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Chapter VII of Punjab Land Administration Manual.

Patwaris and Kanungos

266.  Patwaris and Kanungo staff before 1885. The term village officer, as used in the land revenue act means a headman, a chief  headman, and a patwari. In this chapter we are only concerned with the patwari or village register and accountant, and with his immediate superior, the kanungo. No efficient revenue administration of a district is possible unless the patwari stases strong, properly trained, and strictly supervised by the kanungos, tahsildars, revenue assistant, and deputy commissioner.

267.  Object of reforms initiated in  1885. In the course of years effective measures have been taken to secure the proper performance by the patwari of his three chief duties:

(1)  the maintenance of a record of the crops grown at every harvest:

(2)  the keeping of the record of rights upto date by punctual record of mutations; and

(3)  the accurate preparation of statistical returns embodying the information derived from the harvest inspections, register of multatins, and record of rights.

These duties will be described in the 9th, 10th , and 11th chapters of this book.

268.  Principles of revenue policy sound, but machinery for carrying them out wanting. The revenue policy of the Punjab from the beginning was founded on the principles laid down in the Thomson’s valuable treatise, the “Directions for settlement officer” and the “Directions for collections.” But the official machinery was too wake to secure effective compliance.

269.  Canceled.

270.  Canceled

271.  Canceled.

272.  Canceled.

273.  (1) Indian famine commission 1880 proposed-foundation of agricultural department in each province. In spite of efforts to secure improvement the revenue statistics of the province remained incomplete and unreliable until late into last century. But the lessons learned in the famine of 1877-78 made it impossible to leave things where they were. In the report of the Indian famine commission, which was laid on the necessity of creating in each province a special agricultural department. The concerned remarked:-

“such an office in each province would have charge of all the records of past famines, and take note of all that is being usefully done or learnt in neighboring provinces, so that the gathered results of past experience might be collected and made accessible, which has hitherto been hardly possible. Through this office should be bought together the more comprehensive and exact record of the agricultural, vital, and economic condition of the people to the urgent necessity of which we have already drawn attention. Especially, when a famine is thought ot be impending would such an office become important, as it would supply the government with all statistics bearing on this subject, and would be responsible for working out from them the conclusions on which the decision as to future action would mainly rest. When a famine is in progress, all the information relating to relief measures, that extant, their results, would be collected in it and presented in a uniform and intelligible manner, and through it all orders of the local government relating to famine administration would be issued.”

274   (2) Reform of patwari and kanungo agency. “ the efficiency of such a special department, as we have proposed will depend mainly on the completeness and accuracy with which the agricultural vital, and economic statistics with which it has to deal are collected in each village and compiled in each sub division and district throughout the country” * * * * “ the revenue system in the greater part of British India is such as o present unrivalled means of ascertaining, in the fullest manner, all necessary facts relating to agriculture, and to the different incidents of landed tenures in every village; but those means gave nowhere een completely utilized and made as efficient as they might be. We recommend that the body of village accountants should everywhere be put on a sound and satisfactory footing as responsible public officers, with a clearly defined set duties, but with their own villages.” “* * * *” over the villages accountants there should be a staff of active sub-officers employed in keeping them to their duty, inspecting their work, visiting each village in turn, and checking the accuracy of all the items recorded concerning it.”

274  (3) appointment of revenue assistant in each district. “ above these there should be special officer in every district who would be, as a rule, of the rank  of deputy collector, and whose nail or only duty should be to take charge of all matters connected with the economic condition and well-being of the people. He would test and compile the agricultural returns and examine the market prices and ascertain from these and other data the relative value of each year’s crop, according as it is below or above the average. From such a continuous record of the harvests he would obtain data for judging weather the landed classes were in the depressed or a prosperous condition, and how far they were prepared to meet a climates season. It would be this object to obtain similar information as to all sections of the population, and to learn what are the causes of depression, and what classes would be the first to succumb under the pressure of declare and high prices. The accurate regulation of vital statistical, and the investigation of the causes of any abnormal mortality, would lie within his province and he would be the gainer of the health officer of the district for the purpose of scrutinizing the record of births and deaths. The extent of the good stocks, the ebb and flow of local trade, the current rate of interest charged on loans to different classes, the deficient or superabundant supply of any kinds of labour and the customary wages paid to each kind, these and other kinds of labour and the customary wages paid to each kind, these and other kindred topics on which information is at present far from precise, would fall within the scope of his enquiries. These officer, while generally subordinate to the collector, would be specially under the orders of the agricultural Department in respect of the system on which their returns are to be prepared and checked.

274. (4) Appointment of Director of Agriculture in each province. ”A Director of agriculture should be appointed in each province as executive head of this Department, chosen for his knowledge of the condition of the people and particularly of the agricultural classes. He would directly control the special statistical officers, and would be the adviser of the local government on all matters relating to agriculture and statistics. In ordinary times he would discharge these duties and superintend all measures designed to improve the agriculture of the country : and in times of famine he would be the officer responsible for warning the government as to the agricultural outlook and for preparing such a forecast as should guide it in issuing instructions and setting on foot measures of relief.”

274.  Introduction of reforms in Punjab. The measures proposed by the commission therefore embraced

(a)  the reform of the patwari staff;

(b)  the provision of a sufficient staff of supervisor or kanungos;

(c)  the appointment of a revenue assistant in each district;

(d)  the appointment of a director of agriculture in each province.

It fell to colonel wace, first as settlement commissioner and later as financial commissioner ,to carry out these reforms a task which he welcomed with enthusiasm . to enable him to deal with the matter effectively he was appointed in 1882 director of agriculture while retaining the post of settlement commissioner . in 1883 a revenue assistant was appointed in each district except simla. In the same year colonel wace prepared a scheme for the reorganization of the kanungo staff. Which was sanctioned with some modifications next year, and carried out in 1885. Hitherto, the estab lishment in each district had consisted of a sadar kanungo at headquarters on Rs 60 per mensem, and a kanungo on Rs. 25 with an assistant of rs. 15 of each tahsil.the staff was now doubled. The kanungo at the tahsil head quarters became the office kanungo and a staff of  field kanungos was provided to supervise the patwaris work in their villages. The pay and prospects of kanungos were much improved. A director of land records was appointed in 1885.

276.  Object of reforms in land record agency and procedure. These changes and the procedures connected with the reformed of record embodied in a now code of patwari and kanungo rules, the object of which was explained to be the securing of –

(a)  real efficiency among the patwaris and kangos;

(b)  improved field-to- field inspection, and record of the results of each harvest;

(c)  the continuous record in convenient tanks of the total results of each harvest and each years husbandry, these tables being kept first by villages, secondly by assessment circles, and thirdly by tahsils

(d)  the punctual record in attentions of all mutations of rights and there prompt incorporation in the jamabandy.

(e)  The cessation of the practice, under which in numerous cases mutation orders where passed in the absence of the parties, or after calling them away from there village to the tahsil office;

(f)  The release of tahsildars and naib-tahsildars from a large amount of revenue case work. witch under the procedure hitherto prescribed for such work. Tied them to their tahsil offices and overboard. Ended their small office establishment with clerical duties; and

(g)  As a consequence, the systematic visiting of each village, either by the tahsildar or naib tasildar.

277.  Effects of reforms.  The new system was embodied in the Punjab Land Revenue act of 1887 and the rules issued under it. Since it was introduced it has been modified in some of its details. But on change affecting its main features has been made, and the soundness of the scheme has been proved by a steady improvement in the work of the patwaris and in the revenue administration of the districts.

278.  organization of patwaris and kanungo staff reconsidered at set. Telnet. The organization of the patwari and kanungo staff is carefully reconsidered when a district is being assessed, and it rarely necessary to make many changes in the interval between two settlements. The limits of patwaris’ circles are matters for the commissioner to decide. The number, grading and pay of patwaris also the revision of the limits of field kanungos’ circles, require the sanction of the financial commissioner.

279.  Points for consideration in forming patwaris’ circles. In fixing the limits of a circle, the chief points to consider are the number of fields to be worked over at the harvest inspections, and the number of owners’ holdings and cultivation’s’ holdings for which entries have to be made in the record of rights. The number given to each field in the village map is known as the khasra number, that assigned to each owner’s holding in the record of rights a called the jamabandi number, and that allotted to each cultivator’s holding the khatauni number. A patwari should usually be able to keep up the record of a circle contacting from 4,000 to 5,000 khasra and 1,200 to 1,600 khautani numbers, but regard must be paid to the distances the patwari will have to travel, the nature of the country, the simplicity or complexity of the land tenures, and the inclusion in the circle of estates subject to river action or under flucuating assessment, and the degree of fragmentation or consolidation of holdings. A circle generally consists of several adjoining estates, but some large estates require the  whole services of a patwari and few have more them one.

280.    Grading patwari. Before 1885 there was a separate patwari cess, and each patwari received the amount levied in the village of his circle. A man with a small circle of rich highly cultivated estates drew much more pay than his fellow incharge of a much larger and more difficult circle containing village where the precariousness of the crops had enforced a light assessment. Now the patwaris of a district are distributed into grades with varying rates of pay. Patwari are graded as under:-

1st grade, on Rs. 26 per mensem…… 20 per cent

2nd grade on Rs. 23 per mensum…..40”

3rd grade, on  Rs. 20 per mensum…40”

281.  Village officers  cess . Section 29 of the Punjab land revenue Act. XVII of 1887, provided for the lavy of a  cess at a trait nor exceeding 12 ½  per cent on the land revenue and canal owner’s rate for the remuneration of village officers, that is to say, headmen, chief headmen, and patwaris. The balance used to be available for the remuneration of the patwari staff, but in 1906,the liability of the landowners for the pay of the patwari staff was abolished. The change made was incorporated in the land Revenue Act by the Repealing and Amending (Rates and cesses)Act, 1907, which limited the cess to a maximum rate of 6 ¼ per cent on the land revenue and cana; owner’s rate, restricted the expenditure to purposes directly connected with the maintenance of the agency of headmen and chief headmen. The headmen retains a surcharge of  5 per cent on the land revenue and owner’s rate which he collects, and 1 per cent is payable to the chief headman, if there is one.

282.  Assistant patwaris. It is usual to have a  few assistant patwaris receiving Rs. 15 monthly. Assistants should be used to help patwaris whose work is very heavy of to fill  temporary leave vacancies. Except on the latter case ,they  should not ordinarily be independent charge.

283.  Payment of patwaris. Salaries are drawn monthly and care should be taken be that they are punctually disbursed. Besides their pay patwaris receive a two- fifth’s share of the fees levied for the entry of mutations in the record of rights, and  allowed and giving certified extracts. It is a rule to which no exceptions are allowed that pay and all the fees must be given to the person who actually performs the duties of patwari.

284.  Appointment, punishment, and dismissal of patwaris. No revenue officer below the grade of collector can appoint, punish, of dismiss a patwari. With this exception that the Revenue Assistant may impose on a patwari a fine not exceeding Rs.2 and a Tahsidar a fine not exceeding Rs.1 on any one occasion. But the deputy commissioner should keep the power to sanction appointments and dismissals in his own hands. Recommendations should be received from the Revenue Assistant, and where he is and impartial and sensible man, they should usually be accepted. Upon him mainly depends the efficiency of the patwari and kanungo staff. He cannot have the proper amount of authority over it or be expected to work worth zeal if his subordinates are given any reason to suspect that he has not the support and confidence of his chief.

285.  Patwari candidates. A register of patwari candidates is kept up for each tahsil. In most districts it is now possible to exclude men who have not passed the Middle school examination. Neat and clear handwriting in the undue character and the power to work out simple sums in arithmetic quickly and correctly are essential, and no candidate, however well qualified otherwise should be accepted who has not good physique and health and good eyesight, candidates must be between the age of 15 and 25 years, it is undesirable that a large proportion of the candidates should belong to the money lending or trading classes, and the sons of  agriculturists should be encouraged to come forwarded as candidates. A clever and well educated lad who enters government services as a patwari has a very fair chances of promotion to higher posts. The appointments of tahsil revenue accountant (wasilbaki navies) and siyaha navis are, whenever possible, received for them, and two thirds of the kanungo must be promoted patwari. Once he becomes a field kanungo a patwari may hope to climp still higher on the official leader. Patwaris are also eligible for the post of tahsil judicial muharrir.

286.  Patwari school. Every candidate must attend the patwari school and appear at the patwari examination. His name should ordinarily be struck off the register if he fails to pass with in three years. The patwari  school in each district should be opened on the 15th of April and closed at the end of august. Before joining the school the candidate should be required to attend for instruction at the sravi girdawari. The principal subjects taught with the aid of books are arithmetic and menstruation, on which special menials have been written for the use of patwaris, and the directions contained in the financial commissioners’ standing orders nos. 15,16,22,23,24 and appendices vii. Viii. Ix. And xxi of the Punjab settlement manual. But the teaching should be of a thoroughly practical character and a great deal of it should be given in the field. In survey work a pound of practice is worth a ton of instructions. A candidates who passes the examination held at end of the school term, attends the kharif gridawari for further practical instructions, and unless he does so, he is not entitled to a pass certificate.

287.  Filling up of vacancies. The most “suitable” candidate must be selected, and relationship to the former patwari confers no claim. But the deputy commissioner is bound to consider any representation made be the land owners of the vacant circle, and , if it is evident that they really wish for the appointment of a relation of the late incumbent, who is fit of the post some regard should be had to this in weighting claims. The fact that the candidate is already resident of the circle and has the confidence of the properties, has a strong bring on his “suitability.” However well qualified he seems to be a candidate should not be chosen if any of his near relation land money in the circle.

288.  Residence of patwari in his circle. Every patwari is bound to reside in his circle and must not leave it without permission. Where a suitable patwarkhana exists, the patwari must keeps his records in it live in it with his family, and repair it when necessary. Landowners must not be asked to spend any part of common village fund (malva) in building or maintaining patwarkhanas, and only in special circumstances will be expenditure on these subjects be met by governments. Where no patwarkhana exists the patwari must make his own arrangements, but reasonable help in enabling him to do this will be given to him by the revenue authorities.

It is the intention of government to provide additional patwarkhanas steadily year by year.

289.  Disabilities of patwaris. A patwari is forbidden to engage in trade, or to have any interest whatever in the landing of money to agriculture and he must be not tout for any legal practitioner or borrow from any agriculturists in his circle. He cannot acquire in his circles, except by inheritance, and if he possessed any interest in land anywhere he must report the fact to the tahsildar, nor can he purchase, or bid for either agricultural land or land for building sites in colonies without the section of the local government previously obtained. A patwari sometimes tries to evade these rules by buying or taking mortgage in the name of one of his sons, but transparent subterfuges of this sort are easily brushed aside. He is not permitted to write, attest, or witness deeds or private individuals. He may be dismissed if he is deeply in debt, as will as for misconduct, neglect of duty or incompetence. As soon as he becomes unfit through age or chronic will health to do this work properly he must be relieved of his office. Small rewards are payable on retirement to well-conducted patwari who have served for a long time.

290.  Employment of patwari on other, but his proper duties forbidden. Care must be taken that no patwari is employed on any duties except those laid down in the financial commissioner’s standing order N0. 15, which are amply sufficient to occupy his whole time. The chief branches of his work, the registration of the crops, the maintenance of the record of rights, and the writing up of the statistical register of each estate, will be described in latter chapters. But the other duties which he has to discharge may be briefly noticed here.

291.  Miscellaneous duties of patwari. It is his business to report at once all serious calamities affecting the land or the crops, and all severe outbreaks of disease among man and beast. He must bring to the notice of inspecting officers encroachments of government lands, the deaths of pensioners and assignees, the emigration or immigration of cultivators, and the unauthorized cultivation of groves held revenue free on condition of the preservation of the trees. He must allow any one interested to inspect his records, and , if required, give certified extracts from them.

292.  Patwaris’ diary. He keeps up a diary and a work-book. The first part of the diary, which is renewed annually, should contain a record of all facts of importance regarding the cultivation of the land, the state of the crops, the condition and relations of landowners and tenants, and the interests of government. The entries should be made on the day on which the events come to the notice of the patwari. At the end of each sambat month of careful general note on the crops and the cattle of the circle should be added. Orders received by the patwari from kanungo or from any revenue officer should also be entered in part  1 of the diary. Where , however an order consists of directors of a general nature it should be interested in part ii which is not renewed every year. The diary, like all other revenue record, is kept by the agricultural year beginning on  16th bhadon, corresponding to the 1st September.

293.  Kanungo staff. The Kanungo establishment consists of field Kanungos, office Kanungos, and a district Kanungo. Its strength in each district can only be altered with the sanction of the local government. Ordinarily there is one field Kanungo for twenty patwaris, an office Kanungo at each tahsil, and a district Kanungo  with at least one assistant at headquarters.

294.  Duties of field Kanungo. The Kanungo should be constantly moving about his circle supervising the work of the patwari on the spot, except in the month of September, when he stays at the tahsil to check the jamabandis received from the patwari.

295.  Duties of office Kanungo. The office Kanungo is the tahsidar’s revenue clerk, his chief work, the maintenance of the statistical revenue records, will be described in a later chapter. He has also charge of the forms and stationary required by patwari, keep the account of mutation fees, records in rainfall, and maintains the register of assignees of land revenue and other miscellaneous revenue registers. He is custodian of all the records received from patwari, and a well- ordered Kanungo’s office is an important factor in the revenue management of a tahsil.

296.  Duties of district Kanungo - The district Kaungo is responsible for the efficiency of the both the office and the field Kanungos and should be in camp inspecting their work for at least fifteen days in each month from 1st October to 30th April. He is the keeper of all records received from Kanungos and patwari, maintains with the help of his assistant copies of the prescribed statistical registers for each assessment circle, tahsil and the whole district. It is necessary, as already noted to give him one or more assistants for office work. The pay of a sadder Kanungo is Rs. 75-5/2-100 per mensum, and his assistant received Rs. 60 per mensum, except in simla where he receives Rs. 50-5-75 per mensum, while special Kanungo entertained in connection with the scheme for making the contents of revenue records more ready accessible to litigants in civil and revenue courts are paid at Rs. 65 per mensum.

297.  Kanungo to be employed only on their proper work. All Kanungos must be strictly confined to their own allotted work. It would be example, the improper to allow the district kanungo to be used by the revenue assistant as a reader. Nor should a tahsil office kanungo be used for case work.

298.  Grades and pay of Kanungo. Field and office kanungos are graded on a single list, office kanungo being chosen from among the older field kanungos. On first appointment a field kanungo receives Rs. 40 per mensum. His appointment is on probation pending the obtaining of a certificate of efficiency from the director of land records. No kanungo is confirmed unless and until he has obtained this certificate, and if he does not obtain it within 2 years of his first appointment, his name is struck off the list of kanungos and he received to his original post, if any. No longer remaining a kanungo candidate. Field kanungo in the highest grade, or one month of the whole number draw Rs. 50 monthly. Al field kanungos receive Rs. 20 per mensum as horse allowance. Settlement kanungo are paid at the same rats as field kanungos on the district staff”  field kanungo not employed in settlement work get a stationary allowance of Rs. 1 per mensum. Tahsil office kanungos receive rs. 60 per mensum.

Note-: for the purpose of this paragraph is the whole number be one less than a multiple of 4/e.g. 19,23 etc.) it should be considered to be a full multiple. This where there are 19 field kanungo 5 would be entitled to draw pay of rs. 50 per mensum. Punjab govt. letter no. 8 rev. dated Jan., 1914

299.  Kanungo candidate. A register of accepted candidates for the post of Kanungo is maintained. Patwari on the district establishment and settlement patwari drawing Rs. 53 or more per mensum are eligible for this register, provided they have passed the middle school examination, but a lower educational qualification may be accepted in special cases, with the sanction of the financial commission obtained through the director of land records. Most of the candidates should be drawn from this class, as two third of the vacancies of the among kanungo must be given to patwaris. A few men below the age of twenty five who have passed the matriculation examination of the Punjab university may be accepted. But such candidate must not be given appointment till they have served two years as patwaris or as apprentices learning patwari work. No one should be accepted as a candidate who is not of active habits and able to ride. There is no such thing as a hereditary claim to a kanungos post, and the caution given as to the case of patwaris applies equally to that of kanungo. candidate must appear at the local examination held by the director of land records. On passing it and giving evidence that they have received a proper practical training they are entitled to certificates of efficiency.

300.  Claims of kanungos to higher posts. Great care should be taken in choosing kanungo candidate, and there is not much difficulty in getting suitable men. The post itself is a respectable one as regards pay and position, and it carries the appointment of district revenue accountant or a naib-tahsildar. Any kanungo who have served govt. of five years including at least two years approved service as field kanungo may be selected as a naib tahsildar candidate. The commissioner’s register should always contain some names drawn from the kanungo’s list. It is true that few promoted kanungo’s are likely to rise above the rank of naib-tahsildar by becoming tahsildar. They are usually, at least when they have started as patwaris, made naib-tahsildar too late in life to do so. But their previous training fits them to do very good work as naib-tahsildar, and the post of 1st grade naib-tahsildar is sufficiently honourable and well paid to satisfy the ambitions of most men of the class from which the kanungo staff is mainly drawn. A permanent or officiating district kanungo is entitled to appear at the  naib-tahsildar examination, and, if he passes, his name is put on the register of candidate. A district kanungo of not less than two years standing may be selected by the financial commissioner as a candidate for the post of tahsildar.

301.  Kanungo in districts under settlement. When a district is being reassessed, the kanungo work under the orders of the settlement officer who finds it necessary to employ in addition a number of extra or settlement kanungos. He also becomes responsible for the training of candidates. At the end of the settlement he ought to leave in the district a thoroughly efficient kanungo staff with a number of qualified candidates.

302.  Training of kanungo candidates in settlement work. Where posible the director of land records arranges to give kanungo candidates from districts not under settlement a practical training in settlement work.

303.  Filling up post of district kanungo. A vacancy in the office of district kanungo must be filled by the promotion of an office or field kanungo. The post is one which can only properly be filled by a well educatedman of active habits, of good natural ability and sufficient acquired experience. A fair knowledge of english is an indispensable qualification for appointment. No particular examination test has been prescribed but ability to read and write english reports interlligibly and fairly quickly is demanded.

The deputy commissioner should consult the director of land records demi-offcially when a vacancy in the post for six months or more is to be filled. If they do not agree as to the person to be appointed, each should state his case for the consideration of the commissioner  of the division, who  will make the final selection. An appeal from his decesion will lie to the financial commissioner.

304.  Disabilities of Kanungos. The rule regarding rsidence is the same mutatis mutandis for field kanungo as for patwar , and kanungos are under the same regulations as patwari as regards trading, borrowing and lending, holding land, writing and attesting documents.

Hon'ble Revenue Minister


Special Chief Secretary, Department of Revenue, Rehabilitation and Disaster Management

Sh.  K A P Sinha, IAS

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