20. Diversion of land.-
(1) If any person holding land for any purpose wishes to divert such land or any part thereof to any other purpose except agriculture, he shall apply for permission to the competent authority who may, subject to the provisions of this section and to the rules made under this Act, refuse permission or grant it on such conditions as it may think fit.
(2) Permission to divert may be refused by the competent authority only on the ground that the diversion is likely to cause a public nuisance or that it is not in the interest of the general public or that the holder is unable or unwilling to comply with the conditions that may be imposed under sub-section (3).
(3) Conditions may be imposed on diversion for the following objects and no others, namely, in order to secure the public health, safety and convenience, and in the case of land which is to be used as building sites, in order to secure in addition that the dimensions, arrangement and accessibility of the sites are adequate for the health and convenience of occupiers or are suitable to the locality.
(4) If any land has been diverted without permission by the holder or by any other person with or without the consent of the holder, the competent authority, on receiving information thereof, may impose on the person responsible for the diversion a penalty not exceeding one hundred rupees, and may proceed in accordance with the provisions of sub-section (1) as if an application for permission to divert has been made.
(5) If any land has been diverted in contravention of an order passed or of a condition imposed under any of the foregoing sub-sections, the competent authority may serve a notice on the person responsible for such contravention, directing him, within a reasonable period to be stated in the notice, to use the land for its original purpose or to observe the condition; and such notice may require such person to remove any structure, to fill up any excavation, or to take such other steps as may be required in order that the land may be used for its original purpose, or that the condition may be satisfied. The competent authority may also impose on such person a penalty not exceeding one hundred rupees for such contravention, and a further penalty not exceeding four rupees for each day during which such contravention continues.
(6) If any person served with a notice under sub-section (5), fails within the period stated in the notice to take the steps ordered by the competent authority under that sub-section, the competent authority may itself take such steps or cause them to be taken; and any cost incurred in so doing shall be recoverable from such person in the same manner as an arrear of land revenue.
Explanation.-"Diversion" in this section means using land assessed to one purpose for any other purpose, but using land for the purpose of agriculture where it is assessed with reference to any other purpose shall not be deemed to be diversion.