The Indian Succession Act, 1925
Protection of Property of Deceased
192. Person claiming right by succession to property of deceased may apply for relief against wrongful possession.-
(1) If any person dies leaving property, moveable or immoveable, any person claiming a right by succession thereto, or to any portion thereof, may make application to the District Judge of the district where any part of the property is found or situate for relief, either after actual possession has been taken by another person, or when forcible means of seizing possession are apprehended.
(2) Any agent, relative or near friends, or the Court of Wards in cases within their cognizance, may, in the event of any minor, or any disqualified or absent person being entitled by succession to such property as aforesaid, make the like application for relief.
193. Inquiry made by Judge.-
The District Judge to whom such application is made shall, in the first place, examine the applicant on oath, and may make such further inquiry, if any, as he thinks necessary as to whether there is sufficient ground for believing that the party in possession or taking forcible means for seizing possession has no lawful title, and that the applicant, or the person on whose behalf he applies is really entitled and is likely to be materially prejudiced if left to the ordinary remedy of a suit, and that the application is made bona fide.
If the District Judge is satisfied that there is sufficient ground for believing as aforesaid but not otherwise, he shall summon the party complained of, and give notice of vacant or disturbed possession by publication, and, after the expiration of a reasonable time, shall determine summarily the right to possession (subject to a suit as hereinafter provided) and shall deliver possession accordingly.
Provided that the Judge shall have the power to appoint an officer who shall take an inventory of effects, and seal or otherwise secure the same, upon being applied to for the purpose, without delay, whether he shall have concluded the inquiry necessary for summoning the party complained of or not.
195. Appointment of curator pending determination of proceeding.-
If it further appears upon such inquiry as aforesaid that danger is to be apprehended of the misappropriation or waste of the property before the summary proceeding can be determined, and that the delay in obtaining security from the party in possession or the insufficiency thereof is likely to expose the party out of possession to considerable risk, provided he is the lawful owner, the District Judge may appoint one or more curators whose authority shall continue according to the terms of his or their respective appointment, and in no case beyond the determination of the summary proceeding and the confirmation or delivery of possession in the consequence thereof:
Provided that, in the case of land, the Judge may delegate to the Collector, or to any officer subordinate to the Collector, the powers of a curator:
Provided, further, that every appointment of a curator in respect of any property shall be duly published.
196. Powers conferrable on curator.-
The District Judge may authorise the curator to take possession of the property either generally, or until security is given by the party in possession, or until inventories of the property have been made, or for any other purpose necessary for securing the property from misappropriation or waste by the party in possession:
Provided that it shall be in the discretion of the Judge to allow the party in possession to continue in such possession on giving security or not, and any continuance in possession shall be subject to such orders as the Judge may issue touching inventories, or the securing of deeds or other effects.
197. Prohibition of exercise of certain powers by curators.-
(1) Where a certificate has been granted under Part X or under the Seccession Certificate Act, 18891 (7 of 1889), or a grant of probate or letters of administration has been made, a curator appointed under this Part shall not exercise any authority lawfully belonging to the holder of the certificate or to the executor or administrator.
(2) Payment of debts, etc., to curator.-
All persons who have paid debts or rents to a curator authorised by a Court to receive them shall be indemnified, and the curator shall be responsible for the payment thereof to the person who has obtained the certificate, probate or letters of administration, as the case may be.
1. Rep. partly by Act 39 of 1925, and finally by Act 1 of 1938.
198. Curator to give security and may receive remuneration.-
(1) The District Judge shall take from the curator security for the faithful discharge of his trust, and for rendering, satisfactory accounts of the same as hereinafter provided, and may authorise him to receive out of the property such remuneration, in no case exceeding five per centum on the moveable property and on the annual profits of the immoveable property, as the District Judge thinks reasonable.
(2) All surplus money realized by the curator shall be paid into Court, and invested in public securities for the benefit of the persons entitled thereto upon adjudication of the summary proceeding.
(3) Security shall be required from the curator with all reasonable despatch, and where it is practicable, shall be taken generally to answer all cases for which the person may be afterwards appointed curator; but no delay in the taking of security shall prevent the Judge from immediately investing the curator with the powers of his office.
199. Report from Collector where estate includes revenue paying land.-
(1) Where the estate of the deceased person consists wholly or in part of land paying revenue to Government, in all matters regarding the propriety of summoning the party in possession, of appointing a curator, or of nominating individuals to that appointment, the District Judge shall demand a report from the Collector, and the Collector shall thereupon furnish the same:
Provided that in cases of urgency the Judge may proceed, in the first instance, without such report.
(2) The Judge shall not be obliged to act in conformity with any such report, but, in case of his acting otherwise than according to such report, he shall immediately forward a statement of his reasons to the High Court, and the High Court, if it is dissatisfied with such reasons, shall direct the Judge to proceed conformably to the report of the Collector.
200. Institution and defence of suits.-
The curator shall be subject to all orders of the District Judge regarding the institution or the defence of suits, and all suits may be instituted or defended in the name of the curator on behalf of the estate:
Provided that an express authority shall be requisite in the order of the curator's appointment for the collection of debts or rents; but such express authority shall enable the curator to give a full acquittance for any sums of money received by virtue thereof.
201. Allowances to apparent owners pending custody by curator.-
Pending the custody of the property by the curator, the District Judge may make such allowances to parties having a prima facie right thereto as upon a summary investigation of the right and circumstances of the parties interested he considers necessary, and may, at his discretion, take security for the repayment thereof with interest, in the event of the party being found, upon the adjudication of the summary proceeding, not to be entitled thereto.
202. Accounts to be filed by curator.-
The curator shall file monthly accounts in abstract, and shall, on the expiry of each period of three months, if his administration lasts so long, and, upon giving up the possession of the property, file a detailed account of his administration to the satisfaction of the District Judge.
203. Inspection of accounts and right of interested party to keep duplicate.-
(1) The accounts of the curator shall be open to the inspection of all parties interested; and it shall be competent for any such interested party to appoint a separate person to keep a duplicate account of all receipts and payments by the curator.
(2) If it is found that the accounts of the curator are in arrear, or that they are erroneous or incomplete, or if the curator does not produce them whenever he is ordered to do so by the District Judge, he shall be punishable with fine not exceeding one thousand rupees for every such default.
204. Bar to appointment of second curator for same property.-
If the Judge of any district has appointed a curator; in respect to the whole of the property of a deceased person, such appointment shall preclude the Judge of any other district within the same State from appointing any other curator, but the appointment of a curator in respect of a portion of the property of the deceased shall not preclude the appointment within the same State of another curator in respect of the residue or any portion thereof Provided that no Judge shall appoint curator or entertain a summary proceeding in respect of property which is the subject of a summary proceeding previously instituted under this Part before another Judge:
Provided, further, that if two or more curators are appointed by different Judges for several parts of an estate, the High Court may make such order as it thinks fit for the appointment of one curator of the whole property.
205. Limitation of time for application for curator.-
An application under this Part to the District Judge must be made within six months of the death of the proprietor whose property is claimed by right in succession.
206. Bar to enforcement of Part against public settlement or legal directions by deceased.-
Nothing in this Part shall be deemed to authorise the contravention of any public act of settlement or of any legal directions given by a deceased proprietor of any property for the possession of his property after his decease in the event of minority or otherwise, and, in every such case, as soon as the Judge having jurisdiction over the property of a deceased person is satisfied of the existence of such directions, he shall give effect thereto.
207. Court of Wards to be made curator in case of minors having property subject to its jurisdiction.-
Nothing in this Part shall be deemed to authorise any disturbance of the possession of a Court of Wards of any property; and in case a minor, or other disqualified person whose property is subject to the Court of Wards, is the party on whose behalf application is made under this Part, the District Judge, if he determines to summon the party in possession and to appoint a curator, shall invest the Court of Wards with the curatorship of the estate pending the proceeding without taking security as aforesaid; and if the minor or other disqualified person, upon the adjudication of the summary proceeding, appears to be entitled to the property, possession shall be delivered to the Court of Wards.
208. Saving of right to bring suit.-
Nothing contained in this Part shall be any impediment to the bringing of a suit either by the party whose application may have been rejected before or after the summoning of the party in possession, or by the party who may have been evicted from the possession under this Part.
209. Effect of decision of summary proceeding.-
The decision of a District Judge in a summary proceeding under this Part shall have no other effect than that of settling the actual possession; but for this purpose it shall be final, and shall not be subject to any appeal or review.
210. Appointment of public curators.-
The State Government may appoint public curators for any district or number of districts; and the District Judge having jurisdiction shall nominate such public curators in all cases where the choice of a curator is left discretionary with him under this Part.