THE BOMBAY INFERIOR VILLAGE WATANS ABOLITION ACT, 1958
[Act No. 1 of 19591]
[20th January, 1959]
Types of Intermediary Tenures.- The dominant form of land tenure in the present State of Maharashtra has all along been raiyotwari. However, certain types of intermediary tenures in land as well as various forms of inam tenures were significant in certain parts of the State, e.g., Khoti, Malguzari, Jagirdari and Izaradari (in Berar Dist.) Jagirdari (in Marathwada).
The various types of inam tenures were found all over the State, particularly in the districts of Western Maharashtra and Marathwada.
How intermediary tenures operated.- They were characterised by almost of absolute control of the intermediaries on the lands, whether cultivated or otherwise, in their estates, paying stipulated revenue to the Government and extracted rents as well as a variety of cesses and levies, legal or otherwise, from the under-right holders.
They had under them many under-right holders, with varying rights in the land, and not all of these were actual cultivators. After 1947, all intermediary rights in land were abolished according to National Policy on land tenure.
Some of the inam tenures were also characterised by separation of ownership from cultivation. In other cases, the inamdars were enjoying the lands rent free (i.e., revenue free) or on concessional or fixed rents. All these systems became redundant after political developments of 1947, therefore abolished subsequently.
Inam Tenures.- Besides above tenures, other categories of tenures were prevalent known as Inam tenures.
"Inam" means a gift, from a ruler to a subject.
Traditionally the superior political authority made gifts or 'inams', mainly land to be held rent free and in perpetuity or for the duration of the rulers pleasure. Some inams considered of only State assessed revenue from specified hands; and some others only of a regular cash payment.
Categories of Inams.- (1) Political Inams.- Saranjams and other types.
(2) Inam grants not held for any service or for some political considerations and which settled and converted into enfranchised private properties if the holders subject to the payment of the amounts of judi (either ancient or manufil judi).
(3) Service Inams.- Service rendered to the Government or to the community or to both. They were abolished between 1950 and 1961 period in the State.
(4) Inam grants which constituted endowments to religious or educational or charitable or such other public institutions.
In Marathwada, 1609 village forming about 21% of all the villages were under Jagir Tenure comprising 38,65,000 acres. They were abolished by the Act.
In Western Maharashtra all but religious and educational, charitable endowments were abolished.
Political Inams.- There were 932 political inams granted to individuals prevalent in the State. All these Saranjam Inams were abolished and Government resumed over 52% of the land.
Personal Inams.- Most of them were pre-British period, but had been confirmed by the British and certain other personal inams were newly created by them. This was largest category amongst all types of inams comprising 17 lakhs acres of land involving 31,745 inamdars. These types of inams were prevalent dominantly in Western Maharashtra. After abolishing these inams, the inamdars and the inferior holders were not disposed of the lands they had held, but became occupants thereof.
When former Princely States (like the State of Kolhapur) had created a large number of Jagirs granted either to the members of the royal family or to others for services rendered to the State or valour in war. (These were 541 jagirs existed in the ex-State areas of Western Maharashtra, covering lakh acres). Jagirdars became occupants of their home-farm (Gharkhed) lands whereas inferior holders became occupants of their lands etc.
Watans : Pargana and Kulkarni Watans.- The Pargana and Kulkarni Watans were created under the Muslim and Maratha rulers which were continued under British till British found them unnecessary. Except in two or three cases, all Deshpande and Kulkarni Watans were abolished during British period. These Watans were created mainly because Deshpande and Kulkarnis had rendered certain services rendered to British.
Bhil-Naik Inams.- They were granted to Bhil-Naiks of or villages in forest tracts of Nasik and Dhulia Districts at the time of preparing village settlement records. There were 1318 holders of inams holding in all 45,587 acres of land. They were abolished in 1955.
Bara Balutedar Inams.- They are inams for services useful to community. They were existing since pre-British Days (e.g., a villages-artisans like Sutars, Lohars, Nhavis, Maulvis, Joshis, Kazis, Halkari etc.) These inams were inalienable but inheritable. At the time of abolition of these inams in 1954, there were 12,000 inam-holders of these category having 58,000 acres of land.
Only Halkari Inam was restored as it caused great hardship to the hilly-villagers who used to get water through Halkaris (it means those who filled water through in the villages).
Inferior Village Watans.- Inferior Watans were known as Mahar Watan, Jagalia, Gurav, etc. Among these inferior village Watans, Mahar Watan and Revenue Patil Watan were important. These Watans were
The Bombay Inferior Village Watans Abolition Act, 1958 339 granted as they were rendering service to the State in the villages. When these Watans were abolished in 1959, inam-holders or other lawful possessors of the inam land were made.
"Watan" means an inam for service but generally used in wider sense to denote any alienation in or land with or without service.
Types of Watans
(1) (A) Treaty Saranjams
(B) Non-treaty Saranjams
(C) Political Watan
(2) Personal Watan
(3) Devasthan Watan
(4) Non-service Watans of village officers and servants
(5) Village Watans
(a) useful to Government
(b) useful to community.
(6) Revenue free sites for the construction at the cost of local, municipal or sanitary board or other funds of
(a) School or college
(d) Other Public Works.
In each other class, there are one or more of the following sub-divisions (1) lands (2) villages (3) cash allowances. Occupants of the inam land subject to the payment of an occupancy price equal to the full assessment or three times the assessment of the Watan lands depending on whether such lands were unassigned or assigned for the emoluments of the officiators.
"The largest number of inam holders of any class in Western Maharashtra belonged to this class, numbering 1,22,000 holders holding more than 7 lakh acres in Western Maharashtra and Vidharbha region".
[Above information is based on "Report of the Committee appointed by the Government of Maharashtra for. Evaluation of Land Reforms (1972).]
An Act to abolish the inferior village watans prevailing in certain parts of the State of Bombay.
WHEREAS it is expedient in the public interest to abolish the hereditary village offices of lower degree than that of a revenue or police patel or village accountant and the watans appertaining thereto prevailing in the pre-Reorganisation State of Bombay, excluding the transferred territories and in the Hyderabad area of the State of Bombay and to provide for matters consequential and incidental thereto; It is hereby enacted in the Ninth Year of the Republic of India as follows:-
Object.-In pursuance of the Government policy of abolition of intermediates, watans and inams of various descriptions which had prevailed in the pre-Reorganisation State of Bombay had already been abolished. Service watans useful to Government, excluding Kulkarni and Pargana watans, had, however, been saved from abolition because the abolition of these inams involved far-reaching financial consequences. These inams were, however, a relic of the old feudal system and Government considered that time had come to abolish them. The present Act was, therefore, designed to abolish watans of inferior village servants useful to Government prevailing in the pre-Reorganisation State of Bombay and the Hyderabad area.- vide Statement of Objects and Reasons.
1. For Statement of Objects and Reasons see Bombay Government Gazette, 1958, Part IV, pp. 425-426.