For the last one-and-a-half years, the Maharashtra Revenue Tribunal (MRT) has no presiding officer. In the absence of the officer, the litigants have no choice but to approach the Bombay high court, thus adding to its workload. Also, the process is delaying the resolution of the problems of the tenants.
The MRT deals with disputes relating to farmers, tenants and landlord. A presiding officer who is a retired high court judge helps in settling the disputes at the MRT. The Bombay high court has received several petitions seeking the appointment of a presiding officer to the MRT. “The absence of a presiding officer is adding burden on the high court,” said advocate Rahul Thakur.
Thakur has filed at least seven petitions on behalf of farmers allegedly evicted from their land by landlords. A case in point for the inconvenience caused to the farmers could be Atmaram Patil. According to a petition filed by Patil, 55, a farmer from Panvel, a former landlord grabbed his two-acre land. Patil’s family has been tilling the land since 1880s.
They paid the purchase price and bought the land in 1986. The agricultural land tribunal declared the Patils as the owners and issued a certificate to that effect.
Claiming to be the landlord, Maniklal Munot, challenged the order issued by the tribunal, before the collector, in 2011, states the petition. The collector reversed the order of the tribunal declaring Munot as the owner.
Patil, then, filed an appeal before the MRT challenging the collector’s order. “As there is no presiding officer, we have approached the high court for urgent relief,” he added.