Salient Features of the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code, 1966


Land provides us with our basic necessities such as food, clothing and shelter. It has always been an important axis for economic activities necessary to sustain human life. No developmental activity is possible without taking land into consideration. Goods can be moved around but land is immovable. Hence, the capability of land to provide for space for production is limited. In the pre-independence era, land in India was owned by a few people. It was perceived that, to achieve social justice and development of the country, it is necessary to distribute the land among peasants. Thus, on the basis of this observation, various land reforms were initiated after independence and the Government enacted a number of Land reform legislations. In Maharashtra, the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code of 1966 governs the land revenue administration. While, the Maharashtra Regional Town Planning Act, 1966 regulates development control. Apart from this, there are various other legislations which are pertain to the land transaction and land revenue.

Land Revenue

Since olden times, the principle of ownership of all land of a state in the Political Sovereign or the King is accepted in India. ‘Sab Bhoomi Gopal Ki’ is a popular Hindi phrase connoting this idea. It was believed that the cultivator is a mere ‘occupant’ of the land who is liable to pay the land revenue levied and recovered for occupation and use of land. Principles of land revenue can be found in ancient and medieval literature such as Manusmriti by Manu and Kautilya Arthashastra by Chanakya. In Maharashtra, the Wazeer of Nizamshah of Ahmednagar had established a system of survey of the land, and assessment and recovery of land revenue based on the percentage of average yield of the said lands. Prior to the British rule, various Watans, Inams, Jagirs, Saranjams were given by the then Sovereign providing for total or partial exemption from the liability to pay land revenue. Further, the British took forward this concept. Along with the collection of land revenue, they also provided for survey of land and maintaining land records.

Earlier, the Bombay Land Revenue Code, 1879 was a comprehensive legislation dealing with land revenue administration in the then Bombay Province. It was later repealed and replaced by the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code, 1966 on 15th August 1967.

Section 2 (19) of the Act defines Land Revenue as all the monetary sums and payments received or legally claimable by or on behalf of the State Government from any person on account of any land or interest in land or right exercisable over land or vested in him under the provisions of law.

Salient Features of the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code

In the State of Maharashtra, the law relating to land and land revenue is codified and consolidated in the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code, 1966. This Act extends to the whole of the State of Maharashtra. According to preliminary Section 1(2), the provisions of Chapters III (except the provisions relating to encroachment on land), IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII (except section 242) and XVI (except the sections 327, 329, 330, 1[330A], 335, 336 and 337) shall not apply to the City of Bombay.

The Act came into force on 15th August 1967 and has regularly been amended since its enactment. After its commencement this Act has repealed 7 earlier enactments including the Bombay City Land Revenue Act, 1876; The Bombay Land Revenue Code, 1879; The Bombay City Survey Act, 1915; etc.   The Act consists of around 337 sections which are further divided into 16 Chapters. The Act contains 10 Schedules.

The Maharashtra Land Revenue Code, 1966 makes provisions for the following –

  1. Appointment of Revenue Officers, their powers and duties (Chapter II- Sections 5-19)
  2. Grant, Use, Encroachment and Relinquishment of Land (Chapter III- Sections 20-63)
  3. Assessment and Settlement of Land Revenue of Agricultural as well as Non-Agricultural Lands (Chapter VI and VII- Sections 90-107 and Sections 108-120 respectively)
  4. Revenue Surveys (Chapter V- Sections 79-89)
  5. Fixation and Demarcation of Boundary and Boundary Marks (Chapter IX- Sections 132-146)
  6. Land Records (Chapter X- Sections 147-167)
  7. Realisation of Land Revenue and Other Revenue Demands (Chapter IX- Sections 168-223)
  8. Procedure of Revenue Officers (Chapter XII- Sections 224-245)
  9. Appeals, Revision and Review; and (Chapter XIII- Sections 246-259)
  10. Constitution and composition Revenue Tribunal

Under Chapter XIV, the act also contains certain special provisions for Land Revenue in the City of Bombay (Sections 260 to 307).

Apart from this, there is a total of 35 rules framed under the Act dealing with the various aspects of Land revenue. There are 5 land revenue manuals and more than 24 allied acts relating to the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code.

In the case of Hari Constructions v. State of Maharashtra (1995), the Bombay High Court held that the primary object of the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code is revenue administration i.e. to assess, charge and collect revenue including the penalty on account of illegal extraction of minor minerals vested in State Government. For the purposes of assessing, charging and collecting revenue, the Act provides for the appointment of certain officials known as ‘Revenue Officers.‘ These Revenue Officers are in charge of certain revenue divisions.

The Government has divided the State into certain ‘Revenue Areas’ for the purpose of revenue administration. The State is divided into 6 divisions and 36 districts. Each division is divided into sub-divisions or districts in view of administrative convenience. Each district may consist of one or more sub-divisions and each sub- division may consist of 4 to 5 talukas. Further, these talukas are subdivided into revenue circles and sazas. A group of villages constitute a Saza.

These are the 6 Administrative Divisions– Vidarbha (Nagpur Division), Vidarbha (Amravati Division), Marathwada (Aurangabad Division), Konkan (Konkan Division), Khandesh (Nashik Division), and Western Maharashtra (Pune Division).

Hence, by providing a hierarchy in terms of revenue areas and the corresponding revenue officers, it can be noted that the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code provides for a systematic and organized functioning of land revenue administration


Land law is an important facet of Property Law. Land is an indispensable part of the human life. It is the locus of all economic and developmental activities of man. Land revenue is a basic and old concept of land law which encompasses all monetary sums received or which are legally claimable by the State on account of land or an interest or right over that land. In India, there have been numerous land reforms after independence. Hence, the legislations have also undergone a lot of changes. In Maharashtra, the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code of 1966 deals with the domain of Land revenue regulation and administration. It is a comprehensive legislation which enshrines an array of provisions relating to the same.



[2] ‘Revenue Officers’, Studocu


[4] Sachin Kalantare, Presentation on ‘MAHARASHTRA LAND REVENUE CODE, 1966’

[5] A. K .Gupte and Dighe, ‘The Maharashtra Land Revenue Code, 1966,’ Hind Law House, Pune

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