it may indeed be necessary to very the standard for special tract or under special conditions, and the considerations indicated above should thaen be borne in mind, but it should not be departed from except in rare cases and under exceptional circumstances. On the other hand, it does not necessarily follow that the failure of more than half a crop will always justify relief, as much depends upon the nature of the harvests immediately proceding and upon the importance of the harvest in question.
561. (1) Scale on which relief should be given - (1) once it is decided that relief is necesszry. It remains to deremine the scale on which relief should be afforded. In dealing with the sale of relief to be given when the crops do not reach half the normal standard, it would be fallacious to suppose that the various degree of crop failure can be accurately dealt with by slavishly following any arithmetical formula. At the same time, without the guidance of arithmetical standard, it is impossible to ensure any kind of uniformity in the grant of relief, and accordingly, although anything in the shape of servile adherence to formula is to be deprecated, a standard scale of relief on an arithmetical basis is now prescribed for general guidance, and a scale should be laid down in this form for each districts or other suitable tract. When a district comes under settlement, the revision of the scale for that distirct will be made a part of the duites of the settlement officer. In deciding in the correspondance between the degree of relief should increase, as the yield decreaes, more rapidly than the degree failure,. The cultivator has to depend for his own sustrnance and that of his family upon the margin left to him after his obligatory payments have been deducted from the yield of his field. The amount required for that substance will no doubt be larger in good than in bad years since in the latter he must be content with a lower standard of living than in the former, but there is a minimum standard below which it is impossible for him to go a minimum which depends to some extion for subsistence being to this extant a contant quantitive, it is obvious that a four anna crop will leave much less than hald the margin which will be left by and eight-anna crop out of which to pay rent or revenue. The relief therefore should be more than double in the former, of what it is in the latter, case. Accordingly, the following may be taken as a suitable type in cases where no relief is given for a failure of less than half the normal crop:-
crop (16 annas normal) degree of relief
6 annas and less than 8 annas 25 percent
4 annas and less than 6 annas 50 percent
less than 4 annas 100 percent
The above may moreover be looked upon as showing the degree of elaboration which is considered suitable for such scales, and the introduction of tables of relief containing much greater complication than the type above incated is deprecated.
(ii) Caution regarding use of scale. In regard to the above scale, it must be remember that in judging the value of a crop and in deciding whether it is, for instances equal to 6 annas and less than 8 annas, regard must of course be had not only to the area matured, but also to the yield. Thus occasionally bad conditions at showing time may be followed by very favourable conditions later with the result that out turns on a reduced, natured area may be larger per acre than the normal morever, the general rule that yield per acre falls as the matured area decreases applied less fully to irrigated, than to unirrigated lands. Other considerations, which should not fbe lost sight of in applying the scale of relief, as district from judging the value of the crop, are given in paragraph 563 (iii) infra. Revenue officer should bear in mind that, in dealing with suspensions and remissions, the normal standard of ottern and area of crop is that assumed by the settlement officer on which the assessment was based.
562. Differential treatement of landowners and estates how far justiciable. The question of suspensions with reference to the treatement of strong and of poor and impoverisshed estates a distinction must be drawn between times of famine and widespread scarity when suspensions on a large scale have to be given, and times when the area affected is circumscribed and purely local. Famine or widespread scarcity may be held for present purposes to be established if the area affected exceeds that which could be inspected thoroughly by the revenue assistant in a month. In this case no differentitation between rich and poor revenue-payers should be attempted, and such discrimination, when exercised at all must be confined, to cases of remission (see paragraph 583 infra) when the area is circumseribed of purely local the collector should use his discretion and must ordinarily hold the balance between the course of trating all the land-holders in one and the same estate alike, to which he is ordinarily practically bound by motives of convience and expediency, and the policy which would make a distinction between the village which can pay without borrowing and that which cannot. In deciding whether a suspension or remission of land revenue is called for any estate, the collector should have regard to the considerration whether such relief is called for in the interest of tenant, irrespective of those of the landlord. Rich landlords are often willing to pay in the revenue demand, although there has been failure in harvest, because the power which this gives them over tanants who have statutary rights. Consideration for the interest of the tenants of an estate may necessiate suspension or remission of theland revenue, even where landlords do not wish for any such relief. It is only in cases where government cannot secure the suspension of rent for tenants that discrimination between rich and pooor landowners is permissible, and even in such cases only the following three classes may be excluded form the relief affirded by suspensions. Firstly, the men who are known to be bad landlors and rack-renters; secondly, those well-to-do landlords who can pay without imperilling their future solvency and thirdly the capitaliist, money-lending, and, professional classes who hold land purely as an investment. It may indeed be true, as pointed out by the famine commission of 1901 in paragraph 279 of their report, that many members of this last class are small men who speculate with borrowed capital; but there is no reason why they should not be held to their contract,and should not take risk if investment in the land as much as of any other form of investment. While however, authorizing the discrimination of these three classes of landlords in tracts where the extension of drelief to tenants cannot besecured, or where the rent is realized as a share of the produce, and thus is automatically adjusted to the outtun of the harvest, government at the same time recognizes invidious character of any arrangement by which relief granted tolandowners generally is denied to an occasional money-lender or retired government offficer who here and there may have invested his money in land, and it will, in their opinion, be wise to abandon any attempt at discrimination, except in areas where the classes to be discriminated represent a reasonable proportion of the landowners or own fairly large tracts of land. But, at the same time, the collector should remember that, while discrimination against people of th above three classes is not prohibited, the general rule should be that discrimination between individuals should not be attempted at this stage, but should be limited to villages or in comparatively rare cases to such patties or tarafs of villages, as are distinguished from one another in some marked way, either physically or by the caste o tribe of the landowners or mortagafes in possession. In such cases the washes of the village community should be ascertained, but the interests of the poorer, rather than those of the well-to-do, members of community lector should state brielfy the policy he has followed and the reasons for discrimination where he has done so.
563. The danger-rate (i) when suspensions have to be granted in a large scale, Collectors should always refer to the district suspension shceme drawn up under paragraph 554 of the Settlement Manual. For each district, and where necessary, for such assessment circle, and with the special permission of the of the Financial Commissioner, for smaller, areas, a danger-rate will have been framed by the settlement officer, or, if special orders have been given in this behalf, by the Collector.
(ii) The danger-rate is intended as a rough guide to the necessity for giving relief in insecure areas, and in no way supersedes the necessity for oral and general enquiries whereby the need for such action may be otherwise established. It is not meant that suspensions shall of course be confined to villages to which attention is called by the danger-rate or of necessity granted in such villages. Nor is it intended that the danger-rate should be used for the purpose of determinating the scale on which relief should be afforded. The relief will be granted in accordance with the crop standard referred to in paragraph 561 supra, after account has been taken of the considerations mentioned in (iii) infra. But it may safely be said that any village in an insecure tract in which at any harvest the incidence of the revenue instalment on the matured area equals or exceeds the danger-rate, should be inspected by a revenue officer, and the circumstances which bear on the question, whether relief should be allowed or not, should then be fully investigated.
(iii) Amongst these circumstances are the extent to which prices have risen since the land-revenue demand was framed by the settlement officer, the character of the preceding harvests and prospects of the next, the presence or absence of stocks for good or seed, the condition of the cattle, the kinds of crops grown whether for food, for fodder, or for sale, the character of the cultivation; whether dependent on rain, canals, river-spills, hill-torrents, or wells, the nature of the rents; whether in cash or kind, the migration, if any, of tenants, the relative importance of the kharif and rabi harvests, the power of expanding the area of cultivation, the presence or absence of sources of income other than the crop, such as grass, charcoal; the carrying trade, employment in cantonments, etc,. the size of holdings and the number of rent receivers not themselves cultivators-in short, all those circumstances which show the general condition of the landowners and their capacity to pay the revenue.
CAUTION : - READ SEPARATE PARA FOR PUNJAB AND HARYANA
564. Extraordinary grounds for relief. Under the head “extraordinary” fall such calamities as hailstorms and locusts. These are accidents which the settlement officer could not foresee or take account of when fixing the assessment of an estate. The assets are suddenly reduced by a cause which the husbandman is powerless to control. He has no means of recouping such losses, which are as likely to affect rich irrigated crops raised by a large outlay of money and labour as the cheap millets and pulses grown on roughly-tilled lands, of which the yield is normally insecure. In the case of a total and irrecoverable loss of which no account was taken in the arrangement made at settlement between the supreme landlord, the State and the landholders, it is but right that Government should forego its claim. Remission of the demand, rather than suspension, is required, and relief should be given to rich and poor alike because by the malignity of fortune the basis of the arrangement between Government and the revenue-payers has been disturbed. Pending receipt of orders sanctioning remission, the Collector should himself order suspensions. In deciding whether relief is necessary or not, and adequate discrimination between the persons concerned will be secured if regard is had not merely to the field affected, but to the property or holding in which it lies. If the field is cultivated by the owner, and the loss is small compared with the total income of his whole property, or if it is cultivated by a tenant, and the loss is small compared with the total income of the holding, no relief need be given.
565. Discrimination between holdings desirable. Fortunately hailstroms move in narrow, well defined lines, and the damage done by locusts is also likely to affect some holdings more than others. Relief therefore is as a rule required not for a whole estate, but only for particular holdings. The correct method of calculating remissions of land revenue necessitated by extraordinary calamities such as hailstorms, visitations of locusts, floods, and the like, is to apply the bachh rates worked out for each village concerned at settlement to the area actually damaged. No remission should be given if the amount so arrived at is less than one-fourth of the total land revenue of the holding.
566. Floods affecting lands not usually inundated. Heavy floods which destroy crops on lands not usually subject to destructive inundation may be classed as “extraordinary” calamities. But in this case the question may arise whether the water which has ruined the husbandman’s hopes in the autumn will not secure to him an unusally large spring crop. If so, there is no call for remission, and even suspension may be unnecessary.
567. Flooded lands under fluctuating assessment. The floods of the great rivers of the Punjab are so uncertain that, as already noted, it has in many cases been deemed wise to put the lands subject to their influence under a fluctuating assessment. Where the demand is calculated by applying acreage rates to the area of crops harvested, no question of suspension or remission usually arises. If serious loss occurs before after the harvest inspection owing to some sudden calamity, such as a hailstorms or a flood, a special inspection and assessment should be made. In riverain villages a heavy flood sometimes sweeps away crops after they have been garnered. If the damage is great, the loss should be estimated as well as possible, and a remission of part of the demand proposed. The amount to be remitted obviously should not exceed the revenue which would have been due on account of the area on which the crops that have been lost were grown. The yield per acre can be roughly determined, and the calculation then becomes a simple one. Where the assessment is partly fixed and partly fluctuating, it will be found that in a normal year the fixed part of the demand is not a large fraction of the whole. Even so, it may be prudent to suspend it in an exceptionally bad season, or when a succession of poor harvests has depressed the agriculturists. But mixed systems of assessment are not now much in favour.
568. Relief to tenants. Section 30 of Punjab Tenancy Act (XVI of 1887) provides that in the case of tenants who pay fixed rent in cash or kind the order of a duly empowered revenue officer (Collector or Assistant Collector of the first grade see section 76(2) of the Act) is required to secure to the tenants the benefit of the relief granted to the Land Lords. A separate order of this description for each tenancy is not necessary. A general order may be passed applicable to a whole estate or to an area in respect of which suspension or remission has been allowed. The matter is left to the discretion of the revenue officer. In considering whether he should pass an order suspending or remitting the payment of rent by a tenant-at-will, he should carefully consider whether the issue of such an order is desirable in the interests of both the parties; but more especially of the tenant.
(ii) It will be observed that, when the Collector orders recovery of suspended revenue, any rent of which the payment has been suspended in consequence of the order suspending the revenue becomes realizable from the tenant. In the case of tenants who have not occupancy rights, landlords may find difficulties in realizing suspended rents. The likelihood of such difficulties might constitute a special reason for the revenue officer refusing to pass an order suspending the rent when the revenue is being suspended, but such an order should be refused in very exceptional cases only.
(iii) If a landlord collects from a tenant rent of which the payment has been remitted or is under suspension, section 30 gives the power to realize from the landlord, and refund to the tenant, the rent so realized , and it gives the further power of realizing from the landlord by way of penalty an amount equal to the rent so realized and refunded. It should be recognized that the power of imposing a panelty is to be used with some discrimination. A landlord might be willing enough to recognize the justice of requiring him to refund to a tenant rent which he had improperly realized, but might resent the imposition of the penalty and endeavour to visit his dissatisfaction on the tenant. In deciding whether the penalty should be imposed in any case, the revenue officer should consider the possible effects on the relations between the landlord and tenant; in many cases it would obviously be to the disadvantage of the tenant that the landlord should regard him as being the cause of his punishment. In the case of kind rents other than those mentioned above, no orders are required because, where the landlord takes a fractional share of the crop, the tenant gets relief automatically.
CAUTION : - READ SEPARATE PARA FOR PUNJAB AND HARYANA
569. Procedure in case of suspensions and remissions - The grant of suspensions is a matter within the discretion of the Deputy Commissioner. But the action taken must be reported at once to the Commissioner, who may cancel or modify the orders of his subordinate. The district suspension statement is forwarded to the Financial Commissioner for information after the Commissioner has recorded his orders on it and communicated them to the Deputy Commissioner. Even when the Deputy Commissioner thinks that remissions should be given at once, he ought as a first step to pass orders suspending the collection of the revenue. Commissioners may sanction immediate remission of land revenue in any harvest due to locusts, flood and hail and the like in the harvest for which the land revenue is due up to a limit of Rs. 1,000 per district. They may sanction remission of revenue which has been under suspension for more than three harvests (paragraph 576 infra), upto a limit of Rs. 10,000 for one harvest per district, if they are satisfied that since the revenue was suspended due diligence has been shown in collection. Remissions sanctioned by Commissioners must be reported at once for the Financial Commissioner information. The Financial Commissioner may sanction remission without limit.
570. Procedure in case of suspensions and remissions - The grant of suspensions is a matter within the discretion of the Deputy Commissioner. But the action taken must be reported at once to the Commissioner, who may cancel or modify the orders of his subordinate. The district suspension statement is forwarded to the Financial Commissioner for information after the Commissioner has recorded his orders on that and communicated them to the Deputy Commissioner. Even when the deputy commissioner thinks that remissions should be given at once, he ought as a first step to pass orders suspending the collection of revenue. The recovery of land revenue/land holding tax/abiana should be suspended forthwith by the deputy commissioner/executive engineer till final orders for remission are passed.
The deputy commissioner/executive engineer is competent to sanction remission of land revenue/land holding tax/abiana without limit.
The remission of land revenue/land holding tax/abiana shall be granted as follows:-
(1) where the loss exceeds 50%, there should be full remission of land revenue/land holdings tax/abiana except in case of abiana on suger-cane crop in which case the remission shall be 50%.
(2) Where the loss between 25% to 50%, the remission of land revenue/land holding tax/ abiana should be 75% except in case of abiana as on the crops of till, chillies, mash and maize sown in the month of august, in which case there shall be full remission.”
570A. Suspended revenue usually realized - Though there are circumstances under which suspension ought to be merely a preliminary to remission, and others in which the attempt to collect arrears should after full trial be abandoned, the general rule is that suspended revenue shall be recovered whenever the return of better seasons permits. If the expectation that the landowners would in bad years meet their obligations from the stored-up surplus of past harvests has had in too many cases perforce to be abandoned, there is the more reason for recovering from the abundance of future years the amount which the State is compelled to forego in the present (See the orders of the Government of India on the Rohtak Settlement Report (Revenue Proceedings of September 1882); also paragraphs 7 and 8 of Government of India circular No. 58, dated 18th October 1882). As in the case of suspensions, the Collector is required to take account of the value of the crop harvested, as well as of the area and outturn, so, in considering the extent to which recoveries of suspended revenue can be made, it is necessary not to overlook any rise in prices which may have occurred since settlement, and which may cause the value of the estimated produce of subsequent harvests to be materially greater than that which the settlement officer adopted for assessment purposes.
571. Care required in recovery of arrears.- Prudence in the realization of suspended revenue is not less important than prudence in the grant of suspension, and it is a matter in which mistakes are just as likely to occur. It has sometimes been asserted that landowners set no store by suspensions, coupled with an obligation to pay the arrears so created in the future. Where this feeling exists, it has generally sprung from past experience of ill-considered action in the matter of the recovery of balances. The old practice of fixing in the suspension order the instalments by which the arrear was to be liquidated was a direct encouragement to such action, and has therefore been forbidden.
572. Instructions on subject. Recovery of suspended revenue after famine.- The following instructions have been issued on the subjects :-
(1) When, owing to famine or widespread calamity, suspension have been made on a large scale, the people affected should ordinarily be allowed to reap the full benefit to the first good crop or average harvest following the famine or calamity, and should be required to pay nothing for it beyond the current dues of the harvest, no arrears of revenue being collected until the second average crop subsequent to such a calamity as is now under contemplation has been reaped;
(2) Limit in terms of land revenue.- For every district, and, where, necessary, for every tract in a district which has distinguishing physical features of its own affecting agriculture and the otturn of crops, a limit shall be prescribed in terms of the land revenue for the time being assessed within which suspended revenue may be collected with any instalment, in addition to the current demand. This will be fixed by the settlement officer at settlement with the sanction of higher authority, or, under special orders by the Deputy Commissioner with like sanction at other times. The rabi and kharif harvests, respectively, but must be fixed for each harvest.
(3) Exceptions to rule (i).- It is recognised that there may be tracts where the first of these rules would be unnecessarily liberal owing to the leniency of the fixed demand and the exceptional fertility of the soil in good years. On the other hand, these circumstances will have been taken into account in fixing the limit referred to in the second of the two rules. It may therefore conceivably be better in such a tract to collect a small amount of suspended revenue with the first good or average crop after the calamity, and to take a somewhat smaller amount with the second. Proposals for limiting the operation of rule (i) should be included by settlement officer in the scheme for suspensions which it is their duty to drawn up(vide paragraph 554 of the Settlement Manual), or should be made by the Deputy Commissioner, if at any time specially instructed in this behalf.
No special charge can be levied on Muabi Land.
573. Differential treatment in collecting suspended revenue of rich and poor landowners - (1) When, owing to famine or widespread scarcity suspensions have had to be made on a large scale, no differentiation between rich and poor revenue payers will have been made, but in making proposals subsequently for their collection; differentiation between individuals may be necessary. A distinction should, in the first place, be drawn between the classes who cultivate the soil, whether as owner or as Government occupants or tenants, and the landlord class who hold estates which are cultivated by tenants. A man need not be excluded from the former class merely, because is holding is somewhat too large for him to cultivate himself and a portion of it is in the hands of tenants, nor should the fact that a landowner who is in the main a rent receiver, cultivates his own home farm, transfer him from the latter to the former class; and it will not, as a rule, be difficult to distinguish the two classes with fair accuracy. Of course no discrimination between one kind of revenue payers and another should be made in the case of persons belonging to the cultivating class. But suspended revenue should always be collected form the classes of land- lords described in paragraph 562 supra if the rent of their tenants has not to be remitted.
(ii) Report on policy followed. In reporting his proposals to the Commissioner, the Collector should state briefly the policy he has followed, and in cases where he has made a difference between the rich and poor, the extent to which the difference has been made.
574. Procedure in realization of arrears. A Deputy Commissioner is required, at least one month before the first instalment of the revenue of each harvest falls due, to consider the circumstances of every estate in which there are arrears due to suspensions and decide what portion, if any, of the balance can be recovered in, addition to the demand of that harvest. He should issue the necessary orders, and put them in force. The orders, and the reasons for them are embodied in a statement which is sent to the Commissioner, who modifies them, if he thinks fit, and forwards the statement to the Financial Commissioner for information. It is for the Commissioner to see that the report of each district reaches him not later than one month before the first instalment of the land revenue falls due, and that it contains a sufficient explanation of the orders issued with reference to the circumstances of the current harvest.
575. Remarks on the suspension of fixed land revenue and the remission and realization of arrears. In districts where suspensions are frequent it will usually be advisable for the Deputy Commissioner to meet, at each tahsil headquarters, the Sub-Divisional Officer or Revenue Assistant, the tahsildars, naib tahsildars, and in exceptional cases, important landholders of the area concerned, and discuss with them informally, zail by zail, the suspension, remission or collection papers. This will enable the Collector not only to know the villages of his district, but also to learn the worth of his various assistant, official and non-official. In deciding what arrears, if any, can be collected, and to ensure the equitable working of the schemes prepared at settlement, the incidence of the current demand plus the arrears proposed to be realized on the area matured crops should be compared with the normal incidence in past years. (See columns 23 and 24 of the Abstract Village Note Book.) The office kanungo will check any statement made with regard to previous harvests or any other points raised, and, with the Settlement Officer’s notes and statistics contained in the village abstract note-books and Lal Kitab before him, the Collector will easily decide what each village can really pay, especially where he is able to correct his opinion by what he or the Revenue Assistant or Sub-Divisional Officer has seen of the village in his tour. It is possible that new villlages may be mentioned, for which papers will need to be prepared. It is specially desirable to inspect villages where permanent deterioration may justify the remedy described in paragraph 582 below.
The amount to be recovered should always be expressed at so many annas in the rupee of the full demand of the harvest in regard to which the suspension was sanctioned. Collections should always be first applied to meet the current demand.
576. Remission of arrears (i) It has been usual in the Punjab, in case of ordinary calamities of season, to suspend revenue first; and, if the experience of three years has proved that it cannot prudently be recovered within that time, to remit the arrears then outstanding Government has, however, now decided that the question of the remission of the outstanding arrears should be taken into consideration after the laps of three harvests if it has not been found possible to recover them during his period, not- withstanding due diligence on the part of the Collector. It should not however, be considered hard-and-fast rule that in the case of ordinary calamities, remission shall under no circumstances be given immediately, or, on the other hand, that all arrears must be wiped out which remain unrealized for three harvests. In unirrigated tracts with large holdings no harm will be done by keeping the account open for more than three harvests if care is taken to cover more than the current demand only when this can be done without hardship to the people. But large arrears ought not to be kept hanging over the heads of landowners for an indefinite period. In future, in estates in which the land revenue has been suspended, and has not been recovered for three harvests, the crop statistics of those three harvests should be invariably examined with particular care at the next harvest, together with the statistics of that harvest and the Collector should decide whether any of the accumulated land revenue can prudently be recovered and, if so, how much, of whether any part of it should be remitted.
In connection with the working of the three harvests rule it is first necessary to make clear how the three harvests in question are to be calculated. The easiest way to do this is by a concrete example. Let it be assumed that a Collector is considering, when all the figures of the rabi 1930 crop are before him, whether he should propose any remissions of suspended revenue of preceding harvests. The latest harvest he can consider in this connection is kharif 1928.
But, however bad the intervening harvests may have been in the villages under consideration, if the greater part of the annual land revenue demand on them and of their annual cropping falls in the kharif, he should not propose any remission of land revenue suspended from kharif 1928, or earlier, with the rabi harvest 1930; he should wait till the following kharif to consider the matter seriously. To this point particular importance is directed.
If, however, the incidence both of annual land revenue demand and annual cropping of the villages in question is fairly equally divided between the kharif and rabi harvests, he should, when dealing with past arrears of suspended revenue, take the following points into consideration-
(a) whether any money due on account of past suspended arrears for any harvest can be recovered with the present demand;
(b) whether all or any part of those arrears should remain under suspension; or
(c) whether he should recommend for remission any portion of the demand suspended from kharif 1928; no later.
And, in arriving at a decision on these important points, he should of course be guided by the settlement statistics of the village in question and their crop figures and other relevant statistics for the harvests from kharif 1928 to rabi 1930. It may well be that, having done so, the Collector will decide not to recommend remission at once but to leave the arrears, even though they may have been under suspension from kharif 1928, under suspension for yet another harvest or even more. Such a decision would be in no way contrary to these instructions. The principle object Government is aiming at in this matter is to prevent large burdens of suspensions accumulating against villages over a group of harvests.”
(ii) General conditions regarding scale of remissions. In the case of fully-assessed tracts with an out-turn which is fairly constant, the amount of revenue under suspension at any given time should ordinarily be limited to the equivalent of the revenue demand of an ordinary year. In this case it would not follow that, when suspensions exceeded the limit, the whole amount suspended should be remitted, and, logically speaking, only the balance by which they were in excess should be so dealt with. But, in the case of calamities so severe as to call for heavy suspensions, greater liberality than this will no doubt be desirable. An absolute and general rule that the amount under suspension should never exceed a year’s revenue would be open to objection; since there are many areas of fertile soil, where there is no irrigation and the rainfall is uncertain in amount, and where, on account of this uncertainty, the revenue is pitched so low, that in a really bumper year the people could pay very much more than the revenue assessed without the slightest inconvenience.
(iii) Special scale for districts. In deciding whether to propose the remission of the arrears of any particular harvest or harvests in an estate the Collector should consider-
(a) the proportion which the total of all outstanding arrears bears to the annual land revenue of the estate,
(b) The length of time during which, not withstanding due diligence, the arrear of the particular harvest or harvests has remained outstanding.
In the case of closely-cultivated and fully-assessed tracts where the holdings are small, it will often be right, when the arrears exceed one year’s demand, to remit a portion of them, even though the arrears have not been outstanding for three harvests in the case of precarious barani tracts; where the surplus of good years is very large, and the revenue rates are low, the mere fact that arrears exceed one year’s demand, or have been outstanding for three harvests, is not a sufficient reason for remission. In such tracts good and bad seasons often come in cycles, and the main point is to see that, in the case both of the current demand and of arrears, collections are only made of when the people have the wherewithal to pay. The details of these arrangements will be settled for each district in which suspensions on a large scale are likely to occur.
(iv) Remission of arrears in the case of fluctuating and fixed assessments- When in any tract a system of fluctuating assessment is introduced at resettlement, it is usual to remit all outstanding balances of suspended land revenue on the ground that the new fluctuating assessment is supposed to be adapted to the assets of each harvest, and should not therefore, be increased. But, in the case of fixed assessment, this condition does not apply; and, although it is true that Government contemplates taking a certain sum within the term of years for which the settlement runs, this principle applies equally to the expiring as to the new, settlement. As regards fixed assessments, therefore, the only case in which the general principle that all arrears should be remitted on the introduction of a new assessment can be accepted is when the revision (whether of a tract or of an individual village) has resulted in a material reduction of the fixed demand. In such a case there is a practical admission that the previous demand was too high, and the arrears should invariably be remitted. All other cases will be dealt with on their merits, though; if proposals for remission are made immediately after a revision of assessment, they will be treated with somewhat greater leniency than in ordinary cases, especially in the case of estates which are themselves, apart from general seasonal calamities, weak estates. When reporting the collections of suspended revenue which he proposes to make with the rabi installment, the Deputy Commissioner should also report any recommendation he has to make regarding the remission of arrears.
577. Control by Commissioner- The initiative, which the Deputy Commissioner exercises in regard to suspensions and the collection of arrears is subject to the strict control of the Commissioner. The latter has necessarily a wide experience than most of his deputies, some of whom are sure to be very junior officers. The charge of divisions changes far less often than that of districts. A Commissioner, therefore, should be able to supply the ripe judgement and some times even the local knowledge which a subordinate may lack, and can exert his influence to ensure that the policy pursued in different districts, where similar conditions exist, shall follow broadly the same lines. If the question of suspension and of the recovery of arrears is fully discussed with Deputy Commissioners should be necessary, Government expects the Commissioner’s control of the matters dealt with in this chapter to be strict, and that he will not hesitate to modify the Deputy Commissioner’s orders, both as regards suspension, and collection, if they appear to be ill-considered or not in accord with the instructions on the subject. Where the crop has been markedly inferior, Commissioners should place themselves in close communication with their Collectors at an early period of the harvest with a view to determining what measures of relief generally will be necessary. This is particularly necessary in the case of junior officers and those who have not had much revenue experience.
1Financial Commissioner’s circular letter No. 3 dated 20th April, 1907, and Punjab Government notification No. 157-Revenue, dated 18th duly, 1907. See as to the village headman’s pachotra, paragraph 308, and as to the zaildar’s inam, paragraph 341 of this manual.
(2) Local rate on fluctuating land revenue is calculated on the amount assessed according to rates fixed at settlement and therefore is not affected by the grant of special remission.
579. Survey of Deputy Commissioner as regards detection of deterioration of estates- So far, we have dealing with evils of a temporary nature which can be met by resorting to suspensions, and in extreme cases to remissions of the demand of particular harvests. But, where estates are met with in which the revenue is always collected with difficulty, it is necessary to enquire whether some more drastic remedy is not wanted. The fact that the Director of Land Records is bound to specially watch tracts in which symptoms of deteriorating appear in no way absolves the Deputy Commissioner from the duty of himself detecting at an early stage signs of decay in any part of his district whether in a single estate or in groups of villages, large or small. And, the fact of depression being proved a persistent endeavor must be made to find out and apply the proper remedy.
580. Nature of enquiry- As regards each village affected, the first step to take is to study the settlement officer’s note concerning it and the grounds of its assessment. The next is to trace its later history, as evidenced by the annual statements, especially the area, crop and ownership statements, in the village notebook. The Deputy Commissioner may be fortunate enough to find remarks by some of his predecessors or their subordinates on the state of the village in their time1. Having thus, got a clear idea of the facts so far as they have been recorded, and having heard what the tahsildar and the Revenue Assistant have to say, he will be in a position to make an enquiry on the spot. He may find-
(a) that the demand imposed at settlement was from the first too high, and that there has been no growth of assets to make its present incidence fair;
(b) that the demand was originally fair, but has ceased to be so because the assets have fallen off; or
1. See paragraphs 404 and 407 of this manual.
581. Reduction on account of over assessment-If the assessment of a tract as a whole has worked well, a prudent man will be slow to conclude that the settlement officer failed to gauge the resources of a particular estate. But, once he is satisfied that over assessment exists, he should not hesitate to report the fact and propose a reduction. To maintain an excessive demand is unjust to the people and discreditable to the administration. It is also the surest way of involving Government in ultimate pecuniary loss. There is a tendency to think that any revision of assessment, even though it affects but a single village, must be a difficult and intricate business. As a matter of fact, it ought to be extremely simple. This elaborate calculations of the value of one fourth net assets made at a general reassessment are out of place. It is enough to show that the demand is high compared with that of similar estates in the neighbourhood, whose fiscal history proves that they are properly assessed, and to lower it sufficiently to make its incidence fair as judged by that standard. Care should, however, be taken that the land revenue imposed on such land does not raise the total assessment of the circle in which it is situated to more than one fourth of the net assets of the circle.
582. Action where difficulty springs from reduction of assets- Where an assessment originally just has become burden some through a fall in assets, the Deputy Commissioner should ascertain whether the deterioration is due to any lasting or incurable cause, or to one which the landowners can be helped to remedy. In the former case only will he propose to lower the revenue, with due regard to section 48B of the Punjab Land Revenue Act, 1887. Where the evil can be cured, it is his duty to nurse the estate, helping the landowners to effect improvements by the grant of takavi, and during the period of restoration suspending or proposing to remit, revenue in harvests in which relief is really required.
583. Action where difficulty is due to misconduct of landowners- Where the assets are sufficient but the people are idle and bad revenue payers, they should be treated with firmness. The headmen may be the persons at fault. The action to be taken in such cases has been noticed in paragraphs 518 and 519 supra. If the headman can show that some of the shareholders are to blame, the coercive provisions of the Land Revenue Act should be firmly applied.
LAND REVENUE ACCOUNTS
584. Means of checking collection of land revenue good-The machinery for checking the collection of land revenue and cesses is excellent and if used with care and intelligence, it is easy to prevent fraud and to enforce punctuality. It need only be dealt with very briefly here. For details the reader must refer to Financial Commissioner’s Standing Order No. 31.
585. Accounts kept by agricultural year- All general assessments are made for, and all revenue accounts are kept by, the agricultural year opening with the kharif and closing with the rabi, and for the purpose of collection and balance statements this year is considered to begin on the Ist of October.
586. Classification of land revenue-In revenue accounts land revenue is classified as fixed fluctuating, and miscellaneous.
587. Fixed land revenue-The meaning of the first two terms as applied to village assessments has been explained in the XXVIIth chapter of the Settlement Manual. But their signification for account purposes is somewhat wider. Thus, “fixed land revenue” includes not only the fixed assessments of estates announced by a settlement officer but also the income from Government lands leased for a term of years. Of course what a tenant of the State pays for such land is rent and not land revenue. But it is important to bring on the fixed land revenue roll all items which do not vary from year to year, in order that their realization may be subject to a strict check. As a matter of convenience rents of Government lands generally take the form of a land revenue assessment with the addition of a malikana or proprietary fee.
588. Fluctuating land revenue-“Fluctuating land revenue”falls under two main heads-
(a) items permanently excluded from the fixed land revenue roll; and
(b) items temporarily excluded from it.
1. See paragraph 531-533 of this manual.
589. Miscellaneous land revenue-“Miscellaneous land revenue”is the head under which are grouped receipts of various kinds, some of which are not connected with the land at all.
One important head is tirni or the income from fees levied for grazing in the vast tracts of Government waste lands, which are so marked a feature of some of the south western districts.
590. Accurate demand statement necessary- To ensure the regular collection of the revenue it is essential to have accurate demand statements drawn up yearly and periodical returns of collections and balances. It will be the simplest plan to notice separately the procedure as to each of the three main heads of account.
591. Fixed land revenue roll- The demand statement is known as the land revenue roll or in the vernacular as the kistbandi. When a general re-assessment of a district has been finished there is no difficulty in drawing up an accurate kistbandi showing the demand for the whole district on account of fixed land revenue. After the Commissioner has sanctioned the new jamas reported in the detailed village assessment statement2 the settlement officer prepares-
(a) a comparative demand statement showing the fixed assessments of each estate for the last year of the old and for the first year of the new, settlement; and
2. See appendix XVII of Settlement Manual.
1. For further particulars see appendix XVIII of the Settlement Manual.
594. Detailed fixed land revenue roll of tahsil- As soon as possible after the Ist of September each tahsildar has prepared for his own tahsil a detailed kistbandi, which shows the fixed land revenue, both khalsa and assigned, and the local rate payable by the landowners of each estate and the service commutation, if any, due from jagirdars. This is sent to the district office, where it is checked by the sadr wasil baki navis, countersigned by the Deputy Commissioner, and returned to the tahsildar before the Ist of October. It is then the duty of the tahsildar to collect at the times when the different instalments fall due the amounts shown in the statement. It is a matter of practical importance that the kistbandis received from the tahsils should be returned to the tahsildars by the Ist of October, for the demand statements in all the khataunis should be filled up as regards the principal items, fixed land revenue and cesses, before the first instalment of the kharif demand falls due.1
1. See paragraph 507.
595. Abstract district revenue roll-With the help of the detailed tahsil kistbandi an abstract land revenue roll showing the total demand for the district is drawn up and submitted through the Commissioner to the financial Commissioner for sanction. A memorandum of increases and decreases as compared with the kistbandi of the previous year is appended to the roll, an order of the Financial Commissioner being quoted as the authority for each change. It is, therefore, very easy to check the roll and difficult to falsify it.
596. The tauzih-Each tahsildar submits monthly to the Deputy Commissioner a tauzih or collection statement showing the progress made in the realization of the land revenue, fixed, fluctuating and miscellaneous, and the balances remaining for recovery. An abstract of these statements is sent to the Commissioner’s office. If the Deputy Commissioner examines this with care before signing it he can see at once whether the collections are backward anywhere and a very little enquiry will elicit the reason. With the tauzih of the month in which the last instalment of the revenue of either the kharif or rabi harvest falls due, a village list of balances of fixed land revenue for that harvest is send up. In the last column of this statement the cause of each balance ought to be briefly explained. Here therefore the Deputy Commissioner ought to find what he wants. When the tauzih has been disposed of, the village list of balances is returned to the tahsil and resubmitted with the necessary corrections with each succeeding tauzih till the balances have been realized. The district revenue accountant should understand that it is his duty to scrutinize these statements of balances, and himself bring cases of unpunctuality to the Deputy Commissioner’s notice.
597. Inspection of tahsil revenue accounts by Deputy Commissioner- At least once in the year the Deputy Commissioner should himself thoroughly overhaul the revenue accounts in every tahsil office. Where this duty is efficiently performed, and the tahsil establishment sees that the head of the district understands the method of check and the uses of the different registers and returns, and cannot be put off with perfunctory explanations, peculation will not be attempted, accounts will not be fudged, and any tendency to slackness in collection will be checked.
598. Duty of Commissioner as regards collections-The abstract tauzih forwarded to the Commissioner’s office should be carefully scrutinized there before it is sent to the Financial Commissioner. All the necessary control over the progress of the land revenue collections of a division should be exercised by the Commissioner and interference on the part of the Financial Commissioner ought not to be required.
599. Balances of fixed land revenue-During the year causes are sure to arise which justify the failure to collect some part, great or small, of the demand shown in the fixed land revenue roll. A bad harvest may make it imperative to suspend a portion of it. Again land under assessment may be destroyed by river action or purchased by the State. Properly speaking, there are only two classes of balances, “recoverable” and “irrecoverable” but a third class is recognized under the name of “undetermined”.
600. “Recoverable” balances-A “recoverable” balance is an arrear which has arisen either because the collection of part of the demand has been suspended by order of the Deputy Commissioner, or because the tahsildar has failed to realize revenue as regards which no such order exists. If at the end of the year there are large recoverable arrears not “under suspension” one of two things must have happened. Either the Deputy Commissioner must have failed to suspend revenue which he ought to have suspended or he has not enforced punctuality on the part of his subordinates. If enquiry shows that the former is really the case, only a weak man will hesitate to repair the blunder by passing the necessary suspension order and reporting to the Commissioner the action taken.
601. Notes on balances in March and September tauzihs-On the tauzih for the month of March the Deputy Commissioner records a brief note showing what part of the balance of the kharif revenue shown is recoverable, and how much of this is under suspension. If a recoverable balance not “under suspension” exists, the reason should be explained. A similar note as to the balances of both harvest should be added to the tauzih for the month of September.
602. “Irrecoverable” balances-“Irrecoverable” balances consist of arrears for whose remission an order of the Financial Commissioner has already been obtained. Familiar examples are the orders passed on diluvion returns or on the annual statement showing reductions of revenue on account of the acquisition of land for public purposes. Or again sanction may have been given to the remission of revenue previously under suspension.
603. “Undetermined” balances-“Undetermined” balances are simply balances which are in reality irrecoverable, but show remission has not yet been sanctioned by the Financial Commissioner.
604. Balance statements-As soon as possible after the end of September reports on the balances of the year which has just closed and on those of previous years are sent to the Commissioner. The object of these statements is to obtain the sanction of the Financial Commissioner for clearing the accounts of balances which cannot be realized. The executive order remitting revenue must be distinguished from the audit order to strike off a balance. The latter cannot be dispensed with, though it is the necessary sequel of the former.
605. Demand statements of fluctuating land revenue-When the assessment is a fluctuating one determined by the application of money rates to the acreage of crops which have come to maturity, demand statements are submitted after each harvest to the Financial Commissioner. The demand for the whole year cannot be determined till the spring crop is ripe.
606. Demand statement of miscellaneous land revenue-In the case of miscellaneous land revenue the demand statement drawn up at the beginning of the year is a mere estimate which is useless for audit purposes. The amount due under most heads cannot be known when the return is prepared, and in some cases is only ascertained at the end of the year. But, as it is essential to secure that check on collections which an accurate record of the demand supplies, a running register is kept up both in the district office and in each tahsil, in which every item of demand is posted as soon as it is known. The total under each head at the end of every month represents the demand to date. The form of this register will be found in paragraph 29 of Financial Commissioner’s Standing Order No.31. A single example will explain its use. One head of account in the register is “lapsed revenue free holdings”. Under this are columns to show the demand and the collections. As soon as the deputy Commissioner has ordered the resumption of an assignment, the file is sent to the sadr wasil baki navis, who makes the necessary entry in this copy of the running register, and notes that he has done so. The file is then sent to the tahsil, where the tahsil wasil baki navis does the same. No file, which contains an order creating a demand on account of miscellaneous land revenue, is accepted in the record room without notes by the district and tahsil revenue accountants showing that the demand has been brought to record. The entry in the register is the tahsildar’s authority for collecting the amount.
607. Tauzihs of fluctuating and miscellaneous land revenue-The demand collections and balances under the different heads of fluctuating and miscellaneous land revenue are shown in separate parts of the monthly tauzih referred to in paragraph 596. In the case of miscellaneous land revenue the demand entered is the total to date as given in the running register.
608. Balance statements of fluctuating and miscellaneous land revenue-As irrecoverable balances of fluctuating and other land revenue are remitted only and not also struck off by separate order, it is unnecessary to submit balance statements for such demands, the balances will be sufficiently reported in the tauzih. Commissioners are competent to remit balances of such revenue and, where such remissions are required, Deputy Commissioners should obtain the necessary sanction upon a special report.
609. Mutation fees-The accounts relating to mutation fees are audited by the Director of Land Records.
BOOK V.- State Aid to Landowners.
STATE LOANS TO AGRICULTURISTS.
610. Large improvements must be made by Government. In a Country in which the prevailing land tenure is the ownership of the soil in small parcels by peasants who till their own fields, improvements involving a large expenditure of capital must be made at the cost of the State. To this class belong the great perennial canals, which are a special feature of the Punjab, and have enormously increased its produce. But in addition the peasant proprietors of the province have, at their own cost since annexation, vastly improved their holdings in many ways, and especially by the construction of wells.
611. Duty of State with reference to improvements made by landowners. It is at once the duty and the interest of the State so to regulate its land revenue assessments as to ensure that improving landowners shall obtain a proper return for their expenditure. It is equally its interest and its duty to advance money for improvements if landowners find it hard to raise loans for that purpose in the open market. The former branch of the subject is dealt with in paragraphs 501-508 of the Settlement Manual; the latter will be discussed in the present chapter.
612. Why Government loans are necessary. It is notorious that in India, even solvent and industrious landowners can only obtain private loans on very burdensome terms as regards interest. Accordingly the British Government, following the example of Indian administrations ( Thomason’s Directions for Collectors, edition of 1858, paragraph 45.) has stepped into the breach, and offered loans for agricultural improvements at a moderate rate of interest fixed with a view, not of bringing profit to the treasury, but merely of securing it against the risk of loss. Such State loans are known as taccavi.
613. Early rules on the subject. The grant of agricultural loans to private persons was a feature of our Indian administration from a very early date. Section XXII of Bengal Regulation II of 1793 forbade Collectors to advance money on account of taccavi without the express sanction of the Board of Revenue and section XL of Regulation XIV of 1793 provided that “arrears of taccavi, of any money advanced by Government to proprietors…………..for making or repairing embankments, reservoirs, or water-courses, of other improvements to their estates” might be recovered as if they were arrears of land revenue. Soon after the annexation of the Punjab the Board of Administration announced that it was prepared to sanction advances for the repair of old wells, for the sinking of new ones, and for the excavation of water-courses ( Board of Administration circular No. 41 of 1850.). The power of sanctioning taccavi for works of permanent utility was delegated to Commissioner, but they had no power to give loans for the purchase of bullocks or seed ( Board of Administration circular No. 13 of 1851.).
614. System discredited in 1859. Seven or eight years later the system had become discredited owing to want of care in working it, and orders were issued to the effect that “the Lieutenant-Governor desires to discourage such advances as much as possible, and in particular deprecates their being made to impoverished villages suffering from over-assessment and entitled to a reduction of revenue, and that hence- forth no taccavi advance shall be made except in cases where security for prompt repayment can be obtained.” (Book Circular LXXIV of 1859). The remarks on the subject in Cust’s Revenue Manual are coloured by the economic doctrine of laisser aller in farvour 60 odd year ago.
He wrote: -
“Undue interference with the landowners, though with the best intentions, is to be deprecated and generally fails…. It is notorious that every village has its banker and….. as along as credit exists, so long will advances for purely agricultural purposes in ordinary times and in ordinary cases be forthcoming, and the Government had better leave the matter alone…… As a general rule the practice should be discouraged; it is one for exceptional periods, and in a newly conquered country. The people should be left to their own resources and credit as regards works of permanent utility. Advances for bullocks and seed are wholly to be condemned. In a financial point of view it must be remembered that we are paying 5%, for the money advanced, and there is no necessity for the sacrifice( Cust’s Revenue Manual) pages 135-138.).
These views have long since been abandoned.
The Government of India resolution No. 6-204-16, dated 30th November, 1905, in which a very liberal taccavi policy is advocated contains the following note of warning: -
“The Governor-General in Council thinks it necessary to utter a word of caution against what he considers to be a very real and practical danger, namely, the danger of creating , by too active a policy, a forced and spurious demand for these advances. Even under the most favourable circumstances irrigated cultivation requires, at all events in the case of wells, more capital then dry cultivation; and in many parts of the country, where the wells are costly and their results uncertain, and where physical conditions make it possible to irrigate only a small area from each well, only the highest form of cultivation, which entails very considerable annual expenditure, is likely to be profitable. In such a case it is worst than useless to encourage a peasant to contract a debt for the construction of a well, the profitable working of which is beyond his resources; and the Government of India, while they are anxious to see the system of advances administered in a sympathetic spirit and made as simple and liberal and elastic as possible, trust that no excessive inducements will be held out to individuals to apply for loans which they may find it difficult to repay, and that any increase of demand will be spontaneous and therefore healthy.” (Government of India , Revenue and Agricultural resolution No. 6-204-16 , dated 30th November , 1905 paragraph 15.)
615. Act XXVI of 1871. The first legal enactment on the subject of loans for agricultural improvements, which affected the Punjab was passed in 1871 (Act XXVI of 1871). The verdict on the working of this Act passed by the Famine Commission of 1880 was that “it has failed to realize the intention of promoting improvements ,and that there is a very general reluctance to make use of its provisions . The sums which have been advanced under the Act are extremely small , and bear no proportion whatever to the need which the country has of capital to carry out material improvements.” Act XXVI of 1871 and the rules under it were needlessly complicated, but it may be doubted whether the failure on which the Famine Commissioners commented was due to that cause. Taccavi loans will be popular where they are obtainable without much trouble, and without payment of many douceurs to the underlings of the revenue department, and where the recovery of the instalments is made with consideration in seasons of scarcity. These requirements depend mainly not on the provisions of any Act or rules, but on the willingness of those responsible for their working of to take pains and to exercise a watchful supervision over the proceedings of their subordinates.
616. Act XIX OF 1883. The Act on the subject now in force is Act XIXof1883. It is a short and simple enactment, and leaves much to be provided for by rules to be issued by the local Government. (Section 10 of Act XIX of 1883.)
617. Persons to whom loans may be made. Loans may be granted for the purpose of making an improvement “to any person having a right” to make that improvement, or, with the consent of that person, to any other person. (Section 4(1). As regards the right tenants to make improvements see paragraphs 70,71 and 72 of this manual.) The 9th section also provides for loans to several persons or to all the members of a village community on their joint liability. In the 7th paragraph of resolution No. 6-204-16, dated 30th November 1905, the Government of India strongly endorsed the “opinion recorded by the Irrigation Commission (of 1903) that the joint personal security of several persons may often be accepted as sufficient to ensure the repayment of a loan, and recommend for the consideration of local Governments the rule now in force in Madras to the effect that when a loan is applied for by the members of a village community or by a group of cultivators on their joint personal security, the Collector may, at his discretion, advance on such security an amount not exceeding five times the annual assessment of the land held by the applicants.”
618. Definition of “improvements”. The definition of “improvement” is a wide one and covers much the same ground as that contained in the Tenancy Act ( Section 4(2) compare paragraph 75 of this manual). It may be expanded by notification so as to include “such other works as the Local Government, may, from time to time, by notification in the local Gazette, declare to be improvements.”(Section 4(2)(f).) The vast majority of the improvements for which loans are taken come under the first clause of the definition , namely, the construction of wells, tanks, and other works for the storage , supply, or distribution of water for the purposes of agriculture, or for the use of men and cattle employed in agriculture. (Section 4(2) (a) of Act XIX of 1883.)
619. Period for repayment. The period allowed for repayment is ample. It “shall not ordinarily exceed thirty –five years” from the date on which the loan has been completely taken up. The Punjab rules, however, reduce this period to twenty years (Section 6 and paragraph 15 of Financial Commissioner’s Standing Order No. 32) except in special case. In the resolution quoted above it is remarked that, ‘Government of India are of opinion that in the case of ordinary improvements a twenty years’ term for repayment is generally sufficient for the following reason. An examination of interest tables drawn up to show the amount of the annual or half-yearly instalments required to discharge within different periods a loan or Rs. 100 at 6 or even at 5 percent, will prove that to extend the period of repayment beyond twenty years effects no substantial reduction in the amount of the annual or half yearly instalment; so that such an extension affords no great immediate advantage to the borrower; while it burdens him for a longer term with the duty of making repayments. A still stronger reason is to be found in the consideration that the amount of funds available for making such loans is limited, and that the rate at which fresh loans can be made depends to a large extent on the rate at which the money already out on loan is repaid to Government, so that it may be utilised by being re-issued in the form of further loans. Thus to extend the terms generally adopted for repayment would reduce the number of improvements which could be aided by means of the total sum available, and render it less effective for the purpose in view. The Government of India therefore are of opinion that the ordinary term for the repayment should not exceed twenty years, but they have no objection to a local Government taking the power to grant a longer term in special cases.”
620. Arrears recoverable as arrears of land revenue. In order to protect the treasury from loss and to enable it to lend on easy terms as regards interest, large powers are taken to enforce recovery by executive action. Instalments of principal and interest which are overdue may be realized from the borrower or is surety (if one has been required), as if they were arrears of land revenue due by them. (Section 7(1)(a) and(b).)
The land for whose benefit the advance has been made can be dealt with as if it was land in respect of which an arrear of land revenue exists. (Section 7(1)(c), see paragraph 521 et seq. of this manual.)
621. Lien of Government on land for improvement of which loan is given, and on land hypothecated as security.) In the rare case of other property being hypothecated as security for repayment it can be sold as if it were immovable property of a land revenue defaulter other than the land on which an arrear is outstanding. ( Section 7 (1) (d) see paragraph 539 of this manual.) The lien of Government over the land for which the loan is granted and over the property (if any) comprised in the collateral security takes precedence of the right of any mortgage over it , even though the mortgage be of earlier date than the advanced . (Proviso to Section 7(1).) In actual practice it is unusual to give taccavi, unless the land for whose improvement it is required is free from encumbrances, but the provision of the law referred to above makes it needless to institute very elaborate enquiries regarding title. If the surety or the owner of any property hypothecated as collateral security pays an arrear, he can require the Deputy Commissioner to recover the amount on his behalf from the borrower.(Section 7(2)).
622. Interest. (i) Interest will be charged at the rate notified by the Provincial Government from time to time.
(ii) If taccavi is paid at any time between June 1st and November 30th, six months’ interest will be charged with the following rabi instalment, and if paid at any time between December 1st and May 31st , six months’ interest will be charged with the following kharif instalment. Loans repaid during the harvest in which advances were made will be charged interest for six months.
(iii) Penal interest will not be charged on instalments that have been suspended by order of competent authority, but in other cases it will ordinarily be charged at a fixed rate of 6 percent per annum, simple interest (equivalent to one pie per rupee per mensem), on the principal overdue, when the delay exceeds one month. Compound interest will in no case be charged . The Collector may remit or reduce the penal interest if he is satisfied that the levy of such interest would be productive of hardship.
(iv) The debtor may at any time pay the whole amount with interest due up to the date of payment and thereby close the transaction.
623. Allotment of funds, and power of sanction. The Financial Commissioner informs Commissioners as to the amounts placed at their disposal for taccavi loans during each financial year. Commissioners may divide the allotment between the districts of their divisions at their discretion; but expenditure in the division must be kept within the amount assigned. Deputy Commissioners distribute their allotments over tahsils according to requirements in order to avoid delay which occurs when a tahsildar has to apply for funds to district headquarters.
Within the limits of the funds allotted to them for the purpose, the following officers are empowered to grant loans under the Land Improvement Loans Act, XIX of 1883:-
Officers subordinate to the Collector will only exercise these powers when permitted to do so by the Collector.
The limits apply to the amount which may be granted in any individual case. Commissioners may, in very special circumstances, on the recommendation of the Collector, invest selected naib-tahsildars with the powers of a tahsildar as regards the granting of loans.
624. Loans should be of adequate amount. Care must be taken in cutting down the amount applied for. The grant of an inadequate sum defeats the object of the Act and is very likely to lead to the misapplication of the loan. It is better to refuse an advance outright than to give one which is not sufficient to ensure the completion of the projected work .
625. Collateral security not usually required. The applicant’s interest in the land to be improved is usually amply sufficient to cover the loan, and, when this is the case, no collateral security need be required. (See paragraph 9(1)(A)(a) of Financial Commissioners Standing Order No. 32)
626. Repayment. In order to prevent misapplication , loans for improvements should ordinarily be made instalments ; but this is not necessary with the small sums usually given for seed, bullocks and fodder. Repayment should not begin until, assuming reasonable diligence on the part of the landowner , the improvement will yield a return. “ The Government of India think that within reasonable limits the convenience of the borrower may be consulted, and that the object should be to ensure that payment, either of principle or interest , is never exacted before the date when, by the exercise of such due diligence as may reasonably be expected of an Indian peasant, the profits of the improvement might be expected to cover the payment. This period of grace should not , however, exceed 21/2 years in any case, and interest should be charged during its currency” (resolution No. 6-204—16 , dated 30th November 1905, Paragraph 6.) Instalments are recovered half-yearly on the dates on which the first instalment of the land revenue of each harvest falls due. Repayments are so arranged as to permit of the realization of an equal sum in each half-year. Recoveries may not be spread over a period of more than twenty years except with the sanction of the local Government. ( See paragraph 15 of Standing Order No.32.). A less term is often sufficient and the rules require advances to be repaid within as short a period as is consistent with the object for which they are made.
627. Considerations bearing on period of recovery. The spreading of repayment over an unnecessarily long period means actual loss to the borrower on account of increased interest charges . For instance, if he chooses to repay a loan of Rs. 100 in 10 annual instalments and begins his repayments after one year, he will pay altogether 10 instalments or Rs. 12-10-0 or Rs. 126-4-0 in all: if he begins his repayments after two years, he will pay 10 instalments of Rs. 13-3-0 or Rs. 131-14-0 in all: if he spreads the repayments over 15 years and begins his repayments after two years, he will pay 15 instalments of Rs. 9-11-0 or Rs. 145-5-0 in all; if repayment is spread over 20 years he will pay 20 instalments of Rs. 8 or Rs. 160 in all. For an ordinary well the best arrangement will generally be that repayment should begin after two years and that repayment should be made in 15 annual instalments of Rs. 9-11-0 or Rs. 145-5-0 in all, or in 30 half-yearly instalments of Rs. 4-15-0 or 148-2-0 in all.
(See tables of equated payments appended to Financial Commissioners’ Standing Order No. 32)
Payments should be made in 15 annual instalments of Rs. 12-0-0, or Rs. 180-0- in all, or in 30 half-yearly instalments of Rs. 6-2-0, or Rs. 188-12-0 in all. (See tables of equated payments appended to Financial Commissioners’ Standing Order No. 32). If this is understood by the borrower, the first thing to consider is his reasonable wishes. If the security is good, there is no great object in increasing or curtailing the period of repayment which the borrower desires and for which he can give good reasons. The matters which should weigh with him and with the Deputy Commissioner are the cost and durability of the improvement made, the necessary expense of maintenance , the rate and amount of the probable return, and the period from which it will begin to accrue. The debtor can of course at any time repay the whole amount still due on the loan, and thus close the transaction.
628. Loans usually recovered easily. We have seen that the law has supplied the Deputy Commissioner with very powerful weapons to enforce the repayment of loans .But it is only in the rarest instances that resort to them is necessary, and taccavi is generally recovered with ease and regularity.
629. Suspensions and remissions . Instalments may be suspended on proof of failure of crops or other exceptional calamity .
In areas under fluctuating assessment, the Collector of the district may order such suspension upto a limit of Rs. 5,000 for a single tahsil, or a total of Rs. 10,000 for the whole district in any one harvest, provided that the amount involved at a time in any one case shall not exceed Rs. 1,000.
In areas under fixed assessment the same limits shall apply, except that in those cases in which suspensions of taccavi follow suspensions of land revenue, the Collector may exercise unlimited powers.
Proposals for suspensions in excess of these limits shall be submitted by the Collector of the district to the Commissioner of the Division who shall have unlimited powers of suspension as in the case of land revenue.
All suspensions of taccavi , whenever granted, shall be reported without delay through the Commissioner of the division for the information of the Financial Commissioner.
A suspended instalment should not be made payable in the ensuing year with the instalment of that year, but the effect of suspension should be to postpone for one instalment period the payment of all remaining instalments due on the loan . When a man borrows money he should be required to repay the loan with interest ; but time should be given him to make those repayments in such a manner as will not be ruinous to him. As regards remissions, the Government of India are of opinion that it is a sound principle not to remit repayment of a loan so readily as remissions of ordinary land revenue are granted, and that as a general rule the risk of the failure of an improvement should be borne by the borrower as this affords the best guarantee that the money will be judiciously applied, but they will have no objection to a local Government’s remitting outstanding instalments or a part of them, when a work fails from causes beyond the borrower’s control ; and when recovery of the loan in full would occasion serious hardship. (Government of India resolution No. 6-204-216,, dated 30th November, 1905). The Commissioner can sanction remissions not exceeding Rs. 1,000 in each case. For larger amounts the orders of the Financial Commissioner are required. (Rule 8 of Land Improvement Loan Rules).
630. Remarks on procedure. Instructions have been issued with the object of marking the grant of loans prompt and easy . To ensure that this object is not defeated the Deputy Commissioner should set his face against all vexatious formalities , and especially against repeated summonings of the applicant to the tahsil . There is no reason why an ordinary taccavi case should occupy more than three weeks from first to last. Revenue officers of any grade can receive applications, which may be written or oral. (See paragraph 4 of Financial Commissioner’s Standing Order No. 32) In the case of the latter a few questions put to the applicant by the revenue officer will enable him or his reader to fill up the very simple printed form of application. On the back of that form there is a note stating the different points regarding which a report is necessary . Landowners should be encouraged to present their applications to revenue officers in camp in order that the enquiry may be made at once, and that the necessity of summoning the applicant and his headman to the tahsil may be avoided. In an ordinary case the simple enquiry called for can be made with the greatest ease. All that is required is for the revenue officer to see the land for whose improvement the loan is asked , to obtain an extract from the entries regarding it in the last annual record, and to put a few questions to the applicant, the village headman and the patwari. If however the necessary information cannot at once be obtained, the enquiry can be made by a field kanungo, if the loan does not exceed Rs. 500. The tahsildar must state in his report whether the applicant wishes to receive payment at the tahsil or at the sadr. In the former case his attendance at the district office is usually quite unnecessary . When the tahsildar decides to recommend the loan he sends the file to the district revenue accountant (wasil baki nawis) and, if the applicant is to receive the money at the district office , gives him a slip containing the date on which he is to appear before the Deputy Commissioner. The date should be so fixed as to give the revenue accountant time to check the file carefully before it is brought before the Deputy Commissioner for orders. The Government of India have authorized a system of employing selected officers to take money into camp and disburse loans on the spot. (Government of India, Revenue and Agriculture Department, resolution No. 2-413-2 of 1st March 1905, compare paragraph 11 of resolution No. 6-204-16 of 30th November 1905.) For the details of the procedure to be followed under this system reference should be made to Standing Order No.32, paragraph 7(1) . A system of peripatetic distribution with oral application and disbursement on the spot is also specially suitable for tracts in which it is desirable to encourage any particular form of agricultural improvement such as the sinking of masonry wells, the embankment of land for purposes of irrigation, etc. Such a system has been approved by Government for adoption under certain conditions. Needful instructions will be found in paragraph 7(2) of the Standing Order above referred to.
631. Order Sanctioning loan. The order of the officer sanctioning the loan is in a prescribed form, at the foot of which is a statement over the signature of the borrower that he has understood and agreed to the conditions stated in the order ( See paragraphs 18 and 20 of Financial Commissioner’s Standing Order No. 32.). One of these is that the loan shall be applied solely to the purpose set forth in the order, and that, if any part of it is misapplied, the whole shall be at once recoverable. The Deputy Commissioner may, and as a rule ought, to declare in the order the period within which the work must be completed . If he does so, failure to finish it in the time specified is declared to amount to misapplication . Of course a condition of this sort must be enforced with great discretion.
632. Inspection of works.- Works which are being constructed with the aid of taccavi loans ought to be onspected from time to time by revenue officers. When they go into camp they should take with them a list of all unfinished works for which loans have been granted in the tract which they mean to visit, and make abrief report of the state of each work to the Deputy Commissioner, and care should be taken to provide for a similar inspection of works near the revenue officers’ headquarters. In addition to these casual inspections, works for which advances have been made in a lump sum should be inspected and reported on as soon as possible after the date (if any), on which their completion was directed in the order granting the loan. In the case of an advance made by instalments the work should be reported on before each instalment subsequent to the first is paid, and also as soon as possible after the date ( if any), on which its completion was ordered. Great care must be taken that the completion of the work is not delayed because the inspection preliminary to the payment of an instalment is not made promptly. If the Deputy Commissioner is satisfied that the first instalment has been misapplied, he should order it to be recovered, and make no further payment.
633. Act XII of 1884.- The Agriculturists’ Loans Act, XII of 1884, which replaced an earlier Act, Xof 1879, enables the local Government to make rules as to the grant of loans “to owners and occupiers of arable land for the relief of distress, the purchase of seed or cattle, or any other purpose for specified in the Land Improvement Loans Act 1883, but connected with agricultural objects ( Section 4). As in the case of a loan under Act XIX of 1883, an advance may be made to several persons or to all the members of a village community on their joint and several responsibility ( Section 6).
634. Object for which loans may be made.- It has been ruled that “ the relief of distress’ means” the relief of agricultural distress, that is to say, distress directly due to calamity in agriculture, such as the destruction of crops by drought or floods, hail or blight, or the loss of cattle by disease. It must be satisfactorily shown that the distress to be relieved is directly traceable to the failure of some agricultural process, or to damage to crops, articles of husbandry, or cattle.” The words “ any other purpose not specified in the Land Improvement Loans Act 1883, but connected with agricultural objects” must be interpreted as referring to purposesdirectly connected with agriculture and its processes. They would cover, for example, the advance of money to buy agricultural implements, such as a sugarcane mill, or to construct indigo vats. But a loan to a village community to enable it to build a new abadi on a healthier site would lie outside the scope of the Act. Doubtful cases should be referred to the Financial Commissioner. The grant of loans to agriculturists for the prosecution of industries subsidiary to agriculture was considered by the Government Of India in 1916, and it was ruled that ‘loans should be given only to facilitate processes which are ordinarily practised by agriculturists or are necessary to the marketing of their crops.’ “The grant of loans, it was said, should be restricted to the case of such operations as, from a sound economic point of view, may be performed by an agriculturist in respect of his own produce r of simple industries dealing with raw produce which can be carried on by individuals or small combinations of cultivators without expert supervision. Where it is the custom of a particular class of agriculturist to enter upon a preliminary stage of preparation of the raw produce before it is put on the market, as a part from manufacturing it as a completed article of commerce, the provision of appliances for this purpose would fall within the category of the purposes for which loans may be granted under section 4 of the Act. Weaving cannot, in the opinion of the Government of India, be regarded as being in the definition.” ( Government of India, Department of Revenue and Agriculture,circular No. 178-143-15, dated 7th March 1916.)
635. Advances to tenants-at-will.- Advances may be made to tenants-at-will, as well as to owners and occupancy tenants. In a tract where much land is mortgaged to money-lenders the case of such tenants is a difficult one to deal with. The mortgagees will very likely refuse to supply seed themselves or to be surities for the repayment of advances to be made by Government to their tenants. And in the case of a landless man it is not safe to grant even a small loan without security.
636. Arrears recoverable like arrears of land-revenue.- Like Act XIX of 1883, the Agriculturists’ Loans Act of 1884 provides for the recovery of overdue instalments of principal and interest from the borrower or his surety as if they were arrears of land-revenue due by them (Section 5 of Act XII of 1884.). It makes no allusion to the hypothecation of immovable property as security, and this should rarely be required.
637. Term of loans.- A maximum period of ten years is allowed for the recovery of a loan ( See paragraph 23 of Financial Commissioner’s Standing Order No. 32.). But ordinarily advances for the purchase of seed should be repaid from the crop produced from the seed and those for the purchase of plough cattle within two years. In practice loans under the Act are almost invariably made for one or other of these purposes.
638. Interest on, and recovery of loans.- The rules (See rules 2, 3, 5, 7 and 8 of Agriculturists Loans Rules, ( volume II, Punjab Land Acts.) as regards interest, and recovery, suspension, and remission, of loans are practically the same as those dealing with the same matters issued under Act XIX of 1883.
639. Use made of Act.- It is not the object of Act XII of 1884 to supplant the village sahukar as the source from which the peasant landowner draws the small temporary loans which he constantly requires in carrying on his business. It usually comes into play when the village bankers have for the time being ceased to lend altogether. Hitherto therefore no great use of the Act has been made except in seasons of severe and prolonged drought. Small capitalists in rural districts are a very timid race, and the difficulties under which the people labour at such a time are much aggravated by the drying up of credit. Unless therefore the State come to their aid, tracts which have suffered from scarcity would recover slowly even on the advent of better seasons, and many a man would be ruined outright for want of a little ready money at a critical period to provide himself with the means of tilling his fields. The resolution of the Government of India quoted above certainly encouraged liberal advances under the Agricultural Loans Act ‘ where funds are available’ even in ordinary times. ( Resolution No. 6-204-16, dated 30th November 1905, paragraph 11.)
640. Advances for purchase of seed and cattle. Care should be taken only to make these advances at a time when they can immediately be put to a profitable use, otherwise they are sure to be misapplied . Loans for the purchase of seed should only be made when the land is irrigable, or has received from rain, floods, or percolation sufficient moisture for the seed to germinate. They should be made more readily for the rabi than for the kharif, as the cost of seed per acre is much higher, for instance, in the case of wheat than in that of millets . It is useless to advance money for the purchase of plough or well cattle unless the borrower has the means of keeping them alive. The want of fodder is one of the worst evils from which drought-stricken tracts in the Punjab suffer, and it is the evil with which Government finds it most difficult to deal.
641. Caution as regards loans in tracts afflicted by rinderpest. Special caution is necessary in granting loans for the replacing of cattle which have died from rinder pest . The virus of that disease retains its vitality for at least seven or eight months. All the discharges from an infected animal during its illness contain the poison in large quantity . It is therefore worse than useless to help the owner to buy healthy stock unless his village has been free from disease for about a year, and it is known for certain that disinfection has been thoroughly carried out.
642. Advances for purchase of fodder. (I) Experience has shown that when fodder becomes excessively dear in one part of the province, it can be profitably imported by rail from a considerable distance. If it is obtainable in this way , but only at a price which is beyond the means of the poorer landowners, it is reasonable to make small advances to enable them to buy the food necessary to keep their agricultural cattle alive. Loans for the purchase of fodder should only be made in small sums not exceeding Rs. 20 in each case, or, if the advance has to be repeated, on each occasion. These loans are subject to the ordinary rules regarding taccavi advances contained in the Financial Commissioners’ Standing Order No. 32. It is the custom where herds are kept for pastoral purposes to drive them in seasons of drought into the low hills or the river valleys . There is therefore no object in giving taccavi to graziers.
(ii) But loans may be made to selected zamindars and registered Co-operative Societies for purchase and storage of dry fodder in scarcity tracts on condition that-
(a) the amount to be so stored should be not less than 4,000 maunds, and
(b) the advance should not exceed annas 8 for each maund so purchased and stored .
(iii) The minimum amount of fodder to be stored being 4,000 maunds at anans 8 per maund, it is necessary to provide for greater security by hypothecation of property as a preferable alternative to combined security.
643. Procedure must be exceedingly prompt. It is essential that advances under Act XII or 1884, which are usually small in amount, should be made without any delay. A poor man who wishes to take advantage of long looked for rain to plough or sow his fields cannot wait while files are being sent backwards and forwards between the tahsil and the district office. The rules therefore provide that within the limits of the funds allotted to them for the purpose the following officers are empowered to grant loans :-
For cattle and other For seed
1. Tehsildars up to ………. 250 100
2. Canal Ziladars up to ……….. … 100
3. Reclamation Zailadars up to …. … 100
4. Deputy Collector, Reclamation….. … 100
5. Assistant Land Reclamation Officer up to.. … 100
6. Assistant Commissioners and Extra
Assistant Commissioners up to …. 300 100
7. Land Reclamation officer up to…. … 250
8. Collectors up to………. 500 250
9. Commissioners up to ………. 2,500 750
10. Financial Commissioners up to ….. 10,000 3,000
Officers subordinate to the Collector will exercise these powers only when permitted to do so by the Collector: -
The limits apply to the amounts which may be granted in any individual case. For the granting of these loans the Commissioner may, on the recommendation of the Collector invest selected tahsildars with the powers of an Extra Assistant Commissioner, and, in very special circumstances invest selected naib-tahsildars with the powers of a tahsildar.
In time of famine it may be necessary to enlarge powers of tahsildars, Assistant Commissioners and Extra Assistant Commissioners and Collectors , and this may be done by the Commissioner subject to a report to the Financial Commissioner.(Rule 1 of the Agriculturists Loans Rules) He should satisfy himself that the selected officer understands fully the circumstances under which loans should be made. It is a good thing to let him take the money which is likely to be required into camp and distribute it on the spot. This plan for the distribution of taccavi, which has been sanctioned by the orders referred to in paragraph 630, is particularly suitable in the case of advances under Act XII of 1884. The money required can be drawn on abstract bills and accounted for in the same way as contingent expenditure(See paragraph 29 of Financial Commissioner’s Standing Order No. 32).
644. Employment of special officer. When the total amount is advanced will be large the Commissioner may find it necessary to apply to the Local Government to post an additional Extra Assistant Commissioner or tahsildar to the district. He can be given the powers of a Deputy Commissioner under the rules, but will of course be as completely under the orders of the district officer as any other member of his establishment. If the extra officer has no previous local experience, it will usually be best to make him relieve one of the ordinary district staff who can then be employed solely on taccavi work.
645. Further orders of Government of India. Having explained the extent to which the State is prepared to advance money to agriculturists in ordinary times it remains to quote the recent orders of the Government of India as to free grants for the encouragement or irrigation works in very insecure tracts and as to loans in anticipation of or in presence of famine. These are contained in the 10th and 12th paragraphs of the resolution from which several extracts have been given in this chapter.
646. Grants in aid or irrigation works in insecure tracts. “The Irrigation Commission (of 1903) have made certain proposals with the view of encouraging irrigation in specially precarious tracts. They recommend that in selected areas, which have suffered severely in recent famines and have not since obtained by irrigation or otherwise protection sufficient to guarantee them against the recurrence of similar calamities, landowners should be encouraged to apply for loans ordinary conditions sufficient to pay for a portion of the cost of the contemplated improvements , and that Government should make a free grant of the remainder of the cost, the proportion of the free grant to the total cost depending on the property of the applicant and the marginal profit from irrigation, the suggested maximum being half the total amount required upto a limit of Rs. 500 The Government of India have no objection to free grants being made under such circumstances, i.e., when they are applied to works the success of which is calculated to reduce future expenditure on famine relief.” (Any grants that may be made are chargeable to provincial revenues.)
647. Loans in times of famine. “The foregoing considerations are applicable to the case of loans made in ordinary times, and it remains to consider the case of loans made to agriculturists in anticipation of scarcity or during the currency of famine. As regards such loans the Government of India agree with the opinion expressed by the Famine and Irrigation Commissions that loans to agriculturists are especially required in the very early stages of famine as a measure of moral strategy and to put heart into the people, and that a system of advances when made in good time and with prudent forethought is a most efficient form of relief, and one which can to a very great extent be freed from the pauperizing influences of State Charity . These principles have been incorporated in the revised Famine Codes and will no doubt be acted upon when occasion arises. It has been usual in most provinces to make advances in famine times in low interest or free from interest altogether, and to remit them with great generosity. The Government of India, however , agree with the Famine that this is mistaken charity, likely to demoralise the people . They are of opinion that these advances should always carry interest at the usual rate, and that while due regard should be paid to the subsequent seasons and the circumstances of the borrowers, repayment of these loans should take precedence of the recovery of arrears of land revenue. If it is necessary to grant some remission, it should take the form of a remission of land revenue, and the loan with interest should be recovered; or if this will involve great hardship, a portion of the loan itself, and not merely the interest, should be remitted. In times of famine in place of granting loans free of interest, the system of making free grants in addition to repayable loans, already alluded, to, may be freely utilised . Advances may be made to landowners for the construction of private works to enable them to give employment to the poor, a portion of the advance being made in the form of a loan repayable with interest on ordinary terms, and the remainder in the form of a free grant-in-aid from famine funds, to be spent on the employment of labour in accordance with the system of ‘Aided Village Works’, for which provision has been made in the revised Famine Codes. In such times a similar system may be adopted as regards advances for the purchase of seed, fodder, or cattle.”
Rural Co-operative Credit Societies
648. Condition in Europe- Amongst the factors influencing the political and economic revolutions of the middle of the nineteenth century in Europe was the rapid increase in the import of wheat from the newly exploited plains of north America. The direct result was to intensify the existing agrarian depression. It appeared as though the land could no longer be cultivated with profit and agriculture seemed to be definitely on the decline. In the British Isles the situation was relieved by extensive emigation and by the demand for labour for the rapidly expanding industries. On the Continent, however, the general tendency was to meet the crisis by adopting more intensive methods of cultivation and by the replacing of wheat by more valuatble crops or by animal products, such as butter, bacon and eggs. For this great change more capital was required, and in order to attract it, credit had to be established. The Rochdale Pioneers had since 1844 shown how success was to be obtained by co-operation, but their plan applied originally to distributive stores, and it was several years before Scheulze Delitzscha and Raiffeisen adopted the essential principles to the granting of credit to farmers. General speaking, in European countries other applications of the co-operative principle preceded that of credit. The period was one of rapid transition; the advent of the steamship about the time of the Crimean War greatly facilitated international trade and deprived the farmer of his previous meonopoly of the home market. The science of modern agricultural chemistry was slowly achieving recognition, and it gradually became clear to the more thoughtful that in the application of its teachings lay the best method of restoring the position of the farmer. The first step was to organize the supply of fertilizers, improved agricultural implements, etc., and much work was done in Europe in this direction between 1870 and 1885. The need for Credit Societies to enable the cultivator to adopt modern improvements in order to increase his production was also appreciated, ad the first experiments were started in Germany about 1862, but it was not until much later that they bacme general. Organisation on co-operative lines brought the benefits of the new methods within the reach of all who could afford them, and from this to the co-operative provision of capital was a small step. From 1880 onwards rural co-operative credit societies have steadily spread over Europe.
649. The problem in India-In India the problem to be faced had not arisen from outside competition but from internal causes, amongst them being the ever increasing pressure which a rapidly growing population exert on the soil, while the capriciousness of the seasons, on which the success of the harvests depends, continues to give unceasing cause for anxiety as to the food supply.
The report of the Famine Commission of 1880 contains a list of eighteen famines and four periods of scarcity not amounting to famine in India in the period 1769 to 1878; and it gives expression to the conviction “that Indian famines are necessarily recurring calamities against which such precautions as are possible must be taken beforehand, and that it is the duty of the Government to do its utmost in devising some means of protecting the country, and to persevere in its attempts till some solution of the problem has been obtained.” After dealing with the obligation of Government to afford relief, the Commission urged that it is important that the measure should be so framed “as to avoid every tendency to relax in the people the sense of the obligation which rests on them to provide for their own support by their own labour, to cultivate habits of thrift and fore-thought, and as far as possible to employ the surplus of years of plenty to meet the wants of years of scarcity.”
Amongst the principal rules of action advocated was “to give loans both to small landed proprietors who are in need of such assistance, and also to larger proprietors who may be trusted to apply the money usefully.” Concerning these loans, the Commission wrote that “the suspension of revenue does not entirely provide for the case of the small agriculturist who finds himself without the necessary means either of subsistence or of preparing his lands for tillage and who, if he is obliged to have recourse to the money lender, can only obtain a loan on ruinous terms. It should, therefore, be the policy of the Government to advance money freely and on easy terms on the security of the land, whenever it can be done without serious risk of ultimate loss.
Shortly after the publication of this report Mr. Wedderburn of the Bombay Civil Service proposed the establishment of an Agricultural Bank at Poona on lines similar to those since adopted in Egypt. The management was to be in unofficial hands, but Government was to guarantee interest on the capital and was in the last resort to collect instalments of the loans through its subordinate revenue staff. In the initial period it was not certain that Government would not have to provide the capital also. As Government was to assume all responsibility and risks, it was considered preferable to assume the management as well, and a system of State loans was introduced by the Land Improvement Loans Act (1883) and the Agriculturists’ Loans Act (1884). (See chapter XVIII). These measures only partially met the recommendations of the Famine Commission. They provided capital for agricultural purposes at a low rate of interest but did not include in their scope the encouragement of thrift and forethought. It was left to another Famine Commission to suggest a method of achieving this end. At the same time these Acts and the rules framed thereunder indicate the lines on which a sound system of rural credit could be established: careful examination into the objects for which money is required supervision over the expenditure on those objects and recovery by instalments repayable from the addition to income which the use of the capital has yielded, subject always to a suspension when the vagaries of the season render rigid repayment impracticable.
650. Co-operative credit recommended. In 1892 the Government of Madras placed Mr. Nicholson on special duty to enquire into the possibility of introducing a system of agricultural or other land banks. His report in two volumes (1885-97) was reviewed by the Mardras Government in 1899. About the same time Mr. H.Dupernex, I.C.S., began to experiment with village banks in the United Provinces. In 1990 be published a little book “Peoples’ Banks for Northern India:” meanwhile in the Punjab, Mr. Maclagan, I.C.S., was trying to start rural banks in Multan, and his example inspired his former Assistant , the late Captain Crosthwait to make tentative efforts in what are now the Bhakkar and Leiah tahsils of Mianwali and Muzaffargarh, respectively. The problem appeared to be ripe for discussion, and the Government of India assembled a committee at Calcutta in December 1900, which reported in favour of the institution of banks on Raiffeisen lines.
In May 1901 appeared the report of the Famine Commission, presided over by Lord Macdonnel. It contained a clear statement of the united opinion of those who had recently given the closest consideration to the problem of rural finance: “We attach the highest importance to the establishment of some organization or method whereby cultivators may obtain, without paying usurious rates of interest and without being given undue facilities for incurring debt, the advances necessary for carrying on their business . Agriculture, like other industries , is supported on credit. The sahukar, or bania, has, from being a help to agriculture , become in some places an incubus upon it. The usurious rates of interest that he charges and the unfair advantage that he takes of the cultivator’s necessities and ignorance have, over large areas, placed a burden of indebtedness on the cultivator which he cannot bear….. It should be understood from the outset, and made perfectly clear to all concerned, that the establishment of a village bank does not imply the creation of an institution from which the villagers may draw money at their discretion…………It is not intended to frighten the village money-lender by permitting a village bank to enter into competition with him over the whole field of his business ; still less is it the intention to encourage borrowing for unproductive purposes. No association, borrowing on the joint responsibility of its members, would be justified in devoting any of its funds to loans for unproductive purposes . It does not consequently enter into the scope of a village bank’s operations to lend for marriage festivities or for caste feasts or for similar objects . If people wish to borrow money for such purposes or for any other purpose unconnected with agriculture, they must still go to the village sahukar or bania. The co-operative agricultural bank only aims at freeing the great business of the cultivator’s life from the terrible burden which now presses on it owing to the usurious interest taken for agricultural loans.”
The Commission favoured the establishment of credit associations on Raiffeisen principles which they proceeded to enunciate.
651. Acts of 1904 and 1912. The results of much careful consideration and prolonged enquiry and discussion was the enactment of the Co-operative Credit Societies Act of 1904. This was introduced and explained in an able and clear statement by the late Sir Denzil Ibbetson, published as a resolution of the Government of India(Revenue and Agriculture ) No. 1-63-3 dated 29th April, 1904. It was subsequently repealed and replaced by the Co-operative Societies Act, 1912. In 1914 the progress of the co-operative movement during the preceding ten years was reviewed in a resolution of the Government of India (Revenue and Agriculture) No. 12-287-1, date 17th June, 1914 and a Committee was appointed under the presidency of Sir Edward Maclagan to examine whether the movement was progressing on sound lines, and to suggest any measures of improvement which seem to be required . The report of this committee published in 1915 should be studied by all who have at heart the interests of the mass of the people.
652. The rural problem as described by the committee on co-operation. To committee on co-operation considered it desirable to explain that the chief object was to deal with the stagnation of the poorer classes, and more especially of the agriculturists who constitute the bulk of the population . They proceeded :-
“It was found in many parts of India, as in most European countries , that in spite of the rapid growth of commerce and improvements in communications , the economic condition of the peasants had not been progressing as it should have done, that indebtedness instead of decreasing had tended to increase, that usury was still rampant, that agricultural methods had not improved , and that the old unsatisfactory features of a backward rural economy seemed destined persistently to remain . The more obvious features of the situation presented themselves in the form of usury and land-grabbing on the part of the money–lending classes, while the agricultural classes either hoarded their savings or owing to thriftlessness and indebtedness showed themselves unable to withstand bad seasons and to meet organised trade on equal terms. The depression of the rural classes was further characterised by an underlying absence of any desire for education or advancement and a certain resigned acceptance of oppression from those who by wealth or social position occupied a superior position , an attitude which though often spoken of as ‘conservative’, has frequently little of intentional conservatism about it , but is due rather to ignorance to a traditional subservience in the past, and to an absence of ideals for the future. The peculiar feature of co-operation as a remedy for stagnation is that it is intended to meet not only the more obvious material evils but also the underlying moral deterioration to which the poorer classes have so long been exposed.
“The stagnation of the agricultural classes in the greater part of the country has for many years attracted the attention of Government, and various remedies have been tried for improving their material condition . A system of State loans was introduced. Post Office Saving Banks were opened, the Civil law relating to debt was frequently and extensively amended, special legislation was initiated at various times in different areas for dealing with tenant right, the alienation of land, the general settlement of debt and the curbing of usury. But although much has been done by some at any rate of these measures to help the peasant community, the general effect of the action taken can only be described as partial and incomplete . The further efforts which have been made by sanitation and education to improve the environment and the intellectual condition of the poorer classes have not been more successful. Without , therefore , abandoning the class of remedial measures previously attempted , the Government turned to co-operation as the most hopeful method of dealing with the problem before it . The theory of co-operation is very briefly that an isolated and powerless individual can by association with others and by moral development and mutual support obtain in his own degree the material advantages available to wealthy or powerful persons, and thereby develop himself to the fullest extent of his natural abilities. By the union of forces material advancement is secured, and by united action self reliance is fostered, and it is from the inter action of these influences that it is hoped to attain the effective realisation of the higher and more prosperous standard of life which has been characterised as ‘better business, better farming and better living.’ We have found that there is a tendency not only among the outside public but also among supporters of the movement to be little its moral aspect and to regard this as superfluous idealism. Co-operation in actual practice must often fall far short of the standard aimed at, and details inconsistent with co-operative ideals have often to be accepted in the hope that they may lead to better things. We have in our report been compelled to deal mainly with the co-operative organization from a business stand point. But we wish clearly to express our opinion that it is to true co-operation alone, that is, to a co-operation which recognises the moral aspect of the question, that Government must look for the amelioration of the masses, and not to a pseudo-co-operative edifice, however imposing, which is built in ignorance of co-operative principles. To this point we shall return when we deal with the constitution of co-operative societies, but in the meantime we desire to point out that the combination of the material with the more or less intangible moral element constitutes an important difference between co-operation and the other remedies adopted by Government for dealing with agricultural stagnation.”
653. Advantages gained by cooperation. To the above may be appended the following extract from the resolution of 1914:-
“The aim of those who form themselves into societies is primarily economic. There object is to obtain money or the other necessities of production at cheaper rates , or to sell their produce at higher prices than those which prevail in the market to which they would individually resort. If this object can be attained over a considerable portion of India , the result will be of immense economic value . It has, for instance, been calculated that in interest alone the agriculturists of India, by taking loans from co-operative credit societies instead of from the village money –lenders, are even now saving themselves from an absolutely unnecessary burden of at least 20 lakhs of rupees per annum, and there is no reason why in a few years this figure should not multiply itself several times over. The mere saving in interest charges is, however, a part only of the benefits received. With the progress of co-operation and with credit democratised money that has lain rusting in boards has been produced and placed in deposit; money that would otherwise have lain idle has found a serviceable form of investment ; capital that would otherwise have lain idle has found a serviceable form of investment; capital that would otherwise have been inaccessible has come into the hands of the agriculturists; old debts have been paid of and old mortgages redeemed , cases being reported in which the debts and mortgages not of individuals only but of whole villages have been cleared off. With freedom from debt and with access to capital on reasonable terms, the agriculturist is enabled to develop his means with better heart and increased resources , while the production of hoarded money and its application to the development of the country, coupled with an improvement in the economic position of the people, must result in an increase in their purchasing power and in the expansion of external and internal trade.
“In no direction is co-operation more full of promise than in the improvement of agriculture . From the first it has enabled cultivators to grapple with the difficulties caused by bad finance and an undeveloped system of rural economy, but during the last two or three years it has begun to show how it can assist them in winning a better living from a reluctant soil and treacherous seasons. In time of need , Government has never been backward in helping the peasant. Loans for the purchase of seed and cattle have been generously given, lenient treatment has hastened recovery from seasonal disasters , and by the greatest gift of all- irrigation- the liability to such disasters has been prevented over large areas. But more helpful than any of these gifts is the teaching which the Agricultural Department is setting before the people . The field , however , is to wide, and the skilled workers so few, that mere departmental efforts can never suffice to bring home to every cultivator the benefits that agricultural science offers . It is here that co-operation has stepped in . It has, in some provinces, provided the means whereby , as each improved variety is perfected and made ready for use, seed can be conveyed from the Government farm to every village over large areas and can be multiplied a thousand fold; it has enabled the purity of the seed to be maintained, and the best price to be secured for the produce; it has placed with in reach of the cultivator cheap manure and implements tested and approved by experts; it has supplied to cattle –breeders bulls of superior strains for the improvement of the village herds; and it has provided the means by which useful information can be disseminated.
The association of co-operation with agricultural improvement may assume different forms. In one place the co-operative society may perform the functions of an agricultural association; in another agricultural societies or unions may have a separate existence, but may work in the closest touch with the co-operative movement. But wherever agriculture and co-operation have experienced the assistance which each can derive from association with the other , they are fast developing truly organic connection and there can be little doubt that before many years this will be the case throughout India. It has indeed been stated by outside observers that the efforts of these two departments have made a deeper impression on the life of the people than any of the other measures which Government is engaged in promoting.
But these direct economic improvements are not the only benefits which co-operation is conferring on the country. Co-operation has been, in the widest sense of the term , education, both intellectual and moral When men are associated for business purposes, they feel the need of education. There are tangible reasons for learning to keep accounts, to sign pro-notes, to read pass–books and receipts, and knowledge of this kind must lessen the chances of fraud, while members who are able to read simple co-operative literature will take a more intelligent interest in their society and in the progress of the movement. Illiteracy is a hindrance to the movement, and just as co-operation leads to a demand for literacy, so literacy encourages the demand for co-operation. The effect of co-operation, however, extends beyond this, It does more than merely provide cheap credit; it encourages thrift. The criterion for admission to a society is a man’s character and not his wealth, and men, when brought together for their common weal and when pledging their common credit, have influenced each other’s conduct and advanced each other’ s interests in ways previously undreamt of in this country . The fact that the members are ultimately responsible for the payment of the debts of each and every member, operates as a powerful check on expenditure on unproductive purposes greater than that absolutely required by public opinion, and marriage expenses have accordingly been curtailed. Drunkards and gamblers have been reformed or excluded from societies. Self-restraint, punctuality, straight-forwardness, self-respect, discipline, contentment and thrift have been encouraged. In some areas litigation has markedly decreased. In others the common funds have been used to start schools , to provide scholarships, to distribute quinine, to provide drinking wells, to clean streets. The impetus of co-operative credit has led on to saving banks, benefit funds and provision for the poor. Those who have first –hand knowledge of co-operative societies are emphatic in their appreciation of the change which the movement is making in the character of the people affected by it, and it is important to bear in mind that co-operation is not merely a device for obtaining cheap money, or for increasing the economic resources of members, but is also a potent educational influence and, as such, is deserving of the warmest support from those who have the welfare of the people at heart. The managing bodies of the societies have frequently been entrusted with the arbitration of disputes and with other duties which belong to the traditional village panchayats and there is some reason to think that the continuity of aim, and the solidarity of feeling in herent in the movement, may lead to a revival of the corporate village life which has been so weakened by the disintegrating influences of modern times. “
654. Benefits peculiar to co-operation Before proceeding further it may be well to indicate the grounds on which the co-operative method claims to be more worthy of encouragement than its rivals.
The taccavi system described in the previous chapter possesses many advantages. It is based on the credit of the supreme Government which does not desire to derive any profit from it. This credit enables Government to borrow at from 5 to 6 per cent interest and to re-lend this monet at 7-7/24 percent. The difference represents the cost of administration of the system plus allowance for irrecoverable loans. Its great advantage is the low rate of interest charged, and it might be assumed that this alone would ensure its popularity. The very fact. however, that co-operative credit has made such headway in the country suggests that the taccavi system is not free from defects. In order to be able to lend at such a low rate, it is necessary in the interests of the general tax-payer that Government should have adequate security for the money advanced and a certainty of its ability to recover the principal. The powers considered necessary (see paragraph 620 of this manual ), are liable to prove harsh in the hands of unsympathetic officials, and the machinery available for working the system is apt to involve the borrowers in delays and vexations attendant on the direct receipt of loans from Government treasuries.( Cf Committee’s report, paragraph 206.)
Moreover, as security , Government obtains a charge on the land and crops and can in the last resort sell proprietary rights by auction. The protective provisions of the Land Alienation Act and Civil Procedure Code do not curtail the right of Government to realise on its security. An agricultural bank would insist on a direct charge on the land or crops; it is doubtful if it could afford to lend merely on personal security. As Government realises no profits from its taccavi transactions, it would seen that an agricultural bank would have to lend at a higher rate, if its share-holders were to receive dividends. It would be a stranger to its clients, serving their needs on a business basis , the welfare of the one would be of no interest to the other.
655. What co-operation means. Co-operation claims to be more than a methods of doing business, it is an idea , a faith. It depends for its success on a moral bond. Given a body of persons of limited means, similarly situated, economically it provides the means for improving the interests of each through unselfish devotion to the common interests of all. The members come to realise that the advantages secured to them are not due to outside help from Government or philanthropists but to the combination of their own efforts and to loyal adherence to the rules they have themselves adopted. They stand or fall on their own merits, whether they achieve success or suffer failure depends on their own character and their own efforts. Co-operation is largely mutual self –help, and as the members are equally responsible for the management and are drawn from the same class in the same neighbourhood, the delinquency of one hurts his friends as well as his own society and himself. There is thus a strong moral incentive to straight dealing.
Further, co-operation is an association of persons and not of capitalists, the members meet on terms of equality, void of all distinctions of class , creed, birth or money, and they bring to the task of promoting the economic interests of all their honesty, good character and determination to work together for success . There is no element of charity , it is self help through mutual help.
656. Conditions of success in co-operation. The system of rural co-operative credit adopted is based on that of Raiffeisen; the essential principles are honesty, good character and determination to work to described in paragraph 3 of the Report of the Committee on Co-operation as follows :-
“The society to be fully co-operative must fulfill many conditions. The theory underlying co-operation is that weak individuals are enabled to improve their individual productive capacity and consequently their material and moral position, by combining among themselves and brining into this combination a moral effort and a progressively developing realisation of moral obligation. The movement is essentially a moral one and it is individualistic rather than socialistic. It provides as a substitute for material assets honesty and a sense of moral obligation and keeps in view the moral rather than the material sanction. Hence the first condition obviously is that every member should have a knowledge of the principles of co-operation., if this co-operation is to be real and not a sham. In the formation of a society the first essential is the careful selection as members of honest men, of at any rate of men who have given satisfactory guarantees of their intention lead an honest life in future As. regards the dealings of the society, it should lend to its members only , and the loans must in no circumstances be for speculative purposes, which, so far from encouraging thrift and honesty have exactly the opposite effect. Loans should be given only for productive purposes or for necessaries which, as essentials of daily life, can fairly be classed as productive . The borrowers should be required to satisfy their fellows that they are in a position to repay the loans from the income that they will derive from their increased productive capacity, or that by the exercise of thrift they can effect a margin of income over expenditure which will suffice to meet the instalments of their loans as they fall due. When a loan has been given, it is essential that the committee of the society and the other members should exercise a vigilant watch that the money is expended on the purpose for which the loan was granted. If it is improperly applied, it should be at once recalled. It is further advisable to add to the general supervision of the society the special supervision of individual members, by taking personal sureties in the case of each loan. In the event of any default by the borrower an instant demand should be made on these sureties. In the more general matters of the society’s business there should, of course, be a committee of management with a president and a secretary , all of whom, except those who perform purely clerical duties and have no voice in the management, should be members of the society and give their services to gratuitously. At the same time the ultimate authority should never be delegated to the office bearers, but should be retained in the hands of the members who must continue to take a practical interests in the business of the society. With this object the constitution should be purely republican; each member should have one vote and no more in the general meeting, and all business should be transacted with the maximum of publicity within the society. For example, there should be kept in some place open to the inspection of every member a list showing the loans issued to every member, the names of his sureties and the amount of the loan still unpaid, and each member should be required to know generally how this account stands; general meetings should be frequently held at which the accounts and affairs of the society are fully discussed and explained The express object of the society should be the development of thrift amount its members, with the hope too that this idea of thrift will spread in the neighbourhood. To effect this object loans must be given only when they are really necessary and desirable. Further, the development of thrift and of a proprietary interest in the society should be aided by efforts to build up as soon as possible a strong reserve fund from profits The society must also be encouraged to obtain as mush as possible of its capital from the savings which its teaching and example have brought about among its members and their neighbours. With all these must go the elementary business principles of honesty, punctuality, proper accounts, diligence, and payment when due. To ensure all this there must be adequate control from within, increasing vigilance and supervision by the office bearers, and a continuous effort by members in learning the principles of co–operation, in meeting frequently, in watching others, in working hard and observing thrift, and in punctual repayment of their own loans as they fall due.”
657. The Punjab type of society.- A society must have at least 10 members; its area is usually so restricted that the number is not likely to become unwidely; the average society in India has about 40 members, in Germany it has 94. The smaller the area the more intimate is the personal knowledge and the easier it is to maintain a watch over the economic condition of each member. Usually in the Punjab each member has to subscribe for at least one share of 10, 20 or 50 rupees by equal annual instalments spread over ten years. These shares are not withdrawable,(which is not the same as not returnable). All net profits remain common and inadvisible for ten years, and thereafter onefourth goes to reserve and three-fourths may be distributed amongst the share-holders as non-withdrawable shares. The object of this is to raise up a buffer of the society’s own capital between creditors and the unlimited liability of the members. In these societies liability must be unlimited but this does not necessarily involve the members in much risk; the society is a body corporate, and so liability can only be enforced by a creditor on liquidation. Unlimited liability is universal in all private and business dealings, partnerships, clubs, syndicates, etc., with the single exception of limited companies, and these latter are quite a modern innovation in India. The liability refers to sums owed by the society to outside creditors and is in practice limited by fixing a low maximum to the loans borrowed. This requires as a preliminary a limitation on the credit allowed to individual members. If this latter precaution is carefully observed, and if all loans are fully secured by two sureties, there is little risk of any loss. Year by year the paid-up share capital increases and the profits accumulate, enabling the society gradually to dispense with outside assistance until, as experience shows, after ten years the society frequently owns all the capital its members need, and its outside liability to a financing institution has been reduced to nil only in name. In the Punjab, in July,1931, the 16,297 village credit societies, containing 4,99,314 members, owned 38.8 percent of their working capital of rupees 8.17 crores and the amount on loan with the members was Rs. 7.18 crores ( For the working of the co-operative societies the annual reports should be referred to.). It is no part of the object of a society to earn a profit on shares; share capital is entitled to interest such as may be charged on loans, but anything above this should be devoted to improving the service rendered to members by reducing the rate of interest or otherwise promoting their economic interests.