BENGALURU: In a landmark judgement, the Karnataka High Court held that once the land granted to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes is diverted, it ceases to be a ‘granted land’ under the provisions of the Karnataka Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prohibition of Transfer of Certain Lands) Act, 1978 (PTCL Act).
With this, the requirement of obtaining prior permission from the government under Section 4(2) of the Act to transfer/acquisition by transfer of a diverted land does not arise, as the permission has to be obtained only in respect of ‘granted land’, the court added.
The full bench of Justices Alok Aradhe, Sachin Shankar Magadum and M Nagaprasanna said that the issue of whether an order of conversion passed by a deputy commissioner under Section (95) of the Karnataka Land Revenue Act, 1964 can be construed as prior permission by the government, satisfying the requirements under Section 4(2) of the PTCL Act, does not arise in case of diverted lands.
The petitioners, Munnaiah and 12 others belonging to Schedule Caste, had filed a petition before a single judge against the order passed by the deputy commissioner in respect of 5.3 acres at Meenukunte village in Devanahalli taluk.
The land contained a condition with regard to non-alienation. After the death of the father of one of the petitioners, they sold it in 1996 without obtaining prior permission from the government.
As the assistant commissioner restored the land in favour of the petitioners, the purchaser filed an appeal before the deputy commissioner, who held that the order of grant does not carry any restriction of alienation and the land was granted to the predecessor of the petitioners, and the appeal was allowed. Against this order, the petitioners had approached the high court. The reference to the full bench arose from an order dated May 19, 2021 passed by the single judge.