What is Shamilat-Deh or Shamlat Land?
In the process of evolution, when the village community system got transformed into the customary family system i.e., the land instead of being owned by the entire community, began to be owned by the families, certain portion of the land were still retained as community property for common use and this community property came to be known as village common land or Shamilat land, as per Jammu and Kashmir (Revenue Manual) authored by Justice H. Imtiyaz Hussain.
As per Revenue Manual, the village common land is not one consolidated chunk of land, but it consists of several chunks of land reserved for certain common purposes, as classified in the following land areas:-
- Chaupal or hujra, which is used as a place of meeting by village flocks, a place where most of the social and cultural functions are held and where political meetings are arranged;
- Shamilat deh, which is used for grazing of the cattle, a place from where the proprietors fetch wood and grass and like things, and which includes all the banjar land of the village;
- Gora deh, where cattle, before going to pasturage gather and which area is reserved for the further extension of village dwellings; and
- Abadi deh, the inhabited village sites including the land meant for dharamsalas, mosque, emples and gurdwaras, for burning ghats and graveyards, for tanks, wells and ponds, for streets and necessary lanes and by lanes.
Further as per the Manual, as a general rule, only proprietor of the village (malikana-deh) as distinguished from the proprietors of their own holding (malikana-makbuza khud) are entitled to share in the Shamilat-Deh and the rights and incidents of Shamilat land in occupation of a person are the same, as if he is the owner thereof.
Rights of holder of Shamilat Deh / Shamlat Land:
The proprietary rights over the Shamilat-Deh land of a villager has been acknowledged and recognized by the Courts from time to time.
In case of Union of India vs Mst. Freeni Boga, the Court has made the following observations with regard to the rights of holder of Shamilat-Deh Land:
“44. By this boon it was said that the land holders in a particular Mahal would be entitled to have a share in the land declared as Shamilat pro rata their holdings that means they had proprietary rights in shamilat land in proportion of the seize of their holdings which they would hold in common with the other land holders.
“45. Under the Boon in villages where there was no land entered as shamilat, the common land in the vicinity of the village-site which was entered as Khalsa, was converted into shamilat deh and the villages concerned were given the same rights therein which they possess in their individuals holding.”
Whether a person who is a grantee of Shamilat land under the Boon, gets proprietary rights over the said land
The above question came under consideration before this Court in Salam Rather v. Mohd Gani, AIR 1964 J&K 46 the court held that the land holders have proprietary rights in Shamilat land in proportion to the size of their holdings on pro rata basis. The Court observed as under:
“… But the basic right that was granted by this boon was that the land holders in a particular Mahal would be entitled to have to share in the land declared as Shamilat pro rata their holding. That means they had proprietary rights in shamilat land in proportion to the size of their holdings, which they would hold in common with the other land holders. The Shamilat could be got partitioned and each individual land-holder get his share of the Shamilat land in proportion to the size of his Shamilat land in proportion to the size of his holding. The trial Court was not, therefore, correct in holding that all that could be transferred about Shamilat land was possessory right alone, but the right of ownership, though joint with others, can also be the subject of a Shamilat land.”
Compensation to the Holder of Shamilat Land in case such land comes under Acquisition:
Whether a person holding Shamilat land is entitled to any compensation in case such a land comes under acquisition, was considered by a Division Bench of this Court in State of Jammu & Kashmir v. Smt. Hamida Begum, AIR 1979 J&K 48, the Court observed:
“It is common knowledge that the rights and incident of Shamilat land in occupation of a person are the same as if he is the owner thereof. Had this been State Khalsa land, the position would have been different. The mere fact that Shamilat land was reserved for grazing purposes would not militate against the fact that the petitioner is the owner thereof and that she has remained in possession thereof before the samvat year 2003.
Even in extreme cases where the Government grants land on certain conditions and the conditions are not enforced by the Government and the land is afterwards acquired under the Land Acquisition Act, the latter cannot refuse compensation to the possessor of the land.
That is what has been observed in AIR 1968 SC 105 . Then when compensation cannot be refused to a person in occupation of the land granted by the Government, which in other words means, that the land is State land, how can it be said that in the present case the petitioner is not entitled to compensation for the Shamilat land of which she is in de facto and de jure possession.”
48. Following the view expressed by this Court in these authorities we hold that holder of Shamilat land (which in revenue parlance is known as Shamilat dafa (5) has got the same rights in respect of the land as in the proprietary land and if a portion of Shamilat land comes under acquisition, holder thereof is entitled to its compensation in the same manner as in the case of proprietary land. Argument of the learned counsel for the appellant on this court, therefore, cannot be accepted.
Significant Changes after the issuance of Boon no. 4:
On 25.02.1926 A.D, the Maharaja of the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir issued Boon No. 4, published in Government Gazette on 14th Phagan 1982, (corresponding to February-March 1926 A.D) where under Khalsa /State land commonly known as Khalsa Sarkar was ordered to bestow upon village community and this land was henceforth ordered to be shown as Shamilat-Deh and the villagers concerned were awarded jointly the same rights therein, which they possess in their individual holdings.
By the said Boon, it was ordered that the landholder in a particular village would be entitled to have a share in the land declared as Shamilat-Deh pro rata to their holdings meaning thereby that a villager shall have proprietary rights in the Shamilat land in proportion of the size of his holding.
Ailan no. 17 – Mutation of Shamilat-Deh land in the Jammu Province:
In furtherance, to Boon No. 4 (supra) Ailan No. 17 dated 27 Bhadon, 1984 (corresponding to August-September 1927-28 A.D) came to be issued as rules to regulate mutation of Shamilat-Deh land in the Jammu province. The said Alan No. 17 was published in the Government Gazette on 13 Assuj, 1990 B.K (corresponding to September-October 1933-34 A.D).
Clause 5 of the said rules, provided that Shamilat entries made under this rule shall be recorded in the form of Shamilat-Malikan, Shamilat Malguzaran, Shamilat- Murusian, according to the nature of rights of the villages and holders and the entries shall be made in the ownership or tenancy column of Jamabandi, according to the same methods as the land holder rights in their private holding are recorded.
It is pertinent to mention here that subsequent to Boon No. 4 (supra), a similar Alan being Alan No. 2 dated 20th September, 1927 and notified on 16th Katik 1984 (corresponding to October-November 1927-28 A.D) cmae to be issued for Kashmir province as well with two kids of Shamilats there viz., Shamailat -Rule 4 and Shamilat –Rule 5.