Chapter XV. Record of Rights and Obligations of Raiyats Having Khuntkatti Rights, Village Headman and Other Classes of Tenants (CNT Act 1908) Excerpts (B)

Chapter XV. Record of Rights and Obligations of Raiyats Having Khuntkatti Rights, Village Headman and Other Classes of Tenants

Incidence of the tenure or office:
In the case of Khuntkatti Headman, the office is invariably heritable. The eldest son of the Headman succeeds as a matter of course, except in case of proved unfitness, in which case a younger son or a near relative succeeds.
The Court, in considering the question of heritability is now bound to have regard to the origin and nature of the tenancy and the real status of the tenant, notwithstanding the fact that the Headman may have been described in a document, or lease as a Thiccadar or temporary tenure-holder. Judged by the criterion, the Khuntkatti Headman’s office is found to be invariably heritable, subject only to the test of fitness.
The Jama payable by the Headman is ordinarily not enhance-able, during the period of his lease. He has generally a preferential right to a resettlement in the expiry of the term. The rents of the tenants may be increased or enhanced according to law, and, if the Headman refuses to take settlement after the expiry of the term of his lease at fair and equitable rates, the settlement may be made with a third person, or the village may be held Khas by the landlord. The latter, however, can only eject the Headman through the Court, and he must sue accordingly in the Deputy Commissioner’s Court for ejectment.
The Headman can generally appropriate the income derived from excess cultivation during the period of his lease, but, he is laible to meet deficits arising from drought, scarcity, abandonment of holdings, and other causes; nor is he, in any circumstances, entitled to abatements on these grounds.
The Headman is bound to settle abandoned holdings in the first instance with the resident Raiyats of the village. In default of their taking the lands he may hold them Khas, or settle them with residents of other villages. He is not entitled to take any Salami. He can settle Raiyats in the cultivable waste lands; but, neither he nor the Raiyats can clear valuable forest, without the consent of the landlord. The resident Raiyats can reclaim the cultivable waste or scrub jungle without his or the landlord’s consent. The landlord can, under no circumstances, settle Raiyats in an area, which has been leased to a Headman, during the continuance of the Headman’s tenure. The Headmanship is not partible, nor can it be transferred by sale, mortgage or otherwise; but, a Headman may associate with himself an assistant to perform all or some of the duties. The assistant is usually known as “Juridar”. The Headman must however remain responsible for the collection of the rent and the performance of the duties. The legal and customary incidents are same in the case of the Khuntkatti and non-khuntkatti Headmen, who may be properly termed Ijaradars, save that the latter have no preferential right to periodical resettlements, nor are their tenures and offices heritable in the family, unless these rights have been specifically conferred by the terms of their Pattas.
Ejectment of a Headman:
A Headman cannot be dismissed; but, he may be ejected from his tenure, but only in execution of a decree of Court. The grounds on which he may be ejected are:-
(a)   failure to pay a stipulated Jama;
(b)   refusal to take resettlement at fair and equitable rates, in case he has the preferential right to a settlement;
(c)    at the option of the landlord on the expiration of the term of his lease, if he is merely an Ijaradar, who has no right to a resettlement;
(d)   failure to perform his duties or unfitness;
(e)   breach of the conditions of the office or tenures.
Mokarrari claims:
Headmen have from time to time advance claims to hold at fixed rates in perpetuity. The essential feature of the system is, however, that the rent is periodically enhance-able, though the lease of the tenure may be indeterminable. These claims may now be regarded as untenable, unless the ownership of the village is vested in the community, as is the case in intact Mundari Khuntkatti villages.
Khem or Man lands:
In some villages, it is found that the Headman is remunerated for his services by the grant of a few plots of land called Khem or Man, which he holds rent free; and it has been sometimes assessed that these lands are invariably of a service character. In the case, however, of Khuntkatti Headmen, it is invariably found that these lands were prepared either by the Headman himself or his ancestors from the jungle. They are not service lands but are held rent free, because the superior tenure holder remits the rent in lieu of service rendered. They, therefore, appertain to the Headman in his capacity of raiyat, and do not pass with the transfer of the tenure. In the case of the Ijaradar Headmen, the Khem lands are generally of a service character, and when the Headman is ejected, they pass to his successor or lapse to the landlord.

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