The Allahabad High Court has said that it is mandatory to get permission as per rules before buying land of a Scheduled Caste, even if the landowner himself is a member of Scheduled Caste. The court has also refused to give the benefit of equality in this case if the petitioner is poor and is not aware of the law.
The order has been given by Justice Anjani Kumar Mishra while rejecting the petition of SC Ramlal. Yachi Ram Ji Lal bought two of his agricultural land in his village from another scheduled caste person. The seller was allotted this land from the gram sabha, on which he had the right to transfer land.
The sale deed of the petitioner was dismissed saying that it had not obtained the necessary permission before purchasing SC land under Section 157A of the Zamindari Destruction and Land Reforms Act.
His sale deed was rejected and the land was absorbed into the state government. Against this, the application and appeal was rejected by the SDM Finance and Commissioner, which was challenged in the High Court.
The advocate of the petitioner contended that the petitioner is a Scheduled Caste himself, so it is not necessary for a Scheduled Caste person to obtain prior permission to buy land belonging to another Scheduled Caste.
The Advocate also said that even though the land deed has been absorbed by the state government by cancelling the sale deed of the petitioner, the actual possession of the land still remains with the petitioner. The petitioner is a poor landless person and does not know the law, so he should be given the benefit of equality.
The court rejected these arguments and said that lack of knowledge of law cannot be a defense. There is no such provision in the law to state that permission is not necessary for the purchaser of a Scheduled Caste to purchase land belonging to a Scheduled Caste.
-India Legal Bureau