Punjab Land Revenue (Amendment) Act 2015 amends Sections 24 and 141 of the Land Revenue (Amendment) Act 2012:
Section 24. Mode of service of summons.
(1) A summons issued by a Revenue Officer shall, if practicable, be served (a) personally on the person to whom it is addressed or, failing him, (b) on his authorised agent or (c) an adult male member of his family usually residing with him.
(4) A summons may, if the Revenue Officer so directs be served on the person named therein, either in addition to, or in substitution for, any other mode of service by forwarding the summons by registered post to the person concerned.
(5) When a summons is forwarded as aforesaid, the Revenue Officer may presume that the summons was served at the time when the letter would be delivered in the ordinary course of post.
In clause (c), “adult male” has been changed to “adult”. In subsections (4) and (5), changes have been made to allow for electronic means of communication.
Section 141. Disposal of questions as to title in the property to be divided.
(1) If a question of title in the holding is raised in the partition proceedings, the Revenue Officer shall inquire into the substance of such question.
(2) If as a result of the inquiry, the Revenue Officer is of the opinion that the question of title raised in a partition proceedings–
(a) is well founded, he may, for reasons to be recorded, require a party specified by him to file a suit in the competent court, within such period not exceeding thirty days from the date of his order, for obtaining a decision regarding the question; or
(b) is not well founded, he shall proceed with the partition of the holding.
(3) In case the suit is filed under subsection (2), the Revenue Officer shall suspend further action on the partition proceedings till the decision of the suit and submission before him the order or decree of the Court.
(4) In case the suit is not filed within the specified period, the Revenue Officer shall proceed to decide the question of title and on that basis, the partition of the holding.
(5) Where the Revenue Officer himself proceeds to determine the question, the following rules shall apply, namely:- (a)…(e).
This section has been substituted with the following:
“141. Question of title of holding – If a question of title in the holding is raised in the partition proceedings, the Revenue Officer shall inquire into the substance of such question and decide the matter after hearing the parties”.
The succeeding subsections (2) to (5) have been done away with, as the parties concerned are no longer required to file suit.
Together with the Punjab Land Revenue (Amendment) Act 2015, this amendment ensures that the litigation is facilitated and conducted without discrimination to women. The Revenue Officer is now required by law to decide the question of the partition of the property himself after the Inheritance Mutation (Intiqal), instead of requiring a party to file civil suit. This will curtail the practice of making women give up their land ownership in favour of the male heirs. A further change allows the inclusion of using electronic means and devices as valid modes of serving the summons.