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Land Survey Tribunal, Cases and Proper Court Fees

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21st-Jan-2017       
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Faruque Ahmed :
1.That the Land Survey Cases have been filed with fixed court-fees amounting to Taka 300 as per provision of Clause (i) of Section 12 of the schedule 11 of the court-fees (Amendment) Act, 2010 (Act No.-XLV of 2010).
2. But the learned judges of the some Land Survey Tribunals have been directing the petitioners of the land survey cases to pay court-fees amounting to Taka 1,000. They also directing to pay arrear court-fees of pending cases as per provision of Clause (ii) of Section-12 of the, schedule II of the court-fees (Amendment) Act, 2010.
3. Clause (ii) of Section-12 of the schedule II of the court-fees (Amendment) Act, 2010 provides thus-(II) "to alter or cancel any entry in a register of the names of proprietors of revenue paying estates" ..... Tk. 1,000.
4. (A) The word 'estate' as used in Clause (ii) of Section 12 of the schedule II of the court-fees (Amendment) Act, 2010 has been defined in Section 2(II) The State Acquisition & Tenancy Act 1950 (herein after called as Act) "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 mahals and revenue-free lands not entered in any register; and also includes the following in the district of Sylhet-
(i) any land subject either immediately or prospectively to the payment of land-revenue for the discharge of which as separate engagement has been entered into;
(ii) any land subject to the payment of, or assessed with, a separate amount as land revenue although no engagement has been entered into with the Government for that amounts;
(iii) any land which is, for the time being, included under one entry in the Deputy Commissioner's register of revenue-free estates as well as revenue-free lands which are not so included in such register;
(B) The word "Land" has been defined in Section 2(16) of the Act "Land" means land which is cultivated, uncultivated or covered with water at any time of the year, and includes [benefits to arise of land] houses or buildings and also things attached to the earth, or permanently fastened to anything attached to the earth;
(C) The word "Rent" has 'been defined in Section 2(22) of the Act "rent" means whatever is lawfully payable or deliverable in money or kind by tenant to his landlord on account of the use or occupation of the land held by the tenant.
(D) The word "proprietor" has been defined in Section 2(20) of the Act "proprietor" means a person owning, whether in trust or for his own benefit, an estate or part an estate.
(E) Moreso, the word 'Estate' means land included under a distinct number of the Touzi or revenue-roll of the collector with a separate revenue assessed upon it, it will come under the definition of "estate" not withstanding that it comprises undivided share in certain villages [Ref: 29 Cal, 290 & SA & T. Act, 1950 4th Edition, 2007 (DLR Publication) Page- 13.]
(F) the word 'proprietor' within the meaning of "rent receiver" includes Mutawalli. According to Clause (23) of Section-2, "rent-receiver", means "proprietor" according to Clause 20 of Section 2, "Proprietor" means- a person owning, whether in trust or for his own benefit, an estate or, part of an estate. Ref: 8 DLR, Page- 457.
(G) The word "Malik" is absent in the Act. But 'Malik' has been defined in a case-law thus Malik-whether a Malik is a rent receiver. A 'Malik' means a proprietor. A malik is not a necessarily a rent-receiver of rent. Therefore, it can not be said that, just because a transferor is a Malik in respect of part of the transferred land, he is rent-receiver. Ref: 18 DLR, Page-666.
5. The word "proprietors" & "estate" as used in Clause (ii) of Section-12 of the court-fees (Amendment) Act, 2010 have a broad meaning and meant for certainly the then "Rent-receiver" i.e. landlords and the "estates" means- "land" included under one entry in any of the general registers of revenue-paying lands & revenue free lands, prepared and maintained under the law of the time being in force by the collector of a district, and includes government khas mahals and revenue-free land, not entered in any register, . . . .
6. In land survey cases, an aggrieved "Malik" of a particular "land" or "Piece of land" as defined in Section-2(l6) of the Ain, comes before the Land Survey Tribunal for correction of last revised record of right. So, he/they and his/their "land" cannot be termed in the category of "proprietors" or "estates" respectively and as such he/they (Malik) can not be compelled to pay court-fees amounting to Tk. 1,000 as required in Clause (ii) of the Section-12 of the court-fees (Amendment) Act, 2010. Which became infractious automatically since abolishing of the Zamindari system under Section 3 of the SAT Act, 1950.
7. Moreso, I do not find any where of Court-Fees Act, whether advalorem or Fixed court fees shall have to be paid in a suit for correction of the record of-rights. In this respect Article 12 (viii) of Schedule II to the Act provides that upon plaint in suits every other suit where it is not possible to estimate at a money value the subject-matter in dispute and which is not otherwise provided for by this Act fixed court fees of Taka 300 shall have to be paid. Decision may be referred to that Court Fees Act is a fiscal law and should interpreted in favour of a litigant. Ref: 8 BLD, Para-60.
8. Under such an extenuating circumstances, in absence of specific RULE, under the parent law, the concern authority is to make necessary directives or issue circular at once clarifying the appropriate court-fees which is to be paid in connection with the Land Survey Tribunal cases in the light of the prevailing law as mentioned in the body of the topic considering the benefit of the litigant as a matter of public importance.
Advocate, District Judge's Court, Habiganj

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