LAHORE - The Punjab government has plans to set up separate revenue courts after a due legal process, The Nation has learnt.

“It is difficult for district administrations (DCs/ACs) to spare time for revenue courts due to extra workload,” according to minutes of the committee on land record matters. Therefore, there is a need to set up separate revenue courts/tribunals, say the minutes.

Moreover, the process of girdawari, security paper for transactional fard and mutation may be automated through the Punjab Land Record Authority (PLRA). The PLRA director general will present a detailed plan in this regard soon. A committee consisting of senior member of the Board of Revenue (BoR), commissioner of Multan and deputy commissioner of Faisalabad has already been set up to sort out this issue.

Official sources said the move was aimed at curtailing powers of revenue officials, including DCs, ACs and commissioners.

The land revenue system is an important source of income for the government. It has its own courts from tehsildar courts to the court of senior member of the BoR. The courts of commissioners, deputy commissioners, assistant commissioners, tehsildars and naib tehsildars work under the BoR.

Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said time and again that he wants to get rid of the patwari system, which is exploiting farmers and other people.

It is said the administration wants to make the BoR irrelevant. The administration didn't appoint senior member of the BoR even months after promotion of former board member Capt (r) Zahid Saeed to the rank of the chief secretary of Punjab . An official said the top revenue office was being run on an ad hoc basis. This showed the provincial government wanted to make it irrelevant, he said.

He said that BoR was the custodian of state land and its abolition would compromise security of the state land.

A deputy commissioner said he was not overburdened. He said his office would work as district collector’s office after local governments start work. If the government curtails revenue officials’ powers, he said, his office would become irrelevant. He said the government wanted to execute all tasks through his office, but it was not ready to empower it.

JAVED IQBAL