Act VIII of 1885
[14th March, 1885]
Supplemented : Bengal Act No. 3 of 1895.
Repealed in Part and Amended : Act No. 38 of 1920; Bengal Act No. 1 of 1907; Bengal Act No. 4 of 1928; Bengal Act No. 2 of 1930 and E. B. & A. Act No. 1 of 1908.
Adapted : The Government of India (Adaptation of Indian Laws) Order, 1937; the Indian Independence (Adaptation of Bengal and Punjab Acts) Order, 1948 and the Adaptation of Laws Order, 1950.
An Act to amend and consolidate certain enactments relating to the Law of Landlord and Tenant within the territories under the administration of the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal.
Whereas it is expedient to amend and consolidate certain enactments relating to the law of Landlord and Tenant within the territories under the administration of the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal.
It is hereby enacted as follows :—
Amended : Act VIII of 1886; Bengal Act No. 3 of 1898; Bengal Act No. 1 of 1903; Bengal Act No. 3 of 1913 ; Bengal Act No. 2 of 1918; Bengal Act No. 3 of 1919; Bengal Act No. 10 of 1923; Bengal Act No. 1 of 1925; Bengal Act No. 6 of 1938; Bengal Act No. 1 of 1939; Bengal Act No. 2 of 1939; Bengal Act 13 of 1939; Bengal Act No. 18 of 1940; Bengal Act No. 12 of 1945; Bengal Act No. 16 of 1946; Bengal Act No. 5 of 1947; West Bengal Act No. 12 of 1947; West Bengal Act No. 7 of 1948; West Bengal Act No. 2 of 1953 and West Bengal Act No. 19 of 1955.
Short title.— (1) This Act may be called the Bengal Tenancy Act, 1885.
(2) Commencement. — It shall come into force on such date (hereinafter called the commencement of this Act) as the State Government, with the previous sanction of the Central Government, may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint in this behalf.
(3) Local extent. — It extends by its own operation to the whole of West Bengal, except —
(i) Calcutta, that is to say, the area described in Schedule I to the Calcutta Municipal Act, 1923, but excluding the area added to Calcutta as defined in clause (i) of section 3 of that Act;
(ii) (a) the area added to Calcutta as defined in clause (1) of section 3 of the Calcutta Municipal Act, 1923, or any part thereof; and
(b) any area or part of any area included in Calcutta by notification under sub-section (3) of section 543 of that Act,
if such area or part is specified in a notification made in this behalf by the State Government;
(iii) any area constituted a municipality under the provisions of the Bengal Municipal Act, 1932, or part thereof, if such area or part is specified in a notification made in this behalf by the State Government :
Provided that a notification under this clause shall be no bar to the operation of this Act in respect of agricultural lands situated within the area specified in such notification; and
(iv) the Scheduled Districts specified in the Part III of the First Schedule to the Scheduled Districts Act, 1874 :
Provided that no notification shall be issued under clause (ii) or clause (iii) of this sub-section, unless—
(a) it is previously published in the area concerned or part thereof in the prescribed manner; and
(b) both Chambers of the State Legislature, by a resolution recommend that the notification be issued.
Repeal.— (1) The enactments specified in Schedule I hereto annexed are repealed in the territories to which this Act extends by its own operation.
(2) Any enactment or document referring to any enactment hereby repealed shall be construed to refer to this Act or to the corresponding portion thereof.
(3) The repeal of any enactment by this Act shall not revive any right, privilege, matter or thing not in force or existing at the commencement of this Act.
Definitions.— In this Act, unless there is something repugnant in the subject or context,—
(1) “Agricultural year” means the Bengali year commencing on the first day of Baisakh :
Provided that where, immediately before the commencement of the Bengal Tenancy (Amendment) Act, 1928, any other year has prevailed for agricultural purposes that year shall continue to prevail for those purposes until the first day of Baisakh next following the date of the commencement of that Act;
(2) “Collector” means the Collector of a district or any other officer appointed by the State Government to discharge any of the functions of a Collector under this Act;
(3) “complete usufructuary mortgage” means a transfer by a tenant of the right of possession in any land for the purpose of securing the payment of money or the return of grain advanced or to be advanced by way of loan upon the condition that the loan, with all interest thereon, shall be deemed to be extinguished by the profits arising from the land during the period of the mortgage;
(4) “estate” means land included under one entry in any of the general registers of revenue-paying lands and revenue-free lands, prepared and maintained under the law for the time being in force by the Collector of a district, and includes Government khas mahalsand revenue-free lands not entered in any register;
(5) “holding” means a parcel of land or an undivided share thereof, held by a raiyat or an under-raiyatand forming the subject of a separate tenancy whether the raiyat or under-raiyat has held the land before or after the commencement of the Bengal Tenancy (Amendment) Act, 1928;
(6) “landlord” means a person immediately under whom a tenant holds, and includes the Government;
(7) “pay”, “payable” and “payment” used with reference to rent, include “deliver”, “deliverable” and “delivery”;
(8) “Permanent Settlement” means the Permanent Settlement of Bengal made in the year 1793;
(9) “permanent tenure” means a tenure which is heritable and which is not held for a limited time;
(10) “prescribed” means prescribed by rules made by the State Government under this Act;
(11) “proprietor” means a person owning whether in trust or for his own benefit, an estate or a part of an estate;
(12) “registered” means registered under any Act for the time being in force for the registration of documents;
(13) “rent” means whatever is lawfully payable or deliverable in money or kind by a tenant to his landlord on account of the use or occupation of the land held by the tenant :
In sections 53 to 68, both inclusive, sections 72 to 75, both inclusive, Chapter XIV and Schedule III of this Act, “rent” includes also money recoverable under any enactment for the time being in force as if it was rent;
(14) “Revenue-officer” in any provision of this Act includes any officer whom the State Government may appoint by name or by virtue of his office to discharge any of the functions of a Revenue-officer under that provision;
(15) “signed” includes “marked” when the person making the mark is unable to write his name, it also includes “stamped” with the name of the person referred to;
(16) “succession” includes both intestate and testamentary succession;
(17) “tenant” means a person who holds land under another person, and is, or but for a special contract would be, liable to pay rent for that land to that person :
Provided that a person who, under the system generally known as “adhi”, “barga” or “bhag”, cultivates the land of another person on condition of delivering a share of the produce to that person, is not a tenant, unless—
(i) such person has been expressly admitted to be a tenant by his landlord in any document executed by him or executed in his favour and accepted by him, or
(ii) he has been or is held by a Civil Court to be a tenant;
(18) “tenure” means the interest of a tenure-holder or an under-tenure-holder;
(19) “village” means the area defined, surveyed and recorded as a distinct and separate village in—
(a) the general land revenue survey which has been made of the State of West Bengal, or
(b) any survey made by the Government which has been adopted by notification in the Calcuttaor Eastern Bengal and Assam and Gazette or which may be adopted by notification in the Calcutta Gazette, as defining villages for the purposes of this clause in any specified area; and where a survey has not been made by, or under the authority of, the Government, such area as the Collector may, with the sanction of the Board of Revenue, by general or special order, declare to constitute a village :
Provided that, when an order has been made under section 101 directing that a survey be made and a record-of-rights prepared in respect of any local area, estate, tenure or part thereof, the Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, declare that in such local area, estate, tenure or part thereof “village” shall mean the area which for the purposes of such survey and record-of-rights may be adopted by the Revenue-officer with the sanction of the Board of Revenue accorded under the provisions of section 115A as the unit of survey and record.