Legal Advice

Tribal can regain his land from the non-tribal person

Shivendra Pratap Singh


High Court Lucknow


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Question asked on: 17 Mar, 2022

Question: I want to know that a tribal can regain his land from the non-tribal person who is not doing anything on my land? My grandfather had sold land to a non-tribal person in 1969. That non-tribal person has not been using the land since 1969. We did not know about the sale of the land because that said land has been left barren. When I started fencing off that land for installing a small project then the non-tribal person came and opposed it. Then we came to know that my grandfather had sold this land to him. After the quarrel they filed a criminal case against us and the police officer warned us to not go on that land. We moved a petition in the High Court and got an arrest stay. My grandfather never disclosed that fact to us that he had sold the land. The non-tribal person and my grandfather were good friends. I think that he had mistakenly or deceitfully transferred this land from my grandfather. We are helpless, please guide us.

Asked from: Maharashtra

You are not sure about the title of the said land. Hence, you should confirm its status from the revenue department. The record of rights i.e. khatauni will give some clarity towards the possession and transfer of that land. Therefore, you apply in the Tehsildar’s office for providing certified copies of records of rights from 1965 to 1975.

You have said that your grandfather had sold this land in 1969. So, the fact about the transfer was entered by the lekhpan in the record of rights. The khatauni of subsequent years will reflect the name of the transferee (the non-tribal person). 

If the record of rights does not show the name of the transferee it means that your grandfather did not sell this land. You are still the owner of this land. Hence you can file a declaratory suit for declaration of your right in the said land.  

Restoration of land from non-tribal owner

When the khatauni shows the name of the transferee as owner then you should file an application in the court of collector for restoration of land. The non-tribal transferee has not been utilising this land for non agricultural purposes since 1969. Whereas, Section 4 of the Maharashtra Restoration of Land to Scheduled Tribe Act 1974 mandates that the transferred land must be used for non-agricultural purposes till 1974. Tribal can regain his land under Section 4 of the aforesaid Act 1974.

Also Read: Land acquired by Collector

The owner of this land has left it as barren land. Therefore, you are entitled to restore your name. Your grandfather has died hence, the land will go to his legal heirs. The limitation period for filing of application under Section 4 has lapsed. But you can invoke Section 5 of the Limitation Act for the condonation of delay. 

You can take a plea that in 2021 you came to know that the said land had been sold by your grandfather. Hence, the fresh limitation period will start from 2021. The court will condone the delay and may admit your case.