Civil Law

Restoration Provisions under CNT Act,


The Chota Nagpur Tenancy (CNT) Act was enacted in the year 1908 to govern land issues and to prevent land alienation. At the time of enactment, the act wasapplicable within the territory of North Chota Nagpur Division, South Chota Nagpur Division and Palamu Division. Whereas, Municipal Areas  and notified area committees of the territory were excluded from applicability of the Act. Whereas applicability of CNT Act. was extended to Municipal Areas by CNT (Amendment) Act 1981 (45 of 1982).

Restrictive provision under CNT Act. –

Transfer of land belonging to Scheduled Tribes/Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes is restricted under the provisions ofSection 46 of The Chota Nagpur Tenancy (CNT) Act. However, a tribal may transfer his/their land through sale, exchange, gift or will only to a Scheduled Tribe member who is resident within the police station in which the land is situated. Similarly, the member of Scheduled Caste and Backward Class can transfer land to members of their own community within the limits of the district in which the land is located, with prior permission of the Deputy Commissioner.

Provision to restore possession – Limitation –

  1. Under Sec. 46(4-A) of CNT Act –Maximum Period of limitation for restoration of land to Scheduled Tribes member, u/s 46(4-A) is 12 years (not 30 years). Raiyat, who has transferred his land, has right to file application for restoration before the Deputy Commissioner within the maximum period of twelve years on and from the date of transfer of their land.No such application shall be entertained by the Deputy Commissioner unless it is filed within a period of twelve years from the date of transfer of his holding. {Suraj Deo Singh vs Commissioner, North Chotanagpur Division, 1993 )1) PLJR 473}.-(Page 42 of CNT Act)

It is also settled in the case of Abdul RazzakVs Commissioner SouthChotanagpur Division, 1997 (1)BLJR168 – application filed after the expiry of twelve years from the date of transfer is barred by limitation. -(Page 43 of CNT Act)

  • Under Sec. 71-A of CNT Act  – Maximum Period of limitation for filing application by the member of Scheduled Tribes  for restoration is 30 years. Sec. 71–A of the Act has been brought under the statute by virtue of section 4 of Bihar Scheduled Areas Regulation, 1969. The provisions of Bihar Scheduled Areas Regulation, 1969 applies to the Scheduled Area only. Whereas provisions of Sec. 71-A are not applicable in Non-Scheduled areas within the state of  Jharkhand.
  • Judgment passed in the case of Bulaki Ram V Jatru Mahali & others 2004 (4) JCR 508 (Jhr);  Hazaribagh is not within Scheduled Area under order 1950. Period of 12 year limitation shall continue to be operative in area other than the Scheduled Area per mandates contained under Section 46(4-1) of the Act;   -(Page 43 of CNT Act)
  • Lalji Mahato & others V State of Bihar through commissioner North Chotanagpur Division and others, 2004(3) JCR 652 (JHR)- No application shall be entertained unless filed within the period 12 years.-(Page 44 of CNT Act)-

Application of Res- Judicata – the provision of Section 11, CPC is also applicable in Section 46(A-4), previous order will operate as ‘Res- Judicata’ in subsequent proceeding –  Ram Charan Mahato& others vs. State of Bihar, 1998 (1) PLJR 849.

Concluding the matter, period of limitation for filing application for restoration of land is 12 years. Whereas if the property is situated within  Scheduled Area, as defined under The Bihar Schedule Area Regulation, the period of said limitation is 30 years. These provisions are applicable to Scheduled Tribes within the North Chota Nagpur, South Chota Nagpur and Palamu Divisions in Jharkhand State.