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Need of land law reforms for protecting rights of indigenous people stressed

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TEZPUR, March 2 - A two-day long national seminar on �Need of land law reforms in Assam in view of the indigenous people� concluded at the Tezpur Law College here recently. The national-level seminar, the first of its kind organized in the region by Tezpur Law College touched upon serious issues like denudation of lands in the region, breaching of land rights of the indigenous people due to the infiltration problems and how to revive their lost lands etc.

Inaugurating the programme, the Attorney General, Government of Arunachal Pradesh, Nilayananda Dutta, stressed on amendment of some clauses of land laws of Assam in the interest of checking the infiltration problem of the region. Saying that land law is compulsory for every administration, the noted lawyer in his speech also stated that though the land laws have changed from time to time, either in the British or the post-British period, there is an urgent need to bring more changes, to deal with the problems arising from it. Expressing concern over certain faults with reference to the Assam Land & Revenue Regulation, 1886 he further said that until and unless the office concerned with land and revenue and the administration maintain transparency in land-related works, there is no hope for the common people to benefit from it.

The session was also attended by Prof Madan Sharma, Tezpur University and social worker Dr Lakhi Goswami. The Principal of Tezpur Law College, Dr Bhuban Chandra Barooah, in his welcome address stated that in Assam, the rights over land had been systematized during the Ahom rule from 1228 to 1826. After the fall of the Ahom dynasty and taking over by the British, the administration of Assam in terms of the Yandaboo Treaty signed on February 24 , 1826 decided to introduce a system of earning revenue from land as formulated by the Assam Land Revenue Regulation in 1886. This regulation is still in force in determining the various rights over land in Assam.

After Independence, the State of Assam has enacted a number of legislations to complement the Regulation of 1886 and for dealing with various dimensions of right over land in Assam. These laws have not addressed different issues and classes of land, such as, agricultural land, forest lands, water bodies etc. He also mentioned that along with the laws, land policies have also been adopted from time to time. Three consecutive land policies were adopted by the government in sync with changing times. The latest land policy was adopted in 1989 which is still prevailing.

This session was followed by the first technical session under the chairmanship of retired Chief Justice, Gauhati High Court, Brijendra Prashad Kakoti where attending as resource person, noted lawyer from Gauhati High Court and a member of the State Land Right Committee, Anil Kr Bhattacharya said that though previous governments didn�t give priority in the reports submitted to the government, the present government is giving much importance to it. Another resource person, Rohini Kumar Baruah said that though Britishers made the Assam Land and Revenue Regulation 1886 with a colonial thought it has still importance in delivering the land rights to the people of the region. On the other hand, presenting a paper on issue in the second technical session, senior advocate, Gauhati High Court, Satyen Sarmah gave a good number of suggestions to implement the Clause 6 of the Assam Accord in total by amending the Constitution and bringing in the provisions like Article 370, to reform all the different land laws, including land revenue regulation. �Not only land laws, but also legislations dealing with foreigners, should be reformed to safeguard the interest of indigenous people of Assam. In paragraph 63 of the case of Sarbananda Sonowal-vs-UOI reported in (2005) 5 SCC 665, the court has found that the State of Assam is facing external aggression and internal disturbance and as such it is the duty of Union Government to take all necessary measures for the protection of State of Assam from such external aggression and internal disturbance as enjoined in Article 355 of the Constitution,� he mentioned.

The concluding programme was graced by Prof Bhaskar Kumar Chakravarty, Vice-Chancellor, Gauhati University, Dr Mridul Hazarika, MLA, Tezpur LAC, Brindaban Goswami, Principal of Tezpur Law College, Dr Bhuban Chandra Barooah, faculty of Tezpur Law College, Fazlul Haque among others. Delivering his speech on the issue, Brindaban Goswami suggested that the indigenous people can hand over land among themselves but not to others. According to him, if any non-indigenous people purchases land form a tribal person; he or she would not get ownership of the land. At the same time if any indigenous person hands over land to others, he also would face punishment as per law. �A proper land survey should be initiated on the erosion-affected families while a proper record should be maintained on the depleted forest lands and steps should be initiated for the preservation of those depleted forest lands,� he suggested and mentioned that a proper record should be made covering the encroachers.

A total of 27 papers on the issue were presented in the seminar and the papers considered to be the best and effective would be submitted to the Government of Assam.

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Need of land law reforms for protecting rights of indigenous people stressed

TEZPUR, March 2 - A two-day long national seminar on �Need of land law reforms in Assam in view of the indigenous people� concluded at the Tezpur Law College here recently. The national-level seminar, the first of its kind organized in the region by Tezpur Law College touched upon serious issues like denudation of lands in the region, breaching of land rights of the indigenous people due to the infiltration problems and how to revive their lost lands etc.

Inaugurating the programme, the Attorney General, Government of Arunachal Pradesh, Nilayananda Dutta, stressed on amendment of some clauses of land laws of Assam in the interest of checking the infiltration problem of the region. Saying that land law is compulsory for every administration, the noted lawyer in his speech also stated that though the land laws have changed from time to time, either in the British or the post-British period, there is an urgent need to bring more changes, to deal with the problems arising from it. Expressing concern over certain faults with reference to the Assam Land & Revenue Regulation, 1886 he further said that until and unless the office concerned with land and revenue and the administration maintain transparency in land-related works, there is no hope for the common people to benefit from it.

The session was also attended by Prof Madan Sharma, Tezpur University and social worker Dr Lakhi Goswami. The Principal of Tezpur Law College, Dr Bhuban Chandra Barooah, in his welcome address stated that in Assam, the rights over land had been systematized during the Ahom rule from 1228 to 1826. After the fall of the Ahom dynasty and taking over by the British, the administration of Assam in terms of the Yandaboo Treaty signed on February 24 , 1826 decided to introduce a system of earning revenue from land as formulated by the Assam Land Revenue Regulation in 1886. This regulation is still in force in determining the various rights over land in Assam.

After Independence, the State of Assam has enacted a number of legislations to complement the Regulation of 1886 and for dealing with various dimensions of right over land in Assam. These laws have not addressed different issues and classes of land, such as, agricultural land, forest lands, water bodies etc. He also mentioned that along with the laws, land policies have also been adopted from time to time. Three consecutive land policies were adopted by the government in sync with changing times. The latest land policy was adopted in 1989 which is still prevailing.

This session was followed by the first technical session under the chairmanship of retired Chief Justice, Gauhati High Court, Brijendra Prashad Kakoti where attending as resource person, noted lawyer from Gauhati High Court and a member of the State Land Right Committee, Anil Kr Bhattacharya said that though previous governments didn�t give priority in the reports submitted to the government, the present government is giving much importance to it. Another resource person, Rohini Kumar Baruah said that though Britishers made the Assam Land and Revenue Regulation 1886 with a colonial thought it has still importance in delivering the land rights to the people of the region. On the other hand, presenting a paper on issue in the second technical session, senior advocate, Gauhati High Court, Satyen Sarmah gave a good number of suggestions to implement the Clause 6 of the Assam Accord in total by amending the Constitution and bringing in the provisions like Article 370, to reform all the different land laws, including land revenue regulation. �Not only land laws, but also legislations dealing with foreigners, should be reformed to safeguard the interest of indigenous people of Assam. In paragraph 63 of the case of Sarbananda Sonowal-vs-UOI reported in (2005) 5 SCC 665, the court has found that the State of Assam is facing external aggression and internal disturbance and as such it is the duty of Union Government to take all necessary measures for the protection of State of Assam from such external aggression and internal disturbance as enjoined in Article 355 of the Constitution,� he mentioned.

The concluding programme was graced by Prof Bhaskar Kumar Chakravarty, Vice-Chancellor, Gauhati University, Dr Mridul Hazarika, MLA, Tezpur LAC, Brindaban Goswami, Principal of Tezpur Law College, Dr Bhuban Chandra Barooah, faculty of Tezpur Law College, Fazlul Haque among others. Delivering his speech on the issue, Brindaban Goswami suggested that the indigenous people can hand over land among themselves but not to others. According to him, if any non-indigenous people purchases land form a tribal person; he or she would not get ownership of the land. At the same time if any indigenous person hands over land to others, he also would face punishment as per law. �A proper land survey should be initiated on the erosion-affected families while a proper record should be maintained on the depleted forest lands and steps should be initiated for the preservation of those depleted forest lands,� he suggested and mentioned that a proper record should be made covering the encroachers.

A total of 27 papers on the issue were presented in the seminar and the papers considered to be the best and effective would be submitted to the Government of Assam.

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