Disputes on agri land can be settled by civil courts alone: SC

Disputes on agri land can be settled by civil courts alone: SC

A dispute arising out of agricultural land, used for constructions, cannot be raised before the revenue authorities. It has to be settled by  a civil court only, the Supreme Court has held.

"Once agricultural land loses its basic character and has been converted into authorised/unauthorised  colonies by dividing it into plots, disputes of plot holders cannot be decided by the revenue authorities and would have to be resolved by the civil court," a three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said.

"The position of law which has been consistently followed is that where the land has not been used for any purpose contemplated under the Land Reforms Act and has been built upon, it would cease to be agricultural land," the bench also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud added.

The apex court explained the legal position while dismissing a civil appeal filed by Harpal Singh against a Delhi High Court's judgement of 2014.

The high  court had dismissed a writ petition filed by Singh against an order passed by an additional district judge on the execution of a decree.

The appellant contended since an earlier suit seeking a permanent injunction was dismissed by a competent civil court in view of the provisions of the Delhi Land Reforms Act 1954, and since  the land is "agricultural" in nature, the civil court did not have jurisdiction in the matter.

"The land in question had ceased to be agricultural in nature on the date of the institution of the suit.  Hence, it cannot be held that the decree of the trial court was a nullity. The land was not governed, as a result, by the Delhi Land Reforms Act, 1954, since it was not agricultural land," the apex court said.

 

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