The Bombay Rent-Free Estates Act, 1852
Bombay Act No. 11 of 1852
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY 6
PreambleWhereas in the territories of the Dekkhan, Khandesh and Southern in Maratha Country, and in other districts more recently annexed to the Bombay Presidency, claims against Government on account of inams and other estates wholly or partially exempt from payment of land-revenue are excepted from the cognizance of the ordinary Civil Courts [* * *]; and whereas it is desirable that the said claims should be tried and determined without further delay; It is declared and enacted as follows:- 1. [Rules not applicable to certain districts.] - Repealed Act IV of 1894. 2. Power to appoint Inam Commissioner with Assistant and establishment. - The [Provincial Government] may appoint in any zilla or other division the territories subject to the Presidency of Bombay which were not brought under the general Regulations of Government by [* * *] Regulation [XXXVIII of 1827] an Inam Commissioner with so many Assistants, and such subordinate establishment, as may be necessary for the purpose hereinafter mentioned. 3. Duties how discharged. - The duties of each Inam Commissioner and his Assistants shall be discharged according to the rules in Schedule A annexed to the Act. 4. Determination of titles of claimants to exemption. - In the adjudication of claims to exempt lands or interests therein, the titles of claimants shall be determined by the rule in Schedule B annexed to this Act. 5. Powers to enforce attendance of witnesses to take evidence, etc. - Each Inam Commissioner and his Assistants shall have the same authority to procure the attendance of witnesses, and to take evidence, as now is, or from time to time may be, by law vested in the ordinary Civil Courts; and so far as concerns the penalties for not giving evidence, for false testimony, for resistance of process, contempts and other like matters connected with cases under cognizance by any one of the said officers, his office shall be held to be Court on civil jurisdiction of the same authority as the superior Civil Court of the zilla or district in which his office from time to time shall be established: Complaints against, or appeals from proceedings of Commissioner and Assistants. Provided that all complaints against, or appeals from, the proceedings of the Inam Commissioner or any of his Assistants in exercise of the authority conferred on them respectively by this section, shall be made under the second rule of Schedule A annexed to this Act; and shall not be cognizable by any other authority or in any other manner than as therein specified. 6. Punishment of misconduct of officers on Commission. Extortion defined. Bribery, extortion, and generally all acts of abuse or misapplication of authority, or other misconduct, committed by any officer belonging to the establishment of the Inam Commission, or temporarily employed therein under the provisions of this enactment, shall be punishable as criminal offence with fine and ordinary imprisonment without labour for a period not exceeding five years, and the receipt of a present, directly or indirectly, by any such officer from any person against whom or in whose behalf he may be officially employed, shall be considered extortion. Other presentation not barred. And no penalty or punishment adjudicated under this clause shall preclude, any other civil prosecution to with the offender may be liable. 7. [Jurisdiction of Courts barred.] - Repealed Act X of 1876.
Rules for Defining the Duties of each Inam Commissioner and his Assistants1. Duty defined. - The duty of the Inam Commissioner and his Assistants shall be to investigate, in the manner prescribed by this enactment, the titles of persons holding or claiming against Government the possession or enjoyment of inam or jagirs, or any interest therein, or claiming exemption from the payment of land-revenue, and generally to act accordingly to the instruction [of the Provincial Government] in all matters not specifically provided for in this enactment. 2. Appeal from orders of Assistant Commissioners and Commissioner. - All orders of the Assistant Commissioners shall be appealable to the Inam Commissioner, who shall also have the authority of revising and of modifying, reversing or annulling, if necessary, their orders and proceedings, and the orders and proceedings of the Inam Commissioner shall be in like manner appealable to, and subject to modification, reversal or annulment by, [the tribunal constituted under section 296(2) of the Government of India Act, 1935], [orders of which] shall in every case be final. 3. Duty to receive establishments of title, and record evidence in support. - The Inam Commissioner or his Assistants shall receive from the persons, holding or claiming to hold lands or any interest therein exempt from the payment of revenue, statements explaining the nature of the title by which the land or interests are so held, and shall take and record the evidence in support of such statements. 4. Statements how received. - These statements may be received either directly by the officers of the Inam Commission, or through the medium of the revenue-authority of the taluqa in which the land or interest so held or claimed as exempt is situated, or in which the alleged proprietor resides, without any previous procedure, except a general invitation to such landholders of a district who shall hold or claim to hold lands exempt as aforesaid to state the nature of their titles. 5. Notice when to issue. - But, when such general invitation is not sufficiently attended to, a notice may be issued to any party holding or claiming to hold any lands or any interest therein wholly or partially exempt as aforesaid, requiring him, personally or by his agent, to show his title. Contents of notice. - The notice issued in such cases shall state the nature of the investigation which is intended, and shall call upon, the alleged proprietor of the exempt lands or interest, held or claimed to be held exempt as aforesaid, to attend either personally or by an authorized agent, at a specified place, and within a specified period (which shall never be less than two months from the date of the notice being served), to explain the nature of this title to hold such lands or interest exempt as aforesaid, and to produce all the evidence forthcoming to prove it. The notice shall further explain that a failure to comply with its terms will render the land, or interest to which it relates, liable to attachment. 6. Service of notice. - The notice shall be served upon the party holding or claiming to hold the land or interest exempt as aforesaid, for, if his place of residence be not known, upon the person acting or him, or, in default of such, upon the person in charge of the land or interest. 7. Posting notice when landholder not found. - If such persons cannot be found a notice shall be posted in the office of the Native Revenue-officer of the district and in the chauri, or most public place of the village where the land or interest under inquiry is situated, calling on any person who may claim as proprietor to appear, either personally, or by his agent, to prove his title within six months from the date of the notice, under penalty of the attachment of the land or interest, and, on failure of the appearance of a claimant, the land or interest shall be liable to attachment. 8. Attachment by whom enforced. - The attachment provided for by rules 5 and 7 shall be enforced by the Collector or chief revenue-authority of the district in which the land to which in relates is situated, at the written requisition of the Inam Commissioner or his Assistant, which shall be a sufficient warrant to the Collector for the attachment of the land, and for the collection of the rents accruing therefrom on account of Government during its attachment. 9. Procedure on receipt of statements; and evidence of title. - As soon as possible after the receipt of the statements in each district and of the evidence by which they are supported, they shall be tested by the entries in the Government accounts and State records, and by any other evidence procurable, whether in favour of Government or of the claimants, and decisions shall then be passed on them as to the continuance, resumption or full or partial assessment of the lands. 10. Procedure on failure of notice to procure attendance. - In cases where the notices provided for in sections 5 and 7 fail to procure the attendance of the persons to whom they are addressed, and no claimant appears to prosecute his claim, the Commissioner or Assistant Commissioner shall proceed to ascertain the facts of the case from such evidence as may be forthcoming or procurable, and shall pronounce such decision thereupon as to him shall seem just regarding the lands or interests to which the notices referred. 11. Removal of attachment. Restoration to proprietors of rents collected. An attachment enforced under rule 8 shall be removed by the Collector or chief revenue-authority by whom it was made, on receipt of a communication from the Inam Commissioner or his Assistant, certifying that he considers the attachment to be no longer necessary; but the rents collected from the land during its attachment shall in no case be restored to the alleged proprietor, except under the general or special instructions [of the Provincial Government]. 12. Copies of decisions to be delivered to claimants. Copies of decisions made in their absence how dealt with. - Certified copies of decisions, made according to the provisions of rule 9, shall be delivered, as soon as possible after each decision is passed, to the persons on whose claims the decision shall have been pronounced, or their agents; and copies of all decisions made in the absence of any claimant according to the provisions of rule 10 shall be sent to the mamlatdar, or other revenue-manager of the taluq in which the lands to which they relate are situated, who shall deliver them to the parties affected by them, should they be discoverable, or otherwise cause them to be publicly posted in the village to which the lands in question belong. 13. Execution of decision. - Decisions affecting any lands or any interests therein passed under this enactment shall be carried into execution by the Collector or chief revenue-authority of the district in which the lands to which they related are situated at the requisition of the Inam Commissioner or his Assistant, in any manner which may, from time to time, be prescribed by [the Provincial Government]. 14. Procedure in appeal. Setting aside decrees. In all cases where a person may be desirous of appealing against any decision of the Inam Commissioner or his Assistants, he shall apply by a petition, addressed to the authority by whom, according to rule 2, his appeal is cognizable, which petition shall be presented to such authority within one hundred days from the date of the decree appealed against, a copy of which must accompany the petition of appeal and no appeal which is not so made shall be admitted, without proof of the existence of a just and necessary cause for its not having been preferred in due time; and it is hereby provided that no decree passed by the Inam Commissioner or any of his Assistants shall be liable to be act aside for want of form in the proceedings, but only for matters affecting the justice of the decision.
Rules for the Adjudication of Titles to Estates Claimed as Inam or Exempt from Payment of Land Revenue1. Continuance of imams already declared permanent. - All lands held under a specific and absolute declaration by the British Government, or any competent officer acting under it, that they were to be continued hereditarily or in perpetuity exempt, wholly or partially, from the payment of revenue, are to be so continued according to the purport of such declaration. Disposal of question as to competency to make declaration. Provision 1st. - If any question shall arise as to the competency of the officer to make or give such declaration as aforesaid, the Commissioner or Assistant Commissioner is to suspend his judgment, and report the circumstances of the case to [the Provincial Government], to [which] a power is hereby reserved of determining finally whether such officer was competent to make or give such declaration, and the Commissioner or Assistant Commissioner, upon receiving the determination of [the Provincial Government], shall decide accordingly. 2. Continuance of holding under sanad declaring it hereditary, where granted by competent authority. - Any land held under a sanad declaring it to be hereditary shall be so continued according to the terms of the sanad. Provision 1st. - Provided that the grant was either made, or specifically recognized, by authority competent to alienate Government revenue in perpetuity, the question of which recognition and competency is to be referred to and determined [by the Provincial Government] in the manner prescribed by provision 1st, rule 1. and conditions of tenure legally observable; Provision 2nd. - And provided that there be nothing in the conditions of the tenure which cannot be observed without a breach of the laws of the land, or the rules of public decency. and grant not revoked disallowed or altered. Provision 3rd. - And provided that the grant was not afterwards revoked or disallowed, or an alteration of its terms ordered or recognized by a competent authority. 3. Continuance, of holdings exempt or partially exempt for sixty years before British rule. - All lands uninterruptedly held as wholly or partially exempt from assessment for a period of sixty years before the introduction of the British Government, and then in the authorized possession of a grandson in male descent or male heir of the body of such grandson, of the original grantee, shall continue to be so held so long as there shall be in existence any male heir of the body of the person who was incumbent at the introduction of the British Government, tracing his lineage from such incumbent through male heirs only. 4. Continuance of holdings so exempt for forty years. - All lands uninterruptedly held as wholly or partially exempt from assessment for a period of forty years before the introduction of the British Government, and then in the authorized possession of a son, or male heir of the body of a son, of the original grantee, are to be continued for one succession further than that of the person who was incumbent at the introduction of the British Government, that is, until the death of his last surviving son. Authorized possession how proved. Provision 1st. - The authorized possession contemplated by rules 3 and 4 does not involve the necessity of proving any specific authority from, or recognition by, the Government or paramount Power. The mere entry of the holding, as continued in the genuine accounts of the district-officers (even in those not audited and passed by the Government of the time being), will be sufficient to bring it under the heads of "uninterrupted" and "authorized" so far as regards the purposes of this rule: Provided only that there are no entries in the Collectorate accounts which show that the holding of such lands exempt as aforesaid must have been unauthorized by the Government or paramount Power. Prescriptive right of claimant when admissible. Provision 2nd. - It there be no evidence forthcoming to disprove a claimant's assertion that his holding has been undisputedly enjoyed for the number of years and descents requisite to fulfil the conditions of rules 3 and 4 respectively, his prescriptive right shall be admitted. Introduction of British Government when to date - in territories late of Peshwa. Provision 3rd. - The introduction of the British Government is to be reckoned from the time the East India Company became the Government or paramount authority over each district as regards its imams. In the territories ceded by or conquered from the Peshwas, therefore, whether khalsat mahals or saranjams, etc., held exclusive of imams, etc., the introduction of the British Government will date from the close of that of the Peshwas. 5. In independent principality or jagir more ancient than Peshwais government. - But in case if the lapse of an independent principality, or of a jagir more ancient than the Peshwa's government, and over the imams of which he did not claim any authority, the introduction of the British Government should be reckoned only from the date at which the general management of the districts may have come into the hands of the Company: Disposal of question as to date of East India Company acquiring Government. and in case any question shall arise as to the precise date when the East India Company became the Government over any district, or when the general management of any district came into their hands, such question shall be referred to and determined [by the Provincial Government] in the manner prescribed by provision 1st, rule 1. [6. Land resumable on demise of incumbent. - Land held as wholly exempt from payment of revenue, or on partial assessment, the possession of which is not continuable under the preceding rules, is to be resumed on the demise of the incumbent.] Extension of life tenure of holding of which incumbent died before British rule. Provision 1st. - In case the incumbent at the time of the introduction of the British Government may have died, the permission to hold for life is to be extended to the person in whose name the land may be continued, when the investigation is commenced, if there be no fraud apparent, nor other reason for withholding this indulgence. Resumption of land held by fraud. Provision 2nd. - When land is evidently held by fraud recently committed (as when an inam-which was resumed under the late Government has been re-occupied under the present Government without authority, or as when a pretended inam is found to have originated since the introduction of this Government with the connivance of district or village-officers), it shall be at once resumed, not being continuable under this or any of the preceding rules. 7. Continuance of holdings for support of mosques, temples, etc. - All lands held for the support of mosques, temples or similar institutions, of the permanent character of which there can be no doubt, are to be continued permanently, even though their permanent continuance may not have been expressly provided for when they were granted. Corresponding provisions of rule 2 applied. Provisions 1st, 2nd and 3rd. - The same as the corresponding provisions of rule 2 of this Schedule in those cases in which title-deeds or other records proving the circumstances of the original grant, or its specific recognition by competent authority, are forthcoming. Effect of enjoyment for forty years where no proof of grant forthcoming. Provision 4th. - When there is no proof forthcoming to show whether or not an inam, coming under the provisions of this rule, was granted, or even specifically recognized, by a competent authority, still, if it has been undisputedly enjoyed for a period of forty years before the introduction of the present Government, it shall be permanently continued, and enjoyment proved by the mere entry of the inam, as continued in genuine accounts of the district-officers (even in those not passed by the Government of the time being), is to be considered sufficiently "uninterrupted" to give an inam the benefit of this provision, if there be no entries in the Government accounts which show that it must have been unauthorized by them. Prescriptive title when admissible where records do not go back enough to test enjoyment for forty years. Provision 5th. - If the forthcoming records to not go far enough back to test the existence of enjoyment of the duration contemplated in provision 4th as establishing full prescriptive title in such inams, still, if so far as they do go, they are not opposed to the claimant's assertion that sufficient enjoyment has taken place, the prescriptive title of the inam shall be admitted according to his assertions, unless there be other evidence forthcoming to disprove them. Rule where not applicable. Provision 6th. - The peculiar advantages of this rule shall not apply to the holdings of individuals in their own names for the performance of ceremonial worship, claims to which must be decided under the rules for personal claims. Adjudication of certain claims coming under rule. Provision 7th. - When claims of the denomination coming under this rule are found to be unsupported by proof of original valid title and are proved void of sufficient prescriptive enjoyment, they are to be adjudicated according to rule 6. 8. Continuance of holdings by official tenure meant to be hereditary. - All lands authorizedly held by an official tenure which it is evident from local usage was meant to be hereditary, and has been so considered heretofore even though there be no sanads declaring it to be so, - for instance, imams which from the authorized emoluments of any hereditary office, as of kazis, village joshis, etc., and are not merely personal, - are to be continued permanently. Corresponding provision of rule 2 applied. Provisions 1st, 2nd and 3rd. - The same as the corresponding provisions of rule 2 of this Schedule in those cases in which title-deeds or other records, proving the circumstances of the original grant, or its specific recognition by competent authority, are forthcoming. Continuance of inam enjoyed as official holding during period covered by evidence though grant of recognition not proved. Provision 4th. - When there is no proof forthcoming to show whether or not an inam, coming under the provisions of this rule, was granted or even specifically recognized by competent authority, still, if it has been undisputedly enjoyed as an official, and not merely personal, holding from the earliest period to which the forthcoming evidence does relate, it shall be continued permanently as official emolument, unless the claimant's own statement renders this course improper. Exemption from rule of emoluments for certain services to State. Provision 5th. - The provisions of this rule are not in any way to apply to emoluments continued for service performed to the State, as the service watans of desais, sardesais, nadgaudas, deshpandes, patels, kulkarnis, mahars, talavaras, whose claims are to be disposed of according to the rules which are or may be established for the regulation of such holdings. Length of enjoyment by itself does not entitle to benefit of rule. Provision 6th. - It is to be understood that mere length of enjoyment of land as inam by an official person is not of itself sufficient to entitle a claim to be brought under this rule. Benefit of preceding rules when allowable. Provision 7th. - If a holding claimed under this rule be found incapable of permanent continuance under it, the claimant shall be allowed the advantages of any of the preceding rules of this Schedule which may be applicable to his case. 9. Provision for widows of last incumbents of resumed holdings. - On the resumption of any lands under the rules of this Schedule, a moiety or other portion may be continued to the widows of the last incumbents during their lives, in cases of proved poverty and destitution. Continuance to widow and sole heir of holder of hereditary personal inam. Provision 1st. - In the case of a holding which is recognizable as an hereditary personal inam, the widow of a proprietor who dies without surviving male issue, or other heirs, to whom his inam will of necessity descent, is by right his sole heir, and during her life the inam cannot be regarded as having lapsed to [the Crown]: it should, therefore, in such a case, be continued undiminished during the widow's life. 10. Exception of certain tenures from application of rules. - These rules shall not be necessarily be applicable to jagirs, saranjams, or other tenures for service to [the Crown], or tenures of a political nature, the titles and continuance of which shall be determined as heretofore under such rules as [the Provincial Government] may find it necessary to issue from time to time. 11. Modification in favour of claimants and interpretation of rules. - Any of these rules may be relaxed in favour of claimants under instructions from [the Provincial Government], in [which] shall also be vested the power of interpreting the precise meaning of any of the rules respecting which a question may arise.
G. N., R. D., No. 10336, dated 12th October, 1908 (B. G., Part I, page 1686)
Amended by G. N., R. D., No. 9886-F/33, dated 19th January 1939.
Amended by G. N., L. D., No. 11577, dated 14th August 1950.Schedule B, sections 8 and 10 of Act XI and section 2(3) of Bombay VII of 1863 - In exercise of the powers conferred by Act XI of 1852, Schedule B, sections 8 and 10, and by Bombay Act VII of 1863, section 2, clause 3, and of all other powers enabling him in this behalf, the Governor in Council is pleased, in supersession of the rules published in Government Notification in the Revenue Department, No. 2702, dated the 23rd April, 1902, as subsequently amended, to issue the following [rules] concerning the resumption and continuance of lands held for service:-
1. An inquiry into the title by which any land held for service is enjoyed may be instituted from time to time by such officer as the State Government may direct.
2. Lands originally held for service, which have been continued, or may hereafter be continued, under section 15, Bombay Act III of 1874, on condition of payment of a certain portion of the assessment thereof in commutation of service, shall continue to be held in accordance with the terms of the Sanads issued or hereafter to be issued in confirmation of the said communication settlements.
3. Service lands, in respect of which no such commutation settlement has been effected, and which have been already declared by Government, or by any officer under the orders of Government, to be resumable on the demise of certain persons, or on the extinction of certain families or lines of descent, shall be resumed accordingly.
4. Service lands which do not fall under No. 2 or No. 3 of these rules shall be continued, subject to the provisions of Bombay Act III of 1874, and of any other law for the time being in force relating thereto, to the heirs of the present holders, or in the event of the same being at any time lawfully alienated, to the heirs of the alienees, without restriction as to adoption or female or collateral succession; but such lands shall be resumed in default of any heir in whom, in the ordinary course of descent, the deceased holder's private would vest, and shall not be liable to be dealt with under the ordinary law for the time being in force relating to intestate property:Provided that if the Collector is at any tine satisfied that the service in respect of which any such lands are held is no longer performed or that its performance is no longer necessary, or that for the service performed the remuneration derived from the profits of the enjoyment of such lands is unnecessarily high or, in the case of service lands to which the provisions of Bombay Act III of 1874 do not apply, if it shall appear that the holder has been guilty of any serious offence or misconduct, or that such lands or any part thereof or any of the profits thereof have or has by succession or otherwise, come into the possession of a female or of any person other than the person who for the time being is duly authorized to perform and does actually perform the service in respect of which such lands are held, the Collector may in his discretion direct either (1) the resumption of such lands, or (2) the continuance of the same subject to such new conditions as he shall deem fit to impose, or (3) the resumption of a portion of such lands and the continuance of the rest thereof, subject to such conditions as aforesaid.
5. When the Sanad issued in confirmation of any service communication settlement expressly authorizes the alienation or transfer of the service lands, the same shall be continued without question to any lawful holder thereof on fulfilment of the terms of the Sanad. In every case contemplated by No. 2 of these rules, and in every case contemplated by Nos. 3 and 4 of these rules, if any land held for service or any of the profits thereof shall at any time be or become alienated contrary to the provisions of Bombay Act III of 1874, or of any other law for the time being in force, or, in the case of land to which the provisions of Bombay Act III of 1874 do not apply, if the same or any of the profits thereof shall be alienated or in any way encumbered without the previous sanction of the State Government the said land shall, if the Collector deem fir, be forthwith resumed, anything in the said rules to the contrary notwithstanding.
6. It shall be lawful for the Collector, whenever it may be necessary, in carrying out any of the provisions of No. 4 or No. 5 of these rules -
(a) summarily to evict any person wrongfully in possession of any land, or
(b) to levy any rent due by any person in the manner that may be prescribed in any law for the time being in force for the levy of a revenue demand.Explanation. - For the purposes of this rule any person in possession of land the resumption of which has been directed under No. 4 or No. 5 of these rules, shall be deemed to be a person wrongfully in possession thereof.