In a landmark judgement, the Himachal Pradesh High Court today directed the state government to suitably amend rules to facilitate purchase of land, both agriculture and non-agriculture, by non- agriculturist Himachalis.
"This court deems it fit and proper to direct the state government to make suitable amendments to Section 118 of the HP Tenancy and Land Reforms Act, 1972 read with HP Tenancy and Land Reforms Rules, 1975 in order to facilitate to purchase any land (agricultural and non-agricultural) in the state by non-agriculturist Himachalis residing in the state for decades, prior to the date of commencement of the HP Tenancy and Land Reforms Act, 1972, within a period of 90 days from today," a division bench of justices Rajiv Sharma and Sureshwar Thakur said.
Disposing of the petition in this regard, the bench observed, "There is perpetual litigation under Section 118 of the HP Tenancy and Land Reforms Act, 1972 and a large population of non-agriculturist Himachalis has been deprived of their right to purchase property in the state without the permission of the state government though they are residing in the state for decades together."
The court further said that there is a sense of alienation among the non-agriculturist Himachalis.
"They are integral part of the state and have a sense of belonging to the state."
The section 118 of HP Tenancy and Land Reforms Act barred all non-agriculturists from purchasing any land in the state without the permission of the government, depriving thousands of non-agriculturist families living in the state for more than 50 years.
The judgement has come as a major relief for them.