Some of you might have listened the word of ‘lambardar’ in Punjabi songs or if you ever visited in Haryana or Punjab or even in west UP, some people call themselves ‘lambardar’, many vehicles also carry the stickers of larmabardar on their back or fronts.

After seeing this, people might have thought what is this position? Is it something related to ‘Jamindari/jagirdari’ or anything related to the British period.

In this article, we will discuss the appointment, object of appointment and laws on ‘Lambardar’ position.

The Origin of Lambardar Post

The Erstwhile Punjab (including Haryana) is essentially an agricultural State, one and half of which is tilled by peasant/landowners. There are very few big land-owners, having much properties in the whole province. The bulk of the population of Punjab consists of landowners and their dependents.

The Punjab Land Revenue Act, 1887, was enacted to amend and declare the law in force in the State of Punjab with respect to making and maintenance of records-of-rights of land holdings, the assessment and collection of land revenue, other matters relating to land and the liabilities incident thereto and to provide a procedure for preparation of record-of-rights of different types of land held by the owners or tenure holders and collection of land revenue, other cess and taxes etc.

The entire land administration is regulated by the strong body of Government servants and Collector has been designated as the Controller of the District. The Government functionaries constitute a powerful piece of administrative machinery.

Keeping in view the peasantry in Punjab, the Government machinery has been supplemented by the representatives of the landowners/inhabitants of the locality in the shape of village headman (Lambardar).

It is always obviously convenient for the State functionaries to deal with the village communities through Lambardar, who status-wise is village-officer, as envisaged under section 3(11) of the Act (Punjab land revenue act, hereinafter called as ‘act’). They exercise the collective pool of wisdom for the growth of peasantry based rural society.

Appointment of ‘Lambardar’

In exercise of the rule making powers, the Government has framed the statutory rules. Rule 14 of the relevant Rules deals with the number of vacancies of Headmen/Lambardars to be appointed to every estate.

Rule 15 is in regard to the matters to be considered for the appointment of Lambardar.

Rule 19 envisages the appointment of revenue farmers and mortgagees as headmen, whereas Rule 19-B deals with the appointment of Harijan/Christian Lambardars for the welfare of the entire community.

Functions of ‘Lambardar’

The Lambardar acts as a very important link between the Collector, representative of the State and village community to recover the land revenue, cess or taxes of any kind and other related functions in order to achieve the aims and objects of the Act.

Rules 52 to 70 (land revenue rules) escalate the collection of land revenue, other cesses and recovery of arrears, to which, the age-old institution of the Lambardar is an integral part of the entire scheme emitting from the Act and Rules.

The post of Lambardar is lifetime post or unless the Deputy Commissioner dismisses him on account of his misconduct or accepts his resignation.  hence he is in a better position to assist in his duties and functions than elected Sarpanch who is for fixed terms.

Para 307 of the Punjab Land Administration Manual (for brevity “the Manual”) provides that the village communities/landowners/tenants and other residents, function and deal with the State functionaries through Lambardar in every walks of life.

The Lambardars are bound to attend the meeting when summoned by officers of Government and aid them in the execution of their public duties. Their important functions, to help the Government machinery as regards the prevention and detection of crime are very significant.

Besides the other indicated duties, the Lambardars are also required to collect and pay into the treasury the land revenue, to report to the Tehsildar, to aid in carrying out harvest inspections, surveys etc., to render all possible assistance to the village postman, while passing the night in the village, in safeguarding the cash and other valuables that he carries and to assist the authorities during the course of consolidation proceedings.