Gender and Land Rights Database

Nepal

Land Legislation

At present, Nepal’s legal framework contains 62 land-related statutes. For more coherence, clarity and efficiency, and to address the currents overlaps in the legal framework, these statutes should be integrated into a single comprehensive instrument (39).

The Land Revenue Act, 2034 (1978)

- Section 2: defines Public land and Government land 

- Sections 3 and 10: creation of a Land Revenue Office in each District for the purpose of recovering land revenue in accordance with the government of Nepal’s annual Fiscal Act

- Sections 24 and 26:  prohibits the registration and cultivation – without prior approval by the prescribed committee – of any such land by private individuals. 

 

The Muluki Ain, 2020 (1962)

- The chapter on the Registration of Deeds Number 29 allows an execution of a legal deed

- The chapter on Adal (Decency) Number 2 prohibits land transfers to a foreign national

 

The Lands Act, 1964:

- Section 2(a): defines a "Landowner" as a person who has the land registered in his/her name, subject to the payment of land revenue to the Government of Nepal and who has, by virtue thereof, the title to the land

- Section 2(b): defines a ‘tenant’, as a person (a peasant) who holds the land that belongs to another landowner to till the same on any terms and who cultivates the land by him/herself or his/her family's labour. The landowner can give the land to the tenant and any other person for any other purpose but a tenant is supposed to rely on his/her family to cultivate the land

- Sections 7(1) and 8: Set the maximum area of land, which any person may hold or cultivate in the capacity of landowner or tenant. The land acquired in excess of the area permitted shall be confiscated by the Government according to the procedure set out by the Act. 

- Section 21: The authority shall sell or re-allocate the land acquired. Land shall be registered in the name of the recipient in the capacity of landowner.

- Sections 25(1) and 26(1): recognises tenancy rights to use the land and to devolve it to a family member that the landowner trusts

- Section 26(b): Landlords are required to notify the authority when giving land to tenants. The agreement is to be recorded in the register.

- Upon the tenant’s death, tenancy rights accrue to the tenants’ wife/husband, son or whoever is trusted by the landowner.

- Section 26A: Tenancy rights may not be purchased or acquired through donations, gift or otherwise.

- Section 27: If the landowner wants to resume the land for use as homestead, the local authority may issue permission, provided that the tenant receives compensation amounting to 25 percent of the value of the land at the rates (25).

- Section 33: Establishes that “the landowner shall not share the produce or fix and collect rents in excess of half of the main annual crop grown on the land”, except for Kathmandu Valley, for which rent rates are expressly stated.

- Section 40: Every landowner and tenant shall make compulsory savings from the main annual crop (25).

The Lands Act has been amended six times. Significant changes were introduced the fourth and the fifth amendments:

- The Fourth Amendment of the Lands Act, 1997 made a provision of allocating 50 percent of the land cultivated by a tenant between the tenant and the land owners to ensure that the tenants become the owners of cultivated land. Also, a provision was made to provide credit facilities to the tenant should s/he be interested in buying the owners’ share (13).

- The Fifth Amendment of the Lands Act, 2001 reduced the ceilings by about 61 percent in Terai region, 22 percent in hill and 48 percent in Kathmandu Valley, while retaining the provision of the Fourth amendment (13).

 

The Land Rules, 1964, consolidated in 1984:

- These are the regulations that implement the 1964 Lands Act. They have been amended several times and consolidated in 1984.

- The District Land Reform Officer designated by the Government may appoint several land reform teams “for the purpose of collecting records of owner-cultivators as well as of tenants cultivating lands owned by others”, as provided for by Chapter 2. 

- Section 11A states that a committee is established for the purpose of granting tenancy rights to genuine tenants. Said Committee shall be in charge of receiving any complaint and conduct the necessary investigations.

- Sections 14-15: The District Land Reform Officer shall acquire tenancy rights of lands in excess of the prescribed ceilings. The Government may decide to pay a compensation determined at 25 percent of the value of the land. Tenancy rights acquired either after eviction or in case of excess of the prescribed ceilings may be sold or re-allotted by the District Land Reform Officer. In such case, the compensation to the previous tenant shall be paid in cash in one lump sum or in a maximum of five instalments.

- Section 26 establishes the rates of compulsory savings to be deposited by the landowner.

- Section 28A provides for the establishment of village and town committees are to be established; these may obtain loans from the Agriculture Development Bank.

- Section 33: The amount collected from compulsory savings and recovery of agricultural loans shall be utilized for the supply of credit to peasants (25).

 

The Land Survey and Measurement Act, 1962 as amended in 1989, 1992:

- Section 3 states that the Government may issue orders for purposes of land measurement by the authority prescribed by rules made under the present Act.

- Section 4(5): Land owners cultivating lands, except public and forest lands, under customary possession may request registration even without having any evidences of entitlement. If no complaints are filed, registration in the name of the applicant is done.

- Section 4(5)(a): If house or compound is possessed and used by an individual continuously for 15 years with some unofficial evidences and no dispute, it is entitled to be registered as property.

- Section 8: After survey, measurement and registration, the authority shall issue a certificate of registration (25).

 

The Immovable Property Requisition Act, 2013 (1956)

- Section 3(1): authorises the government to requisition immovable property, (ie. land and permanent structure attached to land) for public purposes 

 

The Land Acquisition Act, 1977

- Did not repeal the Immovable Property Requisition Act, 2013 (1956) and created overlaps between the two Acts (39). 

- Section 3: The Government may acquire any land at any place for any public purpose, by paying necessary compensation to the landowner (25). 

 

The  Land Revenue Act, 1997 organizes the collection of land revenue from the cultivable land. Section 3 makes arrangement to establish land revenue offices in districts. The land administration offices and land administrators carry out the functions prescribed in the Land Reform Act, 1964. District Land Revenue Offices (DLRO) are assigned the responsibility to register the lands (26).

Sources: numbers in brackets (*) refer to sources displayed in the Bibliography