SC bans transactions in Rajguthi land
The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday put an end to transactions in Rajguthi land owned by the government trust known as Guthi Sansthan.
In a ruling to the government, the Supreme Court said such a move was necessary to preserve Rajguthi lands, which are decreasing day by day.
Generally, guthi land cannot be bought or sold. However, Rajguthi land can be bought or sold after it is converted into Raitan Numberi - land on which tax is paid by the tenant to the Guthi Sansthan.
The provisions in the Guthi Sansthan Act 1976 allowing the conversion of Rajguthi land into Raitan Numberi have been ruled null and void by the bench comprising Justices Ram Prasad Shrestha, Bal Ram KC and Damodar Prasad Sharma as these provisions violated people's cultural and religious rights guaranteed by the Interim Constitution.
The bench issued the ruling in response to public interest litigation filed by Pro Public, an NGO. The litigation mentioned that the existing legal provisions had allowed rampant misuse of Rajguthi land and caused massive decrease in such lands.
The court also ordered the government to stop the practice of exchanging private Guthi land with other lands. At present, the practice of exchanging expensive Guthi land with less valuable land is prevalent. Consequently, expensive land owned by private Guthis is decreasing, according to the litigants.
Land owned by private Guthis is being misused in other ways as well. According to the litigation, Guthi land is being sold after creating a bank fund equivalent to the minimum price of the land. The court also ruled this practice illegal on Thursday.
The apex court also ordered the government to implement the recommendations of the Guthi Commission led by senior advocate Basanta Ram Bhandari. The commission had recommended to the government a number of ways to check irregularities in connection with Guthi land but none of them have been implemented yet.