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The city of Bangalore is growing and is identified as the fastest growing city in India, leading to agriculturallands in the outskirts of city being used for residential, commercial and industrial purposes. Many people are not aware that lands assessed or held for agricultural purpose cannot be straight away used for non-agricultural purpose it needs to be first converted for non-agricultural purpose and then conveyed.
Karnataka Land Revenue Act, 1966 has prescribed the procedure for convertingagricultural lands to non-agricultural purpose, under sections 95, 96, 97, and 98, of the Act. This is a social legislation aimed more at protecting the agriculturists and farmers than encouraging non-agricultural activities in the agricultural lands.
Any owner of the land, which is assessed or held for agricultural purpose, who wants to divert such land and any part of such land for non-agricultural purpose shall apply for permission to the Special Deputy Commissioner who is the concerned authority in Bangalore Urban and Rural District. The purpose of use of land must be specific and the Deputy Commissioner may grant permission-imposing conditions or may refuse to grant permission for such conversion. However, he shall not refuse the permission in case of lands included in outline Development Plan or the Comprehensive Development Plan or the Comprehensive Development Plan published under Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act, 1961 (Karnataka Act 11 of 1963) provided such conversion is in accordance of land use specified in such plan.
According to notification RD/7/LGP/95 dated 7/6/99, published in Karnataka Gazette extraordinary dated 8/6/99, the application for conversion has to be submitted in duplicate to the jurisdictional Tahsildar, who will forward the same to the sanctioning authority. Any additional information required has to be intimated to the applicant within one week of receipt of the application. The Tahsildar shall verify that only the owner has applied for permission and conversion of land does not defeat the provisions of Karnataka Land Reforms Act, Land Grant Rules, Prohibition of Transfer of Certain Lands Act, Rules pertaining to green belt and the land is not notified for acquisition. The burden of verification regarding complicity, violation of the above laws rests solely with the Tahsildar and the applicant shall not be asked to produce any document pertaining to the same.
The Tahsildar shall forward the application to the jurisdictional Deputy Commissioner within 15 days of receipt of the application along with a revenue sketch of the area proposed for conversion, the Deputy Commissioner in turn will inspect the lands to satisfy himself that the conversion does not cause any public nuisance or violate the existing provisions of any law.
If the conversion is permitted, then the applicant will be issued a notice to pay the requisite fine within fifteen days of the notice.
The Deputy Commissioner may refuse permission on grounds that the conversion would defeat the provisions of law in force or is likely to cause public nuisance or is not in the interest of the general public or that the owner is not able to or unwilling to comply with the conditions imposed.
The Deputy Commissioner may impose such conditions as may be necessary to secure health, safety and convenience and restrict the dimensions, arrangements and ensure that accessibility to building sites are adequate for the health and convenience of the occupants, and that it is suitable to the location and do not contravene the provisions of any law relating to the Town and Country Planning or erection of buildings.
Any applications for conversion of agriculturallands shall be made only by the owner, unless otherwise directed by Deputy Commissioner. The conversion of land attracts fine as per Rule No. 107 of Karnataka Land Revenue Rules, 1966.
The prior notice of conversion of agriculturalland shall be made in the prescribed form 21-A. The applicant shall also enclose the challan for having paid the fine computed in accordance with the prescribed rules to the concerned treasury. Such notice has to be given to the jurisdictional Tahsildar with an undertaking to pay the balance fine, if any, with the full description of land is to be diverted.
As per Rule 108 of Karnataka Land Revenue Rules 1966, no fine can be imposed an appropriation of agricultural lands made over or acquired under Land Acquisition Act at the instance of a government department, Municipal Council, Local Board, Village Panchayat, Charitable Education Institution for charitable or public purpose, from which the government or such statutory authorities do not derive any profit and the land is used for the purposes of construction of school building, laying of play grounds, hospitals, dispensaries or rest houses. Similarly, the fine cannot be imposed, lands acquired for extension of village or improvement of village sanitation at the instance of village Panchayat, for construction of houses by Karnataka Housing Board, for making market yards under Karnataka Agricultural Produce Marketing Regulation Act, 1966, Land proposed to be converted for poultry farming.
The State Government has powers to declare certain areas within the prescribed limits as green belt area to protect and improve the environment. In green belt areas only agricultural and related activities are permitted and conversion of agricultural land for any other purpose is not permitted.
The Deputy Commissioner has to inform the applicant of his decision within four months from the date of receipt of the application. If no decision is conveyed, it is deemed that permission for conversion of land has been granted. The conversion of land for non-agriculture is subject to payment of the fine imposed by the Deputy Commissioner. The conversion is only for a specific non-agricultural purpose for which it was permitted. The land has to be assessed for non-agricultural purpose.
PENALTY FOR CONVERSION OF AGRICULTURAL LAND WITHOUT PERMISSION
The Karnataka Land Revenue Act, 1966 has prescribed severe penalty in case of violation of the prescribed procedures and conversion of land to non-agricultural purpose without permission from concerned authority. In such cases, the Deputy Commissioner will serve a notice on the person responsible for such conversion directing him to use the land for original purpose, and to remove any constructions made on the land, to fill up any excavations, to take necessary steps to restore the land to its original conditions within certain time. He may also impose a fine of Rs. 1000/- and further penalty of Rupees 25/- for each day during which the contravention continues.
If the concerned person fails to comply with the orders, the Deputy Commissioner himself may take steps; he may summarily evict the person and forfeit any structure there on or remove them. Any expenses incurred in this regard are liable to be recovered in the same manner as arrears of land revenue. He may also compound such conversion of land on payment of prescribed amount. Such amount may be different for different areas and for different purposes. Any violations of conditions prescribed by the Deputy Commissioner for conversion of land also attract similar penalties. That is, if the conversion is permitted for residential purpose, using the said land for industrial purpose is violation and invites penal action.
The Deputy Commissioner has certain special powers to grant permission to divert landon certain terms and conditions as agreed between parties. However, such permission is subject to following conditions. The relevant section is 98; such permission is for temporary period.
(1) The period of permission shall not exceed the period specified in the licence or one year whichever is less. Further such period shall not be extended.
(2) The land shall be utilized only for which permission is granted.
(3) The land should not alienated during period for which permission is granted.
(4) Any other terms and conditions may be imposed in addition to above.
(5) The land shall be used duly for the purpose for which licence is granted.
(6) The special permission is liable to be cancelled in case of any violations of the terms imposed.
The Deputy Commissioner permits only conversion of land to non-agricultural purpose. It does not summarily permit to use the land for non-agricultural purpose, unless necessary permission by competent authorities like local bodies, BDA, BMRDA, Urban Development Authorities, Pollution Control Boards etc. are obtained. The Tahsildar should send the details of the conversion of land to non-agricultural purpose to village accountant and the details of conversion, order reference, extent of land converted have to be reflected in land records, such as RTC etc.,