Chhotanagpur Tenancy Act (CNT) and Santhal Pargana Tenancy Act (SPT) both the laws were passed in 1908 to protect the land rights of the tribal people in Jharkhand. However, Raghubar Das government of the state decided to amend both these Acts in order acquire lands from tribal people to construct various development projects.
The then Governor, Draupadi Murmu, an idealist chose to stand with the tribals and returned both these Acts. If she had passed these two Acts, it would have allowed the government to take the lands belonging to the tribals of the state.
The Jharkhand government had to take back these amendment bills due to solid resilience by the Governor.
The Act which protects the land rights of the tribals remained intact. Now under section 13 of the SPT Act is written as “for non-agriculture purposes of agriculture land, the ownership and title of the riyat (owner) will remain intact as it was before enactment of the present amendment as it was originally in the SPT act 1949.”
A similar clarification was also made under the CNT Act’s section 21. The officials said “the ownership and title of the original tribal land would not change even if it was used for developmental work.”