Karnataka govt notifies ordinance on Land Reforms Act

Karnataka government notifies ordinance on Land Reforms Act

The ordinance liberalises agricultural land ownership in Karnataka. Representative image/iStock

Amidst widespread opposition from farmers, activists and political leaders alike, the state government on Monday promulgated an ordinance to amend the Karnataka Land Reforms Act following Governor Vajubhai R Vala's assent.

The ordinance liberalises agricultural land ownership in Karnataka.

The ordinance has repealed Sections 79 (A), (B) and (C) from the original Act, thereby making way for non-agriculturists to purchase agricultural land.

However, this comes with several conditions, as per the ordinance. While originally the government had proposed repealing of Section 80, which prohibited transfer of land to non-agriculturists, the ordinance has retained this section with an amendment. The ordinance specifies that Class-A irrigated land (irrigated with water from a dam) can be used only for agricultural purpose.

The ordinance has also inserted a new Section 80 (A) which states that none of the relaxations allowed under the Act apply to lands given under the Karnataka SC and ST (Prohibition of Transfer of Certain Lands), Act, 1978. 

Amidst apprehensions that amendment of the Act would allow farmers to mortgage land and get into debt, the ordinance states that mortgage of agricultural land will be permitted only to government institutions, companies, cooperative societies, as defined under the provisions of the original Act.

According to officials in the Revenue Department, with the promulgation of this ordinance several pending cases would get a closure. According to officials, about 12,231 cases concerning the repealed sections are pending in courts. This will not, however, apply to cases that have already been resolved, officials clarified.