Prohibition on buying agricultural land

Posted On: 2015-06-23 06:03:29

Two instances of forfeiture of prime plots in Bengaluru last month could well signal trouble for many landowners in and around the city. Revenue department officials tell that individuals and institutions have bought lands on city outskirts without reading the laws and rules governing land reforms.


In one case of violation, Bengaluru Urban district authorities took over 9.39 acres from the possession of Kumaran's English School in Uttarahalli hobli in Bengaluru South taluk. The other case involved taking away of 7.35 acre from Impact College of Engineering at Yelahanka hobli in Bengaluru North taluk.

The reports clubbing the takeover of plots of these two education institutions along with clearing other cases of encroachment might have conveyed an impression that the two institutions crouched on government land. That was, however, not the case. The two institutions in deed bought the plots they were in possession of but they paid a huge price for not reading the Karnataka Land Reforms Act, 1961, carefully.

The two institutions, according to Bengaluru Urban Deputy Commissioner V Shankar, were found to be in possession of agricultural land, and the Section 79 (A and (B) of the Act prohibits a non agriculturist from buying the farm land in Karnataka.

Many officials say the insertion of the Section was meant to protect farmers from losing their land to non agriculturists. Such a law does not exist in any other state, and many officials privately say it was outdated, and needed a pragmatic review.

Section 79(A), inserted by way of an amendment in 1974, bars individuals with an annual income of Rs 2 lakh and above from non-agriculture sources from buying land. The law empowers the revenue authorities to declare such purchase "null & void" and take away the ownership of the land.

Section 79B prohibits holding of farmland by entities such as educational, religious or charitable institutions or a society, trust, or a company. The law, however,  provides a remedy.


Section 109 of the same Act empowers the revenue authorities to allow buying a piece of farmland for purposes like running an educational institution or to set up an industry . But the entity concerned must first apply to the Deputy Commissioner asking for exemption.  An institution or a society can buy land without seeking exemption under Section 109 with prior government approval. The Deputy Commissioner said, he has the authority to permit purchase of land for educational institutions. 

Source : Prohibition On Buying Agricultural Land