Revenue inspectors' powers in land mutation to be cut

Revenue inspectors' powers in land mutation to be cut

Time frame to be fixed to clear applications; automatic approval if they are in order

One of the last relics of the age-old ‘inspector raj’ is set to end with the State Revenue department deciding to limit the powers vested with the Revenue Inspectors (RI) for approving land mutations (change of owner’s name and other details of an agricultural land after the sale transaction).

The department will soon bring in an amendment to the Karnataka Land Revenue Rules to fix the time frame for taking decisions on mutation applications.

If the RI sits on an application beyond the time frame without any reason, the application will be deemed to be approved, Principal Secretary to Revenue department (Bhoomi and Urban Property Ownerships Record or UPOR project) Rajeev Chawla said.

People taken for ride

Currently, the RIs have almost absolute powers in clearing mutation applications. The rules only say that the RI shall approve mutation.

It does not specify the time frame. Gullible people are, as a result, taken for a ride.

There are instances of the RIs sitting on applications seeking mutation for several months for no valid reasons. This is despite the government introducing the “first in, first out” policy and the online system for clearing applications seeking mutation of land.

The worst affected due to the ‘inspector raj’ are farmers. Without mutation certificate, they cannot avail the benefits of the agriculture-related schemes and programmes of the government.

The land mutation is a must after transactions like sale, inheritance (change of ownership because of death of the owner), division of land within the family, change of liabilities because of bank loan, court decree, alienation and acquisition by the government and grant of land by the government. The department is also coming out with guidelines which the RIs have to follow for approving a mutation application.

An application can be rejected only if it does not comply with the guidelines.

Besides, the software for processing mutation applications is being designed in such a way that they will automatically get approved after the stipulated time frame, if they are in proper order.

Document verification

As per the rules, a mutation application will be put on the notice board calling for public objections, if any, for 30 days. Then the RI will verify documents and issue the mutation certificate.

The government may fix a time frame of about 10 or 15 days for the RI to clear the application after the one month public notice period.

If she/he delays the approval process, the software will automatically clear it.

Therefore, the RI cannot reject the application on flimsy grounds, officials explained.

Subsequently, the department is likely to bring the mutation process under Sakaala (scheme for timely delivery of services), officials said.

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