The Bombay High Court bench of Justices Shahrukh Kathawalla and Prithviraj Chavan on Tuesday pulled up the Thane collector and other authorities of the Maharashtra government for not granting the mandatory approval to a tribal family for selling their land to a non-tribal person.
The HC said the decision of the state authorities have compelled the family to continue to live in poor conditions.
The bench has now ordered the authorities to grant the mandatory approval to Kisan Songya Bangara (30) to sell his Bhiwandi-based land to Vijendra Sharma so that the former can get his children admitted to a school, get his three sisters married and also to look after his senior citizen parents.
Kisan petitioned Justice Kathawalla's bench as the collector, Thane and other relevant authorities refused to grant the mandatory approval under the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code, 1966.
Under this code, for a tribal person to sell his land to a non-tribal person, a prior sanction or approval is mandatory from the state authorities to ensure that the purchaser doesn't use the land for agriculture purpose and exploit the poor tribals.
To justify the decision for not granting approval, Adhik Patil, Tahsildar, Thane, in his affidavit stated that the land in question is reserved for playground and that the purchaser Sharma cannot buy the said land. The affidavit further stated that the MMRDA has reserved this land.
Having considered the contentions, Justice Kathawalla reminded the authorities of the objective of the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code.
"The object behind framing such alegislation imposing restrictions with regard to the sale of lands belonging to the tribals to non-tribals, is that the tribals being members of the weaker sections of society, have been and can be exploited by taking undue advantage of their financial weakness, their general backwardness and helplessness," the bench noted.
The judges further took into account Kisan's financial background. "He and his family members are poor tribals. His family is very large, he has 3 sisters are of marriageable age, but their marriage can't be performed due to severe financial constraints at his end."
"There are school going children in his family to whom he wants to provide the benefit of better education, but due to his weak financial condition he and his family members are not in a position to do so. There are also senior citizens in his family, who need adequate medical support but he and his family members are unable to provide the same, again mainly due to financial constraints," the judges said in the order.
The bench further noted that the authorities have not initiated any acquisition proceedings over the land despite it claiming that the land is reserved for a playground.
"In fact, not granting approval or sanction to this family to sell their land will not only compel him and his family members to live in penury for all times to come, but will destroy his family, since, due to financial problems his sisters will remain unmarried, his children will not be able to receive education as desired by them and the senior members of his family will be deprived of the required medical attention/ treatment," the bench held.
This would render farmers helpless and unable to strive towards their economic welfare and upliftment, as also towards a bright and better future, the bench held.
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