Kerala Govt Land Assignment Amendment Bill passed; construction to be allowed on title lands

Kerala Assembly. Photo: Manorama

The Legislative Assembly has unanimously passed the Kerala Government Land Assignment (Amendment) Bill, 2023, which enables the sanctioning of constructions and related activities on title land. Until now, the lands assigned under the Kerala Government Land Assignment Act, 1960, could be used only for agricultural purposes, construction of houses and public roads. The amendment is aimed at regularising constructions carried out by common people in contravention of those conditions and to enable the use of lands for other purposes.

When the rules framed under the existing law are amended, constructions including party offices and resorts which were built in violation of the conditions could be regularised. The amendment was aimed at incorporating a new section that empowers the government to change the rules as necessary for achieving this purpose. The rules governing land assignment will also be changed.

The government introduced the Kerala Government Land Assignment (Amendment) Bill, 2023, in the Assembly and passed it, taking into consideration the decades-long demand of the people of Idukki district. The government also took into account the fact that under the Supreme Court’s interim orders of 2020, a situation of a total prohibition on construction had arisen in the Idukki district.

Differential fees; exemptions for public buildings
The government is planning to charge lower fees for regularising buildings measuring up to 2,500 square feet and to impose higher fees for constructions that exceed this. All these will be spelt out in the rules and conditions for regularisation that will be framed soon. 

Public buildings will be given special consideration for regularisation. The government is planning to exempt educational establishments, factories, commercial centres, religious, tourist, or cultural establishments, constructions meant for public use such as offices of political parties, government establishments, clinics/health centres, judicial forums, bus stands, roads, and private establishments that are used in common by the public. 

Government empowered to regularise violations

  • Under the amendment, Sub Section A(1) of Section 4 of the law empowers the government to regularise existing violations of the law. 
  • Sub Section A(2) of Section 4 has been included to grant permission to the assignee for the use of land for other purposes even though the assignee has not violated the conditions at the relevant time. This concession has been restricted to title deeds which were issued before the amended law came into force. The government is expected to define the conditions for this purpose.
  • Sub Sections 7(1) (AO), 7(1) (OB) were incorporated into Section 7(1) which governs the framing of the relevant rules and conditions.
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