A farmer from anywhere in India can now purchase agriculture land in Gujarat.
Terming a Gujarat government policy, which prohibits farmers from other parts of the country from buying farms in the state, discriminatory, the Gujarat high court on Friday said they would be considered agriculturists and can purchase land in the state.
This may pave way for wealthy farmers from across the country pumping in money in farmlands in the state and even push price up.
The issue came up after the Kutch district collector issued a circular citing local laws and seized the khedut pothis of some farmers engaged in agriculture in western part of Kutch.
These farmers, originally hailing from Haryana and Punjab, have settled here for last three decades .
The circular said agriculturists from other states cannot purchase farm land and engage themselves in farming in Gujarat.
A full bench comprising acting chief justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya , justice A L Dave and justice V M Sahai heard the case and quashed the circular.
The issue was referred to the full bench by a division bench because an important issue of constitutional rights was involved.
The bench observed that seizure of documents by the government was illegal, said petitioners' lawyer Sharvil Majmudar .
The petitioners' counsel contended that the state government knows no boundaries, when it has to acquire a land as per the Land Ceiling Act.
In such cases, the state government accepts complete holding on part of land owner, who happens to be from other state.
The bench accepted this argument and held that if the land ceiling laws are made applicable to people from outside, the land ownership laws should also be made applicable for agriculturists from other state.
The state government also raised the issue of verification saying that there is no mechanism available to check whether people purchasing land in Gujarat are real agriculturists in their respective states.
To this, the HC observed that in absence of any verification system, people cannot be denied the benefits.
Source: Argentine Beef Packers S.A.