Critically examine the circumstances in which Zamindari Abolition Acts were passed in newly independent India throwing light on the outcomes of the enactments.
When the exploitation of Zamindars on peasants increased and government failed to frame the policies for peasants’ savior. There came a need to abolish the Zamindari system. However, the process of passing Zamindari abolition bills had started even when the constitution of India was not enacted. A number of provinces such as United Provinces (UP), Central Provinces, Bihar, Madras, Assam, and Bombay had introduced such bills on the basis of a Zamindari Abolition committee, chaired by G.B. Pant. But, when constitution was passed; right to property was enshrined as fundamental right under article 19 and 31.So, when the act was passed, it received challenged in the court on account of their constitutional validity. The supreme court upheld the rights of Zamindars. To secure the constitutional validity of these state acts, the parliament passed first amendment (1951) within 15 months of enactment of the constitution and second amendment in 1955.However, by 1956, Zamindari abolition act was passed in many provinces.
With the passing of act, around 30 lakh tenants and share-croppers were able to acquire the ownership rights over a total cultivated area of 62 lakh acres throughout the country due to these acts. Also, the act took the first step towards the main objective behind abolition of Zamindari system, which was to reduce the existing inequalities in the system of landholding and to increase the agricultural productivity.
Topics: GS-III: Land Reforms in India