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Paras 410-438,444 of Punjab Land Administration Manual.

(1)  land added gradually owing to the recess of a river is to be considered an increment of the property of the person to whose holding or estate in has become annexed

(2)  when a river

(a)  by a sudden change in its course breaks thought or interescts an estate, or

(b)  by the violence of stream seprates a consderable piece of land from one estate and joins it to another, “without distroying the identity and preventing the recognition of the land so removed,” theland is to remain the property of the original owner.

This may be called the deep-stream rule modify to meet the case of  avulsion.

415.  Islands. Island thrown up in large and navigable rivers, the beds of which do not belong ot private owners, are to be at the disposal of govt. if the channel between the island and the river bank is unfordable throughout the year. If the channel is fordable, the island is to become and accession to the estate on the nearer of the two banks. In the case of small rivers, the property in whose beds and the right of fishery have been rocognized as belonging to the a private owners, the island is also to belong to him.

416.  Cases not governed by rules. In other cases not governed by the rules the courts are to be guided by the best avidence obtainable as to local custom. Or , in default of such evidence by general principle of equity and justs.

417.  Probable absence of definite custmer in punjab, the extent to which “ clear an ddefinite “ and “immemorially established” local usages as two the effect of rilver action on property in land existed in the punajb at the time of annexation seems open to deubt in some cases the usage recorded in the first settlements may have had a traditional basis: in others they no doubt represented what the headmen, assisted by the officials consirded out the be enforced for the future.

418.  Deep strem rule pure and simple. The deep strem rule is expressed by various verncular terms, has sikandari.kach mach, daryabanna , kishti banna, machhi-sim. It probably existed in its most rigid form in some parts of the province before 1845. Even where no such usage was of great antiquity it would naturally spring up whenever the opposite banks of a river came to be held kby river chiefs each eager to support the claims of his own subjects. It was recirded as the prevailing custom,on the Beas where it forms the dividing line between the Gurdaspur and hoshiarpur districts.

419.  Deep-stream rule modified to meet case of avulsion. As a rule regulating the ownership of land , it is so harsh in its working that it was universally condemmed by british officers. It may be partly on this accoun that in the vast majotrity of a estate else where in the punjab which are recorded as following the deep-stream rule, it is declared ot be subject to the qualification that transfer of land in an identifiable state by avulsion from one bank of a river that another involves no change of ownership.

420.  Rule of fixed boundaries. In some cases, for example, on the upper Ravi in the gurdaspur and Lahore diltricts and on part of the Jhelum district, the rule of filxed boundaries, known as warper, percails(see pages 1235, 1236,1240 and 1241 of selections from the records of the financial commissioner, new series, no. 15 (LXIX). This volume contains much information on riverain law in the punajb) it is the only ruleworthy  of civilized administration, but for its successful working it is necessary that the channel should have been mapped, and that the patwari should be sufficilently skillful ready to relay boundaries to obliuterated by rilver action. In most of the older settlements of dilstricts separted by large streams surveys were not carried across their beds, and it is only in recent years that a really competent staff of patwaris has been formed.

421.  Punjab riverain boundaries act, I of 1899. As long ago as 1867 sir James Lyall prosposed the adoption of idxed boundaries everywhere( selections from the records of the financial commissioner, new series no. 15 (LXIX), page 1203.) but the finacial commissioner of the day regarded the proposal as impractilable because of the lack of skill in survey work among the subordiante revenue staff(selection from the recorde of the financial commissioner, new serioes No. 15 paragraph 16 of memorandum by Sir Robert Egertion on page 1227. ) this objection has been ceased to be valid, and the first act passed by the punajb legislative counsil(punjab act I of 1899) was one enabling govet. To order the substution of flixed for variong boundaries in estate subject to river section. It added six sections. 101-a to 101-f, to the Punajb Land revenue act, XVII of 1887, and made additions to section 158 of the same act, and to the second and third sections of regulation XI of 1825.

422.  Boundaries how fixed. The act requires that the “boundaries ine shall be filxed with due regard to the history of the estate and the intereset of the persons respectively owing them or possessing rights therein such manner as may be just and quitable in the circumstances of each case( punjab government revenue proceedings-general-no.29 of january, 1900.) the instructions issued by the financial commissioner regarding the carring out of this provision of the act provide(punjab govt. revenue proceedings-general-no. 29 of januray, 1900)  that “the collecter should in the first place try to get the villages concerned to come to an amenable agreement.” Failing that, he “ must himself fix a line…… and, in doing so, should have been, taking a long series of years together, if matters had been allowed to continue under the existing law or custom. Among other things he would have to bear in mind that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. If, for example, the river were making a dead set upon its right bank, which it was in a high degree likely would continue for some years, some allowance would have to be made for the fact that the riparian owners on the left bank would, by our taking action under the act, be derived of land which would be pretty certain to have accured to them for some years if we had left matters alone. On the other hand, it should fbe born in mind that in all probability after some years the river would begin to work back again, and whatever was reasonable should be allowed per contra on this account in fixing the line. The object should be to draw the line as far as possible so that neither party should feel that the other had obtained a very clear advantage by our intervention.

423.  Effect of relaying of boundry on private property. If the line adopted transfer land from one estate to another, the proprietary rights in the land are also transferred. But in the case of land which is ‘ under cultication, or reasinably fit for the culticvation, or (which) yield any produce of substantial value, “it is the duty of the collecteor to pass an order suspending the transfer of private rihgts “unless and until the land……….. cease to be reasonably  fit for cultivcation or to yield any produce of substantial value;” when any part of the land answers the latter description, the transfer be, comes complete.(section 101-b(1) of the punajb land revenue act, 1887). The effect of action taken nder the act is to create a fixed boundry which will at once define the limits of estates and ultimately in the majority of cases those private also.

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.

420.  Cancelled.

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.

Hon'ble Revenue Minister


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

Sh.  K A P Sinha, IAS

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