Chapter V. Raiyats Having Khuntkatti Rights (CNT Act 1908) Excerpts (B)

Chapter V. Raiyats Having Khuntkatti Rights

Burden of proof and enhancement of Rent:
A Raiyat, who alleges that he has Khuntkatti rights in his tenancy or part thereof, is bound to prove it.
The onus is also on the Raiyat to prove that he is entitled to hold his tenancy or a part of it at fixed rates, under the provisions of clause (a). It frequently happens in jungle areas that a Raiyat, who has held a Khuntkatti tenancy which was created more than 20 years before the passing of the Act, has reclaimed new lands from the village jungle and waste, and added them to his tenancy at later periods. It would appear to be the intention of the Legislature that the Raiyat is not entitled to the privilege conferred by clause (a) in respect of these additions. The rent of that portion of the tenancy, which the Raiyat can prove was created and assessed to rent more than twenty years before the passing of the Act cannot be enhanced; but, the additional lands brought under cultivation since the inception of the tenancy, though they may be recorded as Khuntkatti, are liable to a fresh assessment of rent. In view of the definition of the word enhancement, it further appears that there is no legal bar to the assessment of these unassessed lands at the rates prevailing in the village for occupancy holdings of a similar description and with similar advantages. If however, the excess lands have been assessed at nominal or especially low rates, during the early stages of preparation, the rent cannot be enhanced so as to exceed one-half the rent payable by occupancy Raiyats for same class of land. It would obviously be inequitable to assess rents in the latter class of cases at half rates, and in the former class of cases at full rates, and in the former class of cases at full rates, merely because the tenants had escaped assessment in the early stages of the preparation of the soil. 

The intention of the Legislature would appear to be that the class of Khuntkatti lands referred to should not be assessed at higher rates than half the prevailing rates for the same class of land. Under the law, the court, which fixes the rent, has large discretionary powers, and the fact that the tenancy has been created by the labour and at the expense of the Raiyat, usually without assistance from the landlord should not be forgotten. 

The Bhuinhari tenancies recorded in Ranchi district under the provisions of Act II of 1869 are either rent free or assessed at quit rents fixed in perpetuity.

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