Revenue courts to summon parties through  SMS, WhatsApp & E-mail, Legislation tabled in the Himachal Assembly

Himachal Pradesh Government today tabled new revenue legislation to amend the HP Revenue Act 1954 to make all the revenue cases time-bound to end the decades-old practice of snail-faced disposal of such services.
Tabling the bill in the house, the Revenue Minister stated that legislation was brought with the purpose of regulating the cases of revenue, titles, and rights of people related to land.  He said that during the last few decades, a lot of changes have occurred in the socio, political, economic, and technological arena which has a direct bearing on the revenue governance system.  In order to meet the changing needs of the public at large, it has become essential to update the relevant provisions of this Act. 

 The Act requires changes to make it more effective and to address the difficulties and problems being faced by the people due to delays in the disposal of revenue cases.  The Minister said that the large pendency of revenue cases is tarnishing the image of the justice delivery system.  

Presently, there is no time period fixed for the disposal of the revenue cases in the existing provisions of the Act.  In many revenue courts, the number of cases instituted is much higher than the number of cases disposed of for a particular time period causing a constant rise in the pendency of the cases.  

The bill addresses the problem of delay in the decision of cases by making a time limit for deciding the cases by the Revenue Officers. The minister said in the revenue court that most of the revenue matters are stuck on account of delays in proper service upon the parties. 

The legislation also ensures quick and proper service of summons, the provisions of electronic mode of summoning and summoning upon any adult members of the family of the addressee have been proposed.  The mutation of the rights acquired by any person requires a public hearing despite the fact that most such acquisitions of rights are undisputed. 

To expedite the process of mutation proceedings, the concept of public notice for inviting objection is required to be introduced. The Procedure of land revenue assessment is lengthy and cumbersome, which causes an undue delay in completing the process of revised settlement.  The land revenue is quite nominal and could not be enhanced beyond a prescribed limit even after following a detailed time-consuming procedure for its assessment.  

The bill also provides for the charging of lump sum land revenue on the basis of revenue assessed during the last settlement.  The Bill proposed the amendment in 14 sections of the HP Revenue Act 1954 and inserted three new sections. Sec 17 -A proposed disposal of appeal, review, and revision by the collector, commissioner, and financial commissioner shall be decided within a period of four years. 

The revenue officer for investigation officer after hearing the parties should furnish a report within two months.

The Summons may if the revenue officer of direct be served on the person named therein either in addition to or in substitution for any other mode of service of summon through SMS, Whatsapp, Electronic Mail(e-mail), or through other electronic mode at the phone number or electronic mail address. 

The applicants or appellants should provide proof to the satisfaction of the Revenue Officer of the genuineness of the phone or electronic mail address being that of the recipient and the confirmed delivery report on the mail. The Applicant and appellants should provide proof regarding the phone number and mail. 

The Revenue Officer should invite the objections for finalisation of mutation of acquisitions of right in case of no objections RO should pass an order as may deem fit. RO shall decide the proceedings of defining the boundaries within two months from the date of filing of the application. If RO fails to submit the report within two months he has to cite reasons for such delay. Section 138(A) ensures the time limit for the decision of partition cases would be within six months from the date of applications. It could be extended to three months by providing the reason to be recorded in writing. Under the legislation, the RV description of the fine may be extended to fifty rupees. The house is likely to discuss and approve the legislation tomorrow 

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