Mutation Proceedings, Khasra & Khatauni Simplified & Explained

Mutation proceedings or what is commonly referred to as “daakhil kharij”(especially in Uttar Pradesh & Uttarakhand) is a process which is mired with several misconceptions, wrong information and gross manipulation by the authorities. Of the several misconceptions and cause of confusion are the terms Mutation, Khasra and Khatauni.

The most important terms of the three, however, is mutation, which literally just means “change”. Whenever there is a change in the possession of land (and not just change in the ownership), the mutation proceedings start and the name of the person previously in possession is struck-off and the name of the person now in possession is replaced.
Section 34 of the U.P. Land Revenue Act, 1901 (“LRA”) requires that every change in the possession is to be reported. It is pertinent to note that the report of succession or transfer under Section 34 of the LRA requires the following[1]:1.     An affidavit by the transferee, in the case of sale or gift, that the transfer does not contravene the provisions of Section 154 of the UPZALR 2.The name of the village where the land has been acquired;3.     The name, parentage and residence of the acquirer and the seller;4.     Description of the right and the manner in which it has been acquired; and5.     The rent on which the right has been acquired.
The report, with the aforementioned, may be presented to the Tehsildar or sent to him by post.[2] No application for mutation of name is required. Only a report should be made and the report is not required to be stamped.[3]
Para 911 of the Revenue Manual clearly states that mutation proceedings are judicial, however, it is extremely pertinent to note that mutation proceedings and revenue record are not documents of ownership or title.[4]  Mutation proceedings and specifically khatauni  are records of possession and not of ownership. The reason for mutation is for the purposes of assessment and payment of revenue. However, all entries in the village map, field book (Khasra) and annual register (Khatauni) prepared are presumed to be true, until the contrary is proved.
While mutation proceedings with respect to land falling outside municipal limits are governed by the LRA, ownership or transfer of land falling within municipal limits is governed by the relevant Municipal Corporation or Nagar Palika and hence mutation of such lands is done at the Municipal Corporation/Nagar Palika for the assessment of house tax etc.
 is the detailed description of fields which are shown in the map (also known as naksha or shajra), which is prepared by the Lekhpal.[5] It is prepared and maintained year-wise. Changes in the boundaries of the fields and the facts required for purpose of the khatauni are entered in the khasra. Khasra itself is not a record-of-rights, but it is the foundation of the record-of-rights and the source for all agricultural statistics. It contains all agricultural facts, such as crops, irrigation, etc. and all facts required for the preparation of the Khatauni, such as, the names of the tenure-holders. Its correct preparation, therefore, is of paramount importance.
(Record of Rights)
 is a register of persons cultivating or otherwise occupying land.[6] Whenever there is any change in the possession of the land whether by succession or transfer or otherwise, the change is recorded in the khatauni by way of “mutation proceedings” within 3 months of such succession or transfer.[7] The word khatauni does not find mention anywhere in the U.P. Land Revenue Act but the annual register mentioned in Section 33 of the LRA is none other than the khatauni, which contains 13 columns and the name of the tenure-holder, father’s name and residence alongwith duration of occupancy, amount of revenue or rent etc., which are not present in any other record or paper.
Thus, once a transfer has been affected through a duly registered document at the office of the Registrar or Sub-Registrar, mutation proceedings are then started at the Tehsil or the Municipal Corporation/Nagar Palika to reflect the change in possession.

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