On a petition filed by Jharkhand Dishom Party founder and former Mayurbhanj MP Salkhan Murmu, Jharkhand’s High Court orders came out last month, advising Jharkhand State Government to ensure the strict implementation of CNT Act, particularly with respect to the Section 46 of the said Act. Earlier Salkhan Murmu had challenged the Jharkhand State Land Revenue Department’s notification (dated December 11, 2010) diluting the CNT Act provisions, this new notification had stayed an earlier notification (dated December 4, 2010) by the same department calling for strict implementation of Section 46 of the CNT Act.
Passing judgement on the petition, Jharkhand High Court Order had observed the following:
- The section 46 of CNT Act should be followed. According to this section, BC (Backward Classes) and SC (Scheduled Caste) can sell their land to the people belonging to same caste category, after getting due permission from Deputy Commission (D.C.) of district.
- According to the section 71 A of CNT Act, the STs’ land can be returned back to the rightful owner. If on that land, the building or house is constructed then on Court’s order the estimate of building or house is done. The aggrieved party can take back land and house after the payment of compensation. It was amended in 1969.
The High Court Order has certainly questioned the very large-scale bungling on Sale-Purchase-Grabbing of land in the State; by the influential people, done in connivance with the local politicians, business-houses, business-persons (especially powerful Builder lobby), bureaucrats, lower level government officials and some other people, including land-brokers (Jameen-dalaal).
No wonder, the strict implementation of this judgement threatens to expose far too many rich and powerful people. And this is making all of them nervous.
# Official-stands of different political parties on CNT Act in the state:
Reason behind their stand
(part of coalition government)
|It is to find solution acceptable to all, means it is open for amendments.||A party and its leaders owe much of its success to powerful Builder lobby and equally powerful Traders Lobby; no doubt it would like to be the front-runner as far as initiating steps to amend the CNT Act.|
(part of coalition government)
|CNT Act should be implemented strictly and it opposes any move to amend the act.||A Jharkhandi party that draws its chief voters from adivasis and moolvasis base, this is the right thing to do. But given their past record, it may revise its stand and surprise everyone.|
(part of coalition government)
|Find solution acceptable to all, means it is open for amendments.||Again a Jharkhandi party that draws its chief voters from moolvasis base, but off-late it has been moving towards attracting youngsters from Business/Trading Class, hence their revised stand.|
|Amend CNT Act||A party that trace its roots to Bihar (Nitish Kumar), hence their stand is to please their constituents.|
Congress (Main Opposition party)
|Official stand is to look for middle path, an amendment here, an amendment there.||Perhaps to suit the large-scale land purchased by its State Party Chief (details as mentioned in local Prabhat Khabar newspaper), it too seemed open to the idea of amendment. But he may not find overwhelming support from his own part-men.|
(Main Opposition party)
|Make a committee to amend the CNT Act as publicly as announced by its leader Babu Lal Marandi. Interestingly, he does not utter a word about SPT Act or its amendments||A party formed by disgruntled ex-BJP leaders and followers, it is openly advocating for amendments to attract the core support base of BJP (Small Business Community and powerful Builders’ Class) to its newly formed JVM fold. Led by so-called tribal leader, it has come as surprise to many tribals of the state.|
|CNT provision should be strictly implemented||This comes as no surprise. As these left parties follows the ideology to always support the Mazdoor (labourers), Kisaan (farmers), and other proletariat sections of the society.|
|Amend CNT Act||A party that trace its roots to Bihar (Lalu Prasad Yadav), hence their stand is to please their voters.|
# Official-stands of Jharkhand Government on CNT Act in the state:
A government formed by the coalition of BJP, JMM and AJSU is as usual speaking in different voices.
For instance, Arjun Munda, Chief Minister said, “We would like to have an all-party meet to discuss and debate the issue for suitable modification in the Act.” As Chief Minister is under tremendous pressure from his own party, builders and industrialists to amend the CNT Act, which prohibits transfer of land belonging to BCs / SCs / STs to others. However he can not do as ally JMM and various Adivasis and Moolvasis outfits are opposed to it.
So what are Arjun Munda’s options right now and what he intends to do in coming days, weeks or months on CNT Act?
- He wants to create a consensus to amend CNT Act to please the Business Community.
- Playing smart, he would refer the issue to an all-party committee or to Tribal advisory Committee to suggest amendments, if any. This committee would identify extremely backward classes whose land won’t be allowed to be transferred by the act. This would also recommend steps to exclude Kurmis and other dominant backward castes, who are major landowners in Jharkhand, thereby freeing large chunk of land for sale-purchase in the state. But it would be interesting to see how JMM and AJSU (both have Kurmi leaders) react.
JMM party, it seems have their ears on to the ground as their stand is clarified by Land-Revenue Minister Mathura Mahto, who said, “Those who have sold or purchased land by violating the provisions of CNT Act, they need to return the money / land.” It is remarkable to note that both JMM Party Chief Shibu Soren and Dy. Chief Minister Hemant Soren have allegedly purchased large chunk of land in violation of CNT Act. Even names of Minister Mathura Mahto has been mentioned in local media as a violator of CNT Act, but it could be way to put pressure on the land-revenue minister to back-track on his stringent stand, which may harm many influential people.
Recently held, Tribal Advisory Meeting (TAC) Meeting too failed to reach any sort of consensus on the amendment to the CNT Acts and SPT Acts.
# Builder Lobby and Jharkhand Chamber of Commerce On CNT Act
Now let see what the Builders’ Lobby are demanding:
- City region should be kept out of the CNT region, should reintroduce 1981 amendment.
- Like Bihar, CNT Act should be amended in Jharkhand too.
Given large-scale instances of forcible land-grabbing in city regions, no doubt Builders lobby is worried and nervous with the development following HC ruling. Besides losing money, the strict implementation would mean certainly mean jail-time for many builders, who subverted the CNT Act to their advantage. The RRDA Scam and unplanned skyline of Jharkhandi city do point towards the scams, which could be bigger than anyone’s imagination.
Jharkhand Chamber of Commerce wants CNT Act to be amended. As according to them the recent HC order has brought section 21, 46, 49 and 71 of the CNT Act into sharp focus threatening to throw industrialization and real estate business off gear across the state. They too suffer from selective amnesia, and forget that large industrial units (SAIL, HEC, DVC, etc) were established within the provisions of the CNT Acts or SPT Acts.
# Local Newspapers’ Stand, especially the Hindi Newspapers’ stand on CNT Stand
We live in the age of paid news, and Jharkhand scenario is no different. The ads-revenue from Business-Houses’ and Builders’ lobby is enough to make news paper reporting biased in favour of moneyed class. No wonder, since the pronouncement of High Court’s ruling, we have seen local vernacular press using every tricks in their trade to undermine the provisions of CNT Act. So local newspapers are saying two things, over-and-over again, somewhat like a worn out record player:
- Real Estate Business to be affected, as the buildings or apartments constructed on SC’s and BC’s land cannot be registered
- Bank loan for the above mentioned buildings or apartments built on above mentioned land would no longer be disbursed.
Cunningly, all these biased newspapers conveniently forget the large-scale instances of land-grabbing cases in Ranchi, land scam in Deoghar / Bokaro, RRDA Scam, et al.
# Our Final Say
We say that all provisions of CNT Act must be respected and followed by the Jharkhand Government. Initiate high scale probe into the matter relating to the circumvention and the breaking of CNT Act by the powerful set of people in the past couple of decades. In case of any one has broken the law, and then the law must take its course. Also this talk of amendment to CNT Act is a big hog-wash; so Adivasis and Moolvasis should not support any kind of amendments in the CNT Act, at least not now, not under present political leadership. Many of the present political leadership is hand-in-glove with the people who undermined and flouted the provisions of CNT Act in last few decades. So how can Jharkhandis trust them?
CNT Act is well-defined and so its provisions should be strictly implemented in Jharkhand by Jharkhand Government; as that is the legally right thing to do, in the present scenario.
Footnote: We have seen, lots of interest around CNT Act, so we do recommend this blog to read more about CNT Act.
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