HC directs criminal action on transfer of SC/ST land

The Division Bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice H G Ramesh said there had been an increase in the number of instances of selling the land allotted to SC/STs, despite the knowledge of the bar on sale of such land.

“The Karnataka Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prohibition of Transfer of Certain Lands) Act, 1978 imposes a ban on transfer of land allotted to SC/STs. However, the allottees have been selling land despite full knowledge of the law. They later give a statement before the authority concerned that they were unaware of the restriction on transfer and reclaim the land only to sell it to others,” the Bench noted. There had been a spurt in the number of victims approaching the High Court after losing both land and money, it said.

The trail

Four acres of land was allotted to Cheluvaiah of Hunasur taluk (Mysore district) in 1955.

After several transfers, Marideva Gowda purchased the land.  Cheluvaiah filed an application before the assistant commissioner (AC) stating that he sold the land without the knowledge of restriction on transfer, and sought re-possesion. The AC ruled in favour of Cheluvaiah and on an appeal, the HC upheld the decision. Cheluvaiah sold the same land to Somegowda, filed and application before the AC, again.

A single judge of the HC endorsed the AC’s ruling. The matter was again challenged before the Division Bench. It allowed the purchaser to demand repayment of the sale money from Cheluvaiah with interest.

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