How much land can one legally own and hold in Kerala? The land ceiling provisions under the Kerala Reforms Act
How much land can one legally own and hold in Kerala ?
The land ceiling provisions under the Kerala Reforms Act
The Kerala Land Reforms Act (KLR Act) came in to force in the year 1964. In the national level the major objective of Land Reforms have been the re-ordering of agrarian relations in order to achieve an egalitarian social structure. Elimination of exploitation in land relations, realising the age old goal of land to the tiller, enlarging the land base of the rural poor, increasing agricultural productivity and infusing an element of equality in local institutions are some of the other major objectives of Land Reforms.
With a view to achieve the said objectives KLR Act imposes certain restrictions on ownership and possession of landed properties in the State of Kerala. There is what is commonly known as ‘ceiling’ on the total extent of land that a “person” can hold. The word “Person” in this context means and include a Company, family, joint family, association or other body of individuals, whether incorporated or not, and any institution capable of owning property.
In the case of an adult unmarried person or a family consisting of a sole surviving member the ceiling limit is five standard acres subject to a maximum of seven and a half acres. A family consisting of two or more but not more than five members can hold ten standard acres and up to a maximum of fifteen acres. A family consisting of more than ten members the limit is ten standard acres increased by one standard acre for each member in excess of five and the maximum limit is twenty acres. In the case of any other person including a Trust, Company, body of individuals etc the limit is ten standard acres subject to a maximum of fifteen acres.
The term ‘standard acre’ is determined based on the nature of the cultivation in a particular land and it slightly varies from District to District .In the case of garden land principally used for growing coconut trees one acre is treated one standard acre. But in the case of land principally used for growing arecanut trees ½ Acre ( 50 cents) is treated as one standard acre. On the other hand in the case of land used principally for growing pepper vines 3.50 acres is treated as one standard acre. In the case of dry land principally cultivated with cashew two acres is one standard acre. In the case of other dry land 2.50 acres is treated as one standard acre. In the case of palliyal land ( land used to raise paddy seedlings) 3 acres is one standard acre.
There are however exceptions to the above rules. The principal exceptions are Plantations, Private Forests, Government lands, house sites, commercial sites, lands owned by Mosque Temples, Universities, Public Trusts etc. In order to qualify for exemption it is to be proved that a particular plantation was in existence prior to the promulgation of KLR Act on 01.04.1964. Rubber, Tea, and Cardamom are the principal plantations that are exempted from ceiling limits.
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