My letter to VC-DDA on section 33 of Delhi Land reforms act

Certes/ DDA/ 01/2014-15

14th July’ 2014

 

The Vice Chairman

Delhi Development Authority

‘B’ block, Vikas Sadan, INA

New Delhi

 

Dear Sir,

 

Sub: Land pooling & Section 33 of the Delhi Land reforms act 1954

 

At the outset, please accept our gratitude for the courtesy & hospitality extended towards the undersigned & my colleague during our visit to your office for a discussion on ‘Land Pooling operational mechanism’ on the 09th of July’ 2014.

I would like to bring to your notice the possible impediment that could be caused by the existence of the provisions of the Section 33 of the Delhi Land reforms act, 1954, excerpt of which is produced herebelow:

Restrictions on the transfers by a Bhumidhar.- (1) No Bhumidhar shall have the right to transfer by sale or gift or otherwise any land to any person, other than a religious or charitable institution or any person in charge of any such Bhoodan movement, as the Chief Commissioner may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify, where as a result of the transfer, the transferor shall be left with less than eight standard acres in the Union Territory of Delhi:

Provided that the Chief Commissioner may exempt from the operation of this section, the transfer of any land made before the 1st day of December, 1958, if the land covered by such transfer does not exceed on e acre in area and is used or intended to be used for purposes other than those mentioned in clause (13) of section 3 (2) Nothing contained in sub section (1) shall preclude the transfer of land by a Bhumidhar who holds less than eight standard acres of land, if such transfer is of the entire land held by him;

Provided that such Bhumidhar may transfer a part of such land to any religious or charitable institution or other person referred to in sub section (1)

Explanation – For the purposes of this section, a religious or charitable institution shall mean an institution established for a religious purpose or a charitable purpose, as the case may be.

We wish to highlight the following facts for your perusal.

 

  1. The said act was enacted to prohibit the fragmentation of land, into smaller parcels, with the increasing population in Delhi, then. Delhi then was a largely agrarian society.

                                               i.     With the MPD 2021 enacted, the land parcels covered under this said act are ‘Urbanizable’ and would form part of the Land pooling policy.

 

  1. The land holding per family / family member has shrunk to less than 08 acres, since then. Data available indicate that the average land holding is less than 01 Ha, which itself contradicts the said act.

                                               i.     The farmers / land owners are disadvantaged owing to the presence of this act, and they find it increasingly difficult to monetize this ‘Only asset’ they own, even for urgent personal needs like marriages, house renovation, farming etc.

                                              ii.     Inherited lands are mostly joint holdings between multiple family members, and their inability to take independent decisions concerning the asset leads to needless litigation.

  1. There would be more than 100 villages in Delhi where the consolidation exercise (Chakbandi) hasn’t been undertaken since 1954. Hence, the Khatouni records aren’t updated, and the joint holdings exist with no provisions for clear defined & demarcated land holdings. (‘Taqseem’)

                                               i.     Even if select few members of the joint holding sell their percentage holding in the land parcel, they have to spend further money & transfer the balance land onto their kith/kin name to bypass the provisions of the section 33.

 

You would also recall that during the earlier large scale acquisitions made by you for the sub cities of Rohini & Dwarka, you had virtually acquired most of the land falling under certain revenue villages, thereby not having had to encounter the specific difficulties under buying jointly held properties. (e.g.: Pooth, Peera Garhi, Rithala, Naharpur, Palam, Bindapur etc.)

 

Specific to the land pooling policy notified by you, the following hindrances seek your immediate addressal, through policy, so as to encourage the landowners & private sector to invest & pool the land with DDA.

 

a)             Majority of the inherited land parcels in Delhi, are currently under the joint holdings of multiple members of the same family. Since the family holdings in most cases have been less than 8 acres, no legal fragmentation of title & physical ownership, amongst the landowners have been achieved. The intent of DDA through the Land pooling policy would be to get access to land, both title & physical possession.

i.     How would the individual shareholders contribute / surrender land into the pool, without a pre-demarcated land share?

ii.     Section 33 of the Delhi land act forbids fragmentation of land, including division amongst descendant families, owning less than 08 acres.

b)            With no time & resources available, presumably, to undertake the ‘Chakbandi’ of a large number of villages within a limited frame, it’s practically impossible to re-arrange the land parcels amongst families, investors & existing unauthorized settlements. (Farm houses etc., within designated urbanizable villages).

i.     Would this not hamper the land pooling exercise? Certain members of the same family might want to pool through contribution of land, while the others would like to sell their share to another private investor.

ii.     How would DDA acquire balance land parcels in which a part of the share of land has already been purchased by a private entity, and been submitted into the pool?

c)             For the purpose of land pooling, the Developer entity (DE) has to submit land, within a zone, not in contiguity.

i.     Hypothetically, if a DE has 1/4th share in 100 scattered acres bought from multiple landowners, and submits his share of the land into the pool, would it be considered as 25 acres? Since the section 33 prevents him access to clear demarcated land within each of the parcels he purchased from the individual owners, he can submit the registration, mutation & other relevant documents, which establish his ownership of the parcel, but not the specific portion within each acre, which is under physical possession.

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