Chapter XVIII. Special Provisions with respect to Mundari Khuntkattidars (CNT Act) Excerpts (D)

Chapter XVIII. Special Provisions with respect to Mundari Khuntkattidars
“Writing in 1871, Mr. Oliphant, whom I have previously mentioned advocated the enforcement by law of the prohibition issued in 1832-33 by Captain (afterwards Sir Thomas) Wilkinson, the Governor-General’s Agent, forbidding Mundas to part with their lands to foreigners or aliens.”
“Speaking of the rules under the Chota Nagpur Tenures Act in relation to bhuinhari lands, Mr. Webster, I.C.S., in 1875, pointed out that the right of transfer thereby granted was an innovation.”
“Writing in 1880, Babu Rakhal Das Haldar, to whom I have already referred stated with regard to Bhuinhari lands that where they were held jointly or under the control of single Head Bhuinhar, no transfer can be made unless with the consent of all the members. The procedure devised for the realization of the arrears of rent in the case of tenancies for which a record-of-rights has been prepared will for the first time give the Munda, a practical means to compel defaulting members of the brotherhood to pay up their quotas. Hitherto he was quite unable to do this, as he had not the means, for the cost of suit was prohibitive, since in individual cases the sums due amounted to only a few annas. Hence when through the advice of the Sardars the members of the brotherhood refused to pay any rent the Munda was helpless, and when the Munda’s own credit no longer sufficed to enable his to raise the requisite sum, the tenancy was sold up. Under the powers now proposed to be given, the Settlement Officer will be able not only to secure for the members of a Mundari Khuntkatti brotherhood in an intact khuntkatti village the safe enjoyment of their tenancy, but will also be able to protect from further molestation of the Mundaris who are the descendants of the original founder of a village and hold khuntkatti lands in mutilated khuntkatti villages.”
“It may be asked why not, instead of these sections, employ the Chota Nagpur Tenures Act of 1869? To that I would reply that this Act either does not go far enough or goes too far. It does not provide for intact khuntkutti villages. It provides no prohibition against sale. It does not regulate transfer other than sale. It does not provide for recovery of arrears of the rent. It treats such tenancies as tenures, which they are not. Lastly, it provides for retrospective effect, and that in the present instance could not be asked for.”
I would here read to the Council what the Settlement Officer states on the subject, since it describes exactly what is intended to be done:-
“In other villages the descendants of the khuntkattidars are treated as ordinary Raiyats by the Munda or by the Dikku Zamindar. Here, too, we must ascertain what lands they have continued to cultivate from the khuntkatti days, and record them as khuntkatti. Even if the Zamindar has enhanced the rent of such lands, contrary to the customary rights of the cultivators, whilst we cannot repair the injury, we can prevent future wrong-doing by recording the real nature of the lands.”

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