Family members fighting over ancestral land often find themselves embroiled in legal disputes, and end up in revenue courts or in civil courts. Several of these cases are property disputes between brothers and sisters.
On paper, daughters have equal rights to their parent’s properties but in many cases, their brothers try to deny them those rights. In many cases, daughters are asked to legally give up their claims on land. Called hakkashod patras, women are asked to sign such documents before their marriage. These documents end up being challenged in civil courts.
In order to solve such cases without going through protracted legal battles, Ayush Prasad, sub-divisional magistrate of Khed (Pune), has outlined a two-round mediation programme that will aim to tackle the problem at the village level itself. The initiative has been undertaken to reduce pendency in revenue courts, said Prasad.
“Of the 700 cases pending before the SDM’s court in Khed, around 10 per cent, 68 cases, are of this nature,” he said.
The two-round mediation scheme will see the involvement of village-level tantamukti samitis (councils for resolution of disputes) and a specialised team of experienced revenue officers at the tehsil level. “The village-level councillors will be trained to perform the task. At the tehshil level, the senior councillors will look into cases which remain unresolved at the village level,” he said.
The Bar Council has also been roped in to help in legal matters. The first such mediation will take place on December 25. “Around 10 retired tehshildars and naib tehshildars have been roped in to act as the second level of mediators,” said Prasad.
Earlier, a survey in Khed had revealed that there were around 110 such cases and in many cases, villagers travel long distances to attend the hearings before the revenue officials. “Our mediation will be well within the framework of the law. But we would like to get the matter resolved in an amicable manner,” said Prasad.