The Gujarat Distributed Area Act (Amendment) Bill 2019 has been assented by President Ram Nath Kovind. The amendments introduced are to prevent the transfer of the assets that are in distributed areas in the immovable property. The bill has introduced some amendments to the ‘Gujarat Prohibition of Transfer of Immovable Property and Provisions of Tenants from Eviction from Premises in Disturbed Areas Act, 991’, which popularly know as Disturbed Areas (DA) Act’.
Key Features of the Bill
- The key objective of the bill is to check elements that lead to the demographic imbalance. Also, it aims to stop polarisation.
- The sale of property in the distributed areas from one religious community to another religious community will be prohibited by the act.
- District collector can declare an area as disturbed area based on the history of the communal riots in a distributed area.
- As per the bill, for the transfer of assets approval of the district collector is mandatory.
Violation of the Act’s provisions
- If the property in a disturbed area is transferred without the approval of the district collector, the offender has to pay a fine of 1 lakh rupees or 10% of the value of the property.
- The offender can also be imprisoned for a period of 3 to 5 years for taking properties by illegal means in the notified disturbed areas.
- Earlier, the punishment for the violation of the Act was a fine of up to Rs. 10000 and imprisonment for 6 months.
About the Act and the Background
- The Act was first introduced in the year 1986 in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Due to the continuous and large scale communal riots in Ahmedabad, many areas started seeing distress sale of properties by a group of people.
- To check the distress sale of properties, the then Gujarat government introduced an ordinance. Later in 1991, the ordinance was converted into the Disturbed Areas (DA) Act.
- The act has been amended many times due to several complaints that were received by the government officials on the failure and legal loopholes in the provisions of the act.
Disturbed Areas in Gujarat
At present, the Disturbed Area Act in Gujarat applies to only certain regions of the state such as Godhra, Surat, Vadodara, Himmatnagar, Ahmedabad and Kapadvanj.