PIL filed in Karnataka High Court against amendment to Jamma land law
A public interest litigation has been filed in the Karnataka High Court to quash the recent amendments to the law involving the Jamma lands in Kodagu district of Karnataka.
The petition has been signed by seven persons, including Bangalore-based journalist and author P.T. Bopanna.
The writ petition seeks quashing the Karnataka Land Revenue (Third) Amendment Act passed by the previous BJP government. The petition has called for upholding the customary laws which have been abolished by the recent amendment. The petition has claimed that the amendment will lead to the negation of the customary laws of the Kodava joint families, their custom, culture and tradition. The customary laws prohibit the partition and alienation of Jamma and bane lands, whether alienated or un-alienated.
Some of the highlights of the petition are as follows:
“It appears that the amendment is prompted by vested interests
who are having an eye on precious tree growth on these Bane lands and the soaring land prices in view of the new found attraction for tourism in Coorg, like the powerful timber lobby and the realtors.”
“The new amendment has the effect not only of taking away the customary privileges, but also of disintegrating the Jamma land tenures, breaking up joint families and thus causing the disappearance of the Kodava customs and traditions by the unbridled sale and disposal of family lands. The new amendment is an infringement by the Government of the Kodava community’s right to preserve their culture and traditions which is a fundamental right guaranteed under the Constitution.”
“The legislation will not only take its toll on the customary laws, tradition and culture of the Kodava race but will also change the face of the Western Ghats as this legislation will legitimize large scale denudation of trees and the formation of human settlements on Bane lands as there is heavy influx of population from the neighbouring states all of whom require housing. The presence of increasing human habitation will have its impact on the adjoining forest land, its flora and fauna. Already there is immense pressure on the forests of the Western Ghats”
“The land sharks have become active already and people are being threatened and also being lured by money to sell their Bane lands as there is no restriction in law. The Kodava race will be removed from their traditional Jamma holdings which form the basis of Kodava custom and tradition. The joint family traditions, the civil, cultural and religious usages of this minority race will also disappear.”
“The partitioning and fragmentation of the joint family properties of the Kodava families as a result of the Act, will compel large-scale dissentions in the family and the crumbling of the Aiyne Mane or family houses to which these Jamma holdings are attached as per custom.”
The petitioners have urged the court to declare the the Karnataka Land Revenue (Third Amendment) Act, 2011 ANNEXURE-A, as unconstitutional and void and direct the respondents and its officers not to enforce or give effect to the provisions of the Amendment.
Karnataka government’s revenue secretary and secretary, department of parliamentary affairs and legislation, have been made respondents in the case. The case is slated to come up before the court shortly. Ms. K. Sarojini Muthanna is the advocate for the petitioners.