Section 147 CrPC: Dispute Concerning Right of Use of Land or Water

Section 147 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) is a crucial legal provision in India, dealing specifically with disputes over the right of use of land or water. This section provides a framework for addressing conflicts that arise when individuals or groups claim the right to use certain lands or water bodies. The resolution of such disputes is essential for maintaining public order and ensuring the equitable use of resources.

section 147 crpc
Bare Act. Section 147 Cr.P.C.
Dispute concerning right of use of land or water.


(1) Whenever an Executive Magistrate is satisfied from the report of a police officer or upon other information, that a dispute likely to cause a breach of the peace exists regarding any alleged right of user of any land or water within his local jurisdiction, whether such right be claimed as an easement or otherwise, he shall make an order in writing, stating the grounds of his being so satisfied and requiring the parties concerned in such dispute to attend his Court in person or by pleader on a specified date and time and to put in written statements of their respective claims.
Explanation.--The expression land or water has the meaning given to it in sub-section (2) of section 145.
(2) The Magistrate shall then persue the statements so put in, hear the parties, receive all such evidence as may be produced by them respectively, consider the effect of such evidence, take such further evidence, if any, as he thinks necessary and, if possible, decide whether such right exists; and the provisions of section 145 shall, so far as may be, apply in the case of such inquiry.
(3) If it appears to such Magistrate that such rights exist, he may make an order prohibiting any interference with the exercise of such right, including, in a proper case, an order for the removal of any obstruction in the exercise of any such right:
Provided that no such order shall be made where the right is exercisable at all times of the year, unless such right has been exercised within three months next before the receipt under sub-section (1) of the report of a police officer or other information leading to the institution of the inquiry, or where the right is exercisable only at particular seasons or on particular occasions, unless the right has been exercised during the last of such seasons or on the last of such occasions before such receipt.
(4) When in any proceedings commenced under sub-section (1) of section 145 the Magistrate finds that the dispute is as regards an alleged right of user of land or water, he may, after recording his reasons, continue with the proceedings as if they had been commenced under sub-section (1);
and when in any proceedings commenced under sub-section (1) the magistrate finds that the dispute should be dealt with under section 145, he may, after recording his reasons, continue with the proceedings as if they had been commenced under sub-section (1) of section 145.

STATE AMENDMENT
Maharashtra
Amendment of section 147 of Act 2 of 1974.--In section 147 of the said Code, in sub-section (1), for the words "Whenever an Executive Magistrate" the words "Whenever in Greater Bombay, a Metropolitan Magistrate and elsewhere in the State, an Executive Magistrate" shall be substituted.
[Vide Maharashtra Act 1 of 1978, s. 3]

Section 147 CrPC is designed to handle disputes relating to the right of use of any land or water, which are often contentious and can lead to larger conflicts. The section empowers magistrates to take preventive action to maintain peace and prevent imminent danger or injury to public tranquility.

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Legal Framework and Implications

Section 147 CrPC grants magistrates the authority to intervene in disputes where the right of use of land or water is in question. The magistrate’s role is to prevent breaches of peace and ensure that the rightful party is not deprived of their legal usage rights. This section is particularly invoked in rural areas where agricultural land and water rights are often sources of conflict.

Key Provisions

  1. Preliminary Order: When a magistrate receives information about a dispute over land or water use, they issue a preliminary order stating the nature of the dispute and requiring the parties to appear before them.
  2. Evidence Gathering: The magistrate then collects evidence from both parties to ascertain the facts of the case. This may include documents, witness testimonies, and other relevant information.
  3. Final Order: Based on the evidence, the magistrate issues a final order determining the rightful user of the land or water. This order is aimed at preventing any breach of peace.

Significance of Section 147 CrPC

The importance of Section 147 CrPC lies in its preventive nature. By resolving disputes at an early stage, it helps in averting potential conflicts that could escalate into violence or prolonged litigation. This section is a tool for maintaining harmony in communities where land and water are critical resources.

Procedure Under Section 147 CrPC

Initiation of Proceedings

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Proceedings under Section 147 CrPC are initiated when a magistrate receives information about a dispute concerning the right of use of land or water. The magistrate must be convinced that there is a likelihood of a breach of peace if the dispute is not resolved.

Preliminary Order and Evidence Collection

Upon initiating proceedings, the magistrate issues a preliminary order outlining the dispute and summoning the parties involved. Both parties are required to submit evidence supporting their claims. This evidence can include documents like land records, water usage agreements, and testimonies from witnesses.

Final Determination

After evaluating the evidence, the magistrate makes a final determination regarding the right of use of the land or water in question. This determination is based on the evidence presented and aims to ensure that the rightful party is allowed to exercise their usage rights without interference.

Appeal and Revision

Parties dissatisfied with the magistrate’s order can appeal to a higher court or seek revision. However, the primary aim of Section 147 CrPC is to provide a quick and effective resolution to prevent breaches of peace.

Practical Applications of Section 147 CrPC

Agricultural Disputes

In rural areas, disputes over agricultural land usage are common. Section 147 CrPC is frequently invoked to resolve such conflicts, ensuring that farmers can use their lands without obstruction and thus maintaining agricultural productivity and community harmony.

Water Rights Disputes

Water is a critical resource, and disputes over its use can have significant implications for communities. Section 147 CrPC helps in resolving such disputes, particularly in areas where water is scarce and vital for both domestic and agricultural purposes.

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Case Studies

Several case studies illustrate the effective application of Section 147 CrPC in resolving disputes. For example, in a village dispute over irrigation water, the magistrate’s intervention under Section 147 ensured that the water was distributed equitably, preventing potential violence and maintaining peace.

Legal Insights and Expert Opinions

Legal Experts on Section 147 CrPC

Legal experts emphasize the importance of Section 147 CrPC in maintaining public order. They note that this provision allows for timely intervention in disputes that could otherwise escalate, highlighting its role in the broader context of preventive justice.

Judicial Interpretations

Various judgments have interpreted Section 147 CrPC, shedding light on its scope and application. Courts have underscored the need for magistrates to act judiciously, ensuring that their orders are based on solid evidence and aimed at preventing breaches of peace.

Challenges and Criticisms

Despite its utility, Section 147 CrPC faces challenges and criticisms. Some argue that the provision can be misused to harass individuals or delay rightful use of resources. Ensuring that magistrates act impartially and based on thorough evidence is crucial to addressing these concerns.

Frequently Asked Questions

A magistrate issues a preliminary order, gathers evidence from the parties involved, and makes a final determination based on the evidence to resolve the dispute.

Yes, parties can appeal to a higher court or seek revision if they are dissatisfied with the magistrate’s order.

Section 147 CrPC is important for maintaining public order by preventing disputes over land and water use from escalating into larger conflicts.

Challenges include potential misuse of the provision and ensuring impartiality and thorough evidence evaluation by magistrates.

Section 147 CrPC is often used to resolve disputes over the use of agricultural land, ensuring farmers can use their lands without obstruction.