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The Tamil Nadu Land Reforms (Fixation of Ceiling on Land) Act, 1961 (Tamil Nadu Act 58/61) was enacted with a view to reduce the disparity in the ownership of the agricultural land and concentration of such land with certain persons and to distribute such land among the landless poor.
The Tamil Nadu Land Reforms (Fixation of Ceiling on Land) Act, 1961 came into effect on the 6th day of April, 1960, wherein the ceiling area for a family consisting of five members had been fixed as 30 standard acres. For every additional member of the family consisting of more than five members, an additional extent of 5 standard acres was allowed in addition to the ceiling area of 30 standard acres, subject to the overall ceiling of 60 standard acres. As on the date of the commencement of the Act (i.e.) 6.4.60, any female member of the family having lands in her own name, will be entitled to hold stridhana property upto a ceiling of 10 standard acres. The notified date of the said Act was 02.10.1962. The reference date for holding of land was as on 06.04.1960.
With a view to increase the number of beneficiaries by acquisition of the agricultural lands held by the big landowners in excess of the ceiling area and for the distribution of such lands to the landless and other rural poor, reduction of ceiling on land was introduced in the year 1970, by amending the Parent Act, by the Act 17/70 to the effect that the ceiling area fixed earlier at 30 standard acres has been reduced to 15 standard acres. The notified date of the Act was 02.10.1970. The reference date for holding of land was as on 15.02.1970.
It may be seen from the Parent Act, that exemptions were granted under the Principal Act for the lands grown with sugarcane and the lands used exclusively for grazing purposes. With a view to achieve the object of distribution of ceiling surplus lands to the landless and rural poor, the exemption granted under the Principal Act (Tamil Nadu Act 58/61) for lands grown with sugarcane and grazing lands were ordered to be withdrawn byamended Act, 41/71 with effect from 15.01.1972.
The overall ceiling area of 60 standard acres, as fixed under the Parent Act, 58/61 has been refixed at 40 standard acres through an amended Act called the Tamil Nadu Land Reforms (Fixation of Ceiling on Land) Second Amendment Act, 1971 (Tamil Nadu Act 20/72). This Act also came into effect from 01.03.1972.
Subsequently, by another amended Act, viz., Tamil Nadu Land Reforms (Fixation of Ceiling on Land) Fourth Amendment Act, 1972 (Tamil Nadu Act 39/72), the overall ceiling limit was further reduced from 40 standard acres to 30 standard acres. This Act also came into effect on the 1st day of March 1972. Even though the Trusts were not attracted by the provisions of the Parent Act, 58/61, ceiling limit has been fixed for the Trusts through Tamil Nadu Land Reforms(Fixation of Ceiling on Land) Third Amendment Act, 1971 (Tamil Nadu Act 37/72) according to the character of the Trusts. To sum up, as on date, 30 standard acres of land is the maximum extent of land that a family can hold in the State.