Rightful Amendments


Obviously, no section of the society should be debarred by law or by conventions or even by traditions to indulge in agricultural activities and agricultural production coupled with allied pursuits either for one’s living, or for selling out the produce at competitive pricing or selling even as the buffer stock. That all includes cultivating, raising crops, selling and dealing in contract farming and the like but for all that, one must have the right to own such agricultural land, sell and dispose of in a manner as provided for under the law. In no way, however, agricultural land should be put to non-agricultural uses. Having said so, there has been a long pending demand from various sections of people in respect of bestowing upon them the right of sale, purchase and investments desired to be made in the agricultural land in Jammu and Kashmir. These persons largely comprising Mahajans, Khatris, Balmikis, Sikhs etc still faced discrimination as these sections were deprived of sale and purchase of agricultural land in many areas, thus the sword of inequality and no parity in the system started hanging over them. Since these sections of the society did not figure in the list of ”Non-agriculturists” under an obsolete Land Act which was repealed in the year 2020 along with other obsolete Land Laws, the problem thus emerging needed a resolution. Under the old repealed law, lists of agricultural and non-agricultural communities were notified, province and district wise. Needless to add, in Samvat 1996 or 1939 A.D., castiest provisions were incorporated in the J&K Land Revenue Act. However, certain restrictions still continued in the sense that sale of agricultural land to non-agriculturist persons was not allowed. There were certain amendments and even provisions of seeking permission from competent authority, to an agriculturist to alienate land to a non-agriculturist by way of sale, gift, exchange or mortgage under such conditions as may be prescribed. However, still what should have in the ordinary course been done despite scrapping of Article 370, was not done. With an amendment in the Land Revenue Act, things and conditions having smoothened for these debarred groups, now District Collectors having recently been empowered to grant permission by the UT Administrative Council to an agriculturist to alienate land to a non -agriculturist but with certain conditions and fulfilling procedures which is a welcome step and hailed by the said deprived groups. Now, primary agricultural activities on larger commercial lines would enable these communities to partaking of the benefits under economy of the scale. This makes a departure from the traditions of classifying only a few societal groups as agriculturists and thus own agricultural land. The decision, while removing an anomaly based on discrimination was bound to bring in a lot of improvement in the agricultural production including indirect agricultural activities in the UT. This was going to vastly improve the economic activities as also generate employment in the primary sector of the economy of Jammu and Kashmir. This decision will also result in people not traditionally agriculturists to embark upon the pursuit of agricultural activities for which purposes they can now acquire land and make investments for better produce and returns in agriculture, horticulture, floriculture and animal husbandry. Jammu and Kashmir, it may be noted, has enough potential for agriculture and allied activities and the said decision in favour for these sections, ownership, use and sale thereof, will prove beneficial for the economy of Jammu and Kashmir