Why CNT Act 1908 Was Passed By Britishers? Part-II

“It has therefore been found:
  •  First, that the landlord has no power of control over the internal affairs of the village.
  • Second, that the khuntkattidars of a village must be male descendants of one family, and hence members of the same killi or gotra.
  • Third, that the tenancy is not tenure or a Raiyati holding in the sense that now attaches to those terms, but that it partakes, to some extent, of the nature of the both.
  • Fourth, that where the pure khuntkatti system prevails there is no recognized system of the transfer, save (i) to men of the same race, and that only for cultivation, or (ii) to Mahajans temporarily for financial needs.
  • Fifth, that a transfer requires the joint consent of the brotherhood.
  • Sixth, that the resident male descendants of the original grantee have equal rights.
  • Seventh, that the rental can only be enhanced under the special circumstances.”
For the purposes of the village administration it is necessary that there should be an executive and also a spiritual head. The former is the Munda, and the later is Pahan. The grantee, if alone, combined both offices, and on his death his eldest son became the Munda, and his second son the Pahan. These posts became as a rule hereditary in the families of these sons. The Munda is the spokesman and representative of the brotherhood in secular matters relating to the village, and so far as the brotherhood is concerned has no greater rights than any of the other members. But in his name the village came to be registered in the sarishta of the landlord, and hence arose one of the causes that has led to the disintegration of so many of these khuntkatti villages and the discontent of the Mundaris. Seeing that the tenancy was in the name of the Munda only, the courts treated him as a tenure-holder and the other members of the brotherhood as his tenants. Consequently when the rent fell into arrears he alone was sued, and his supposed rights sold. On getting possession the purchaser, an alien proceeded to treat the other members of the brotherhood as if they were Raiyats or even as mere tenants-at-will. The knowledge of this has also induced many Mundas themselves to destroy the rights of their weaker brethren, and thereby gradually obtain for themselves the position of the petty Zamindars.
Wherever in a khuntkatti village the process of disintegration has set in, there will be found some lands in the possession of the descendants of the original founders and held by them as khuntkatti lands. Such portions of land were those that were registered and dealt with under the name of the Bhuinhari lands by the Special Commissioners who carried out the provisions of the Chota Nagpur Act, 1869. Babu Rakhal Dass Haldar, an officer, who for over 9 years was engaged on his work, describe such lands as the remants of the old khuntkatti tenures.
As I have already said, the Act to which I have just referred did not provide for the registration of the whole khuntkatti villages, though their nature and that of the Bhuinhari lands was the same.

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