The Bengal Revenue-Free Lands (Badshahi Grants) Regulation, 1793
Bengal Regulation 37 of 1793
[1st May, 1793.]
A Regulation for re-enacting, with modification, the rules passed on the 23rd April, 1788, and subsequent dates, for trying the validity or the titles of persons holding or claiming a fight to hold altamgha, Jagir and other lands exempt from the payment of public revenue, under grants termed badshahi or royal, and for determining when certain grants of that description shall be considered to have expired; and for fixing the amount of the public revenue to be assessed upon the lands the grants for which may expire or be adjudged invalid.
1. Preamble. - By the ancient law of the country the ruling power is entitled to a certain proportion of the produce of every bigha of land, unless it transfers its right thereto for a term or in perpetuity.
As a necessary consequence of this law every grants or alienation of Government's proportion of the produce of lands without its sanction was considered null and void.
Had the validity of such grants or alienation been admitted it is obvious that the public revenue would have been liable to gradual diminution.
Under the Native Government grants were occasionally made of the Government's share of the produce of lands, for the support of the families of persons who had performed public service, for religious or charitable purposes, for maintaining troops and for other services.
The British Government continued to the grantees or their heirs such of these grants as were hereditary, and were made before, the date of the Company's accession to the Diwani, provided the grantees or their heirs had obtained possession previous to that date; but those grants which were for life only have been invariably considered as resumable on the death of the grantees.
No complete register of these grants having been formed on the Company's accession to the Diwani, nor subsequent to that period, many persons have retained possession of lands under fabricated or ante-dated, grants, or have succeeded to life-grants on the demise of the original grantee or former possessor, without the sanction of Government.
The Governor General in Council, deeming it incumbent on him to resume the public dues from lands held under invalid tenures, as well as the revenue of all lands the grants for which might expire, and as the proprietors of estates were not entitled to collect such of the public dues from the lands included in their estates as Government had judged it advisable to transfer to individuals, or to resume those which had been alienated or were appropriated without authority, the amount of the revenue of the lands having in both cases been excluded from the assets on which the settlement was to be concluded, it was made a rule at the time of forming the decennial settlement, and which has been re-enacted by section 36, [Regulation VIII, 1793], that the jama assessed upon the estates of individuals was to be considered as exclusive and independent of all existing lakhiraj lands, whether exempted from the khiraj or public revenue, with or without due authority,
and by the third clause of the seventh article of the Proclamation contained in [Regulation 1, 1793,] which specifies the conditions under which Government declared the decennial settlement permanent, it is expressly stipulated that the Governor General in Council will impose such assessment as he may deem equitable on all lands at present alienated and paying no public revenue which have been or may be proved to be held under illegal or invalid titles.
The Governor General in Council however at the same time that he is desirous of recovering the public dues from lands held under invalid tenures, is equally solicitous that persons holding lands under grants that are declared valid should be secured in the quiet possession and enjoyment of them,
With this view, and to obviate all injustice or extortion in the inquiry in to the titles of persons possessing lands under such grants, he has resolved that all claims of the public for the resumption of such grants (provided the grantees or persons in possession register their grants as required in this Regulation) shall be tried in the Courts of Judicature, that no such grants may be resumed until the title of the grantee or present possessor shall have been adjudged invalid by a final judicial decree.
Upon the above grounds, and with a view to facilitate the resumption of invalid grants, as well as to prevent any grants being hereafter made without the authority of Government, and further that Government and its officers may at all times have in their possession a correct register of the lands in the several zilas held exempt from the payment of revenue under badshahi : grants, the following rules, containing the rules passed on the 23rd April, 1788, and subsequent dates, with modifications, have been enacted.
2. Badshahi grants made before Diwani. First. - Altamgha, jagir, aima, madadmash or other badshahi grants for holding land exempt from the payment of revenue, made previous to the 12th August, 1765, the date of the Company's accession to the Diwani, shall be deemed valid, provided the grantee actually and bona fide obtained possession of the land so granted previous to that date and the grant shall not have been subsequently resumed by the officers or the orders of Government.
If it shall be proved to the satisfaction of the Court that the grantee did not obtain possession of the land so granted previous to the 12th August, 1765, or that he did obtain possession of it prior to that date, but that it has been since resumed by the officers or the orders of Government, the grant shall not be deemed valid.
Procedure in case of doubts as to authority of Officer having resumed grants. Second. - In the event, however, of a claim being preferred by any person to hold land exempt from the payment of revenue, under a badshahi grant made previous to the date of the Company's accession to the Diwani, and on it being proved to the satisfaction of the Court in which the suit may be instituted in the first instance, or to which it may be appealed, that the grantee held the land exempt from the payment of revenue, but that it was subjected to the payment of revenue posterior thereto by an officer of Government, and the Court shall entertain doubts as to the competency of such officer, under the powers vested in him, to resume the grant and subject the lands to the payment of revenue, the Court shall suspend its judgment and report the circumstances to the [State] Government, to whom a power is reserved of determining whether such officer was or was not, competent to resume the grant; and, upon receiving the determination of the [State] Government, the Court is to decide accordingly.
No such claim, however, to hold exempt from the payment of revenue, land that may have been subjected to the payment of revenue for the twelve years preceding the date on which the claim may be instituted, shall be heard by any Zila or City Court, unless the claimant can show good and sufficient cause for not having preferred the claim to a competent authority within the twelve years [* * * *].
Persons not being original grantees not entitled to hold lands free. Third. - But no part of the two preceding clauses is to be construed to empower the Courts to adjudge any person, not being the original grantee entitled to hold land paying revenue to Government, exempt from the payment of revenue, under a jagir or other grant made previous to the Company's accession to the Diwani, where the grant may expressly specify it to have been given for the life of the grantee only; or, supposing no such specification to have been made in the grant, or the grant not to be forthcoming, where the grant, from the nature and denomination of it, shall be proved to be a life-tenure only, according to the ancient usages of the country.
Nor also heirs of persons now possession exempted lands under life-grants made previous to Diwani. Fourth. - Nor to entitle the heirs of any person now holding lands exempt from the payment of public revenue under a jagir or other badshahi life-grant made previous to the Diwani to succeed to and hold such land exempt from the payment of revenue upon the demise of the present possessor; where the grant may expressly specify it to have been given for the life of the grantee only, or supposing no such specification to have been made in the grant, or the grant not to be forthcoming, where from the nature and denomination of the grant it shall be proved to be a life-tenure only, according to the ancient usages of the country.
Present possessors not to transfer or mortgage grants Fifth. - The present possessors of lands now exempt from the payment of revenue under such jagir or other life-grants made previous to the Diwani and declared by the preceding clause not to be hereditary, are prohibited from selling or otherwise transferring them, or mortgaging the revenue of the lands for a longer period than their own lives, and all such transfers and mortgages which have been or may be made are declared illegal and void.
3. Certain grants made or confirmed since Diwani declared invalid. First. - All badshahi grants for holding land exempt from the payment of revenue, which may have been made since the 12th August, 1765, by any other authority than that of Government, and which may not have been confirmed by Government, or by any officer empowered to confirm them are declared invalid.
Procedure in cases of doubt of authority of officer confirming grant. Second. - If doubts shall be entertained by any Court as to the competency of the authority of any officer to confirm any such grant, the Court is to suspend its judgment and report the circumstances of the case to the[State] Government, to whom a power is reserved of determining finally whether the officer possessed competent authority to confirm the grant, or otherwise, and the Court, upon receiving the determination of the [State] Government, shall decide accordingly.
4. Questions regarding proprietary right to be determined in Diwani Adalat. - It is to be understood that this Regulation respects only the Government proportion of the revenue arising from lands held or claimed to be held under badshahi grants, and whether Government is entitled to resume or retain such revenue or otherwise.
Every dispute or claim regarding the zamindari or proprietary right in lands included in any grant is to be considered as a matter of a private nature between the contending parties, and is to be determined in the Diwani Adalat.
5. Collectors to attach revenue of lands in escheated grants. - When a jagir or other life-grant shall escheat [to the Government], the Collector is immediately to attach the revenue of the lands and report the circumstance to the Board of Revenue, who are to obtain the orders of the [State] Government regarding the resumption of the grant.
6. Assessment of lands included in resumed grants. - When any badshahi grant shall be resumed or expire, or escheat [to the Government], the revenue to be paid [to the Government] from the lands included in it shall be assessed, and the settlement made in perpetuity, agreeably to the rules for the decennial settlement contained in [Regulation VIII, 1793,] with the person possessing the zamindari or proprietary right in the lands, whoever he may be.
If the proprietor shall refuse to pay the jama demanded of him, the land shall be held khas or let in farm, as directed in that Regulation.
7. to 9. Suits by Collectors for the recovery of invalid lakhiraj. - Repealed by the Bengal Land-revenue Assessment Regulation, 1819 (II of 1819).
10. Suits against Government by persons claiming to hold lands paying revenue exempt from revenue under badshahi grants. - Any person having a claim to hold lands paying revenue exempt from the payment of revenue under a badshahi grant must institute his claim against Government, who alone can be the defendant in such suits, in the Diwani Adalat of the zila, in the same manner as in cases where individuals may cLaim a right to hold lands paying revenue exempt from the payment of revenue under grants not of the description of those termed badshahi, in virtue of [Regulation XIX, 1793].
The Collectors of the revenue are to defend all such suits as may be instituted against Government, and such suits, and the suits which the Board of Revenue may direct the Collector to institute are to be defended or prosecuted by the vakil of Government, under the instructions of the Collector:
and in the event of Government being cast, either wholly or in part, or if the Collector shall be dissatisfied with the decree in any respect, all the rules contained in section 30, [Regulation XIV, 1793] and the other sections in that Regulation respecting decisions given against a Collector in any Zila Court in suits instituted against him by any proprietor or farmer of land, for sums of money demanded or actually received by him as arrears of revenue, are to be held applicable to such decree, with this difference, that the suit, from the commencement of it, is to be defended or carried on at the expense of Government, and in the event of the Board of Revenue not deeming it proper to order an appeal from the decision of the Zila Court to be preferred [* * *] to the Sadar Diwani Adalat, [* * * *] they are to report their reasons low [* * *] for not preferring the appeal to the [State] Government, who will direct the cause to be appealed or not in either case, as may appear to [it] proper.
11. Courts to award costs in case of groundless prosecution. - Repealed by the Bengal Land-revenue Assessment (Resumed Lands) Regulation, 1819 [II of 1819].
12. Grants forged or altered in any respect or antedated declared void. - If it shall appear to any Court of Judicature, during the course of a trial that a grant has been forged, or that the name of the original grantee has been erased and any other name substituted, or that any name not in the original grant has been inserted, or that the denomination or the terms of the tenure in the original grant have been erased or altered, or that date of the grant has been changed or that the grant has been ante-dated, the grant shall be adjudged null and void.
13. Persons concerned in frauds liable to criminal prosecution. - Repealed by the Repealing Act, 1874 (XVI of 1874).
14. Revenue to be paid from date of first decree of resumption. - Repealed by the Bengal Land-revenue Assessment (Resumed Lands) Regulation, 1819 (II of 1819).
15. Transfer of grants. - Altamgha, aima and madadmash grants are to be considered as hereditary tenures.
These and other grants, which from the terms or nature of them may be hereditary and are declared valid by this Regulation, or which have been or may be confirmed by [the Government], or any of its officers possessing competent authority to confirm them, are declared transferable by gift, sale or otherwise, and all persons succeeding to such grants, by whatever mode, are required to register their names in the office of the Collector, within six months after they may succeed to the grant.
But all such purchases are to be considered as made at the risk of the purchaser; and in the event of the grant not proving to be hereditary, or not to have been made or confirmed by [the Government], or its officers possessing competent authority, the transfer is not to preclude the land from being subjected to the payment of revenue under this Regulation.
Jagirs are to be considered as life-tenures only, and with all other life-tenures are to expire with the life of the grantee, unless otherwise expressed in the grant.
16. to 18. Record of lands which may become liable to, or exempt from, the payment of revenue; register of badshahi grants; form of periodical register. - Repealed by the Land Registration Act, 1876 (Bengal Act VII of 1876).
19. Time for registry. - All persons actually holding lands exempt from the payment of public revenue under badshahi grants, and whether made or confirmed by the Government of the country for the time being or by whatever authority, shall be allowed one year from the date of the publication prescribed in the following section, to register the required particulars respecting their grants in the office of the Collector of the Revenue of the zila in which the lands may be situated.
20. Publication to be made, requiring all persons to register grants. - Repealed by the Amending Act, 1903 (I of 1903).
21. Grants not registered within prescribed time liable to resumption. - If any person in possession of any such grant that may be now in force shall omit to register it by the time prescribed in the publication, together with as accurate a detail of the particulars thereby required as he may be able to furnish, the grant shall by such omission, become subject to resumption, and the lands shall become liable to the payment of revenue to Government.
The [State Government], however reserves to [itself] the power of admitting any grant upon the register after the expiration of the prescribed time, in the event of the possessor showing good and sufficient cause, to [its] satisfaction, for not having registered it within the limited period, and the Board of Revenue are to report to the [State Government] every case in which persons who may have omitted to register their grants as required, may appear to them entitled to have their grants admitted upon the register.
22. Grants not registered considered forfeited. - After the expiration of the period limited for registering grants, all grants not registered within the prescribed time, and which may not be subsequently admitted on the register by the [State Government], are declared forfeited, and the lands shall be assessed with revenue, agreeably to the rules prescribed for the decennial settlement.
23. Effect of registry of grants. - It is expressly declared, however, that the registry of a grant under this Regulation is not to be considered as an admission of the right of the person in whose name it may be registered, to the property in the soil, nor of the validity of his grant.
Any person will be at liberty to sue in, the Diwani Adalat for the former, and he will be liable to be sued for the resumption of the grant by the Collector, with the sanction of the Board of Revenue, in the event of it appearing to that Board that the grant is invalid.
24. Preparation of register upon expiration of period limited for registry of grants. - Repealed by the Land Registration Act, 1876 (Bengal Act VII of 1876).
25. Preparation of second periodical register. - Repealed by the Repealing Act, 1874 (XVI of 1874).
26. to 29. Counterpart register by whom to be kept, in what native languages; manner of recording resumptions, etc.; documents respecting grants by whom to be furnished. - Repealed by the Land Registration Act, 1876 (Bengal Act VII of 1876).
30. Separations and annexations of exempted lands how notified to Courts. - Repealed by the Amending Act, 1903 (1 of 1903).
31. to 33. Register of intermediate occurrences not to fall into arrears counterpart of same by whom to be kept; manner of correcting errors in registers. - Repealed by the Land Registration Act, 1876 (Bengal Act VII of 1876).
34. Manner of correcting errors in counterpart registers. - Repealed by the Repealing Act, 1874 (XVI of 1874).
35. to 41. Registry in case of propriety right being under litigation; penalty for not furnishing information; to whom copies of periodical registers are to be seat; registers to be carefully preserved; from what materials the periodical register commencing with 1207 and subsequent registers, are to be formed; penalty for receiving bribes. - Repealed by the Land Registration Act, 1876 (Bengal Act VII of 1876).
42. Regulation not to extend to grants not badshahi. - No part of this Regulation is to be considered to extend to lands held exempt from the payment of public revenue under grants not being of the description of those termed badshahi or royal.
The rules applicable to such grants are contained in Regulation XIX, 1793.