The Himachal Pradesh government will not amend the law that places restrictions on buying land in the state, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said on Tuesday. Replying to the calling attention motion by Congress MLA Vikramaditya Singh, the CM informed the state assembly that former Congress governments in the state had amended Section 118 of the Himachal Pradesh Land Tenancy and Reform Act, 1972, several times between 1976 and 2012, but they had no such plan.
He said Section 118 of the HP Act was entirely different from Article 35-A of the Constitution, which was earlier applicable to Jammu and Kashmir. He said Section 118 of the Himachal Act was a land reforms legislation, which was enacted to safeguard rights of tenants and other tillers of land in the state.
Referring to statements made by Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Badal and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi that outsiders be allowed to buy land in the state, the CM said both leaders might not have read the state law carefully.
The HP Tenancy and Land Reforms Act, 1972, was enacted with an intent to unify various laws related to tenancy and to provide for a measure of land reforms in the entire state, he added.
The CM said the act placed restrictions on the purchase of land by non-agriculturists to avoid the concentration of agricultural land in the hands of non-agriculturist moneyed class. With the above objectives, Section 118 was a legislation to protect the interest of farmers in the state and to discourage the concentration of valuable agricultural land in the hands of wealthy non-agriculturist class, he added.
However, some sub-sections of Section 118 gave non-agriculturists the right to purchase a house or land for building a house from the Himachal Pradesh Housing and Urban Development Authority (HIMUDA) without permission, he said.
Besides, there was a provision in the Act under which anyone could buy land in Himachal Pradesh after getting permission from the state government, he added.