The Hon’ble Telangana High Court on Thursday questioned the contentions made by the state government that four farmers voluntarily relinquished rights over their lands located in the Siddipet district of Telangana. In an appeal to the Hon’ble two-judge Bench of Hon’ble Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Hon’ble Justice B.Vijaysen Reddy, the government clarified to the Hon’ble Court citing an outdated provision of ‘Unconditional Razinama to the lands’ by farmers or landowners incorporated in Rule 16, of A.P (Telangana Area) Land Revenue Rules, 1951. The appeal was against an order passed by a Hon’ble single Judge upholding the government claiming 6 acres of assigned lands from farmers who acquired it under assigned patties in the 1980s and handing over it to a third party.
Throughout its history, the region of Telangana has seen peasants struggle over land rights. After the formation of the erstwhile State of Andhra Pradesh, many measures were taken up by the subsequent governments towards equal distribution of land in the state. Through the Telangana Assigned Lands(Prohibition of Transfers) Act, 1977 many landless poor farmers were given lands by the government subject to the condition of non-alienation known as ‘assigned lands’. However, the government can claim these lands at any time for public purposes.
The appellants before the Hon’ble court contended that the authorities did not even issue notice before evacuating them and they were not in such poor economical condition to give away their rights over the lands under the 70 years old Razinama clause.
And without any compensation paid to them, the appellants further cited the Mekala Pandu case, in which the court had mentioned that every assigned landowner should be paid compensation as per the existing Land Acquisition, Act.
“Why would anyone forego rights over his land? Did it happen in any part of the country? It was unheard of…” remarked the Hon’ble Court, expressing bewilderment over the government’s claim.
The Hon’ble Chief Justice asked the government if the riots will get any compensation even if they voluntarily relinquish rights over their lands. The Hon’ble Bench further directed the district collector to hold talks with the appellants over the compensation to be paid. The issue was posted for the next hearing on June 21.