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Report No. 96

22. Transfer of Evacuee Deposits Act, 1954 (15 of 1954)

Consequent on the setting up of the Dominions of India and Pakistan, there was large scale migration of population between the two countries. The Governments of India and Pakistan entered into an agreement with each country regarding the manner of transfer of deposits belonging to displaced persons or evacuees. In pursuance of the aforesaid agreement, the Parliament enacted the legislation to provide for such transfer of deposits to Pakistan and reception of such deposits in India. The Act is still in force though section 18 was repealed by the Repealing and Amending Act (58 of 1963). The term "deposit" has been defined in the Act as-

(i) any movable property in the custody or under the control of any civil or Revenue Court in respect of any proceedings;

(ii) any movable property under the superintendence or in the custody of a Court of Wards;

(iii) any movable property in the custody or control of a manager; and it includes any securities, insurance policies and negotiable instruments; "securities" covers shares, scripts, stocks, bonds, debentures, debentive stocks and like marketable securities. "Displaced person" is a person who has migrated from Pakistan to India on or after 1-3-47 and "evacuee" is one who has migrated from India to Pakistan on or after 1-3-47.

By the Act, the Central Government has taken power to appoint a Custodian of Deposits and also as many Assistant Custodians as required. The Custodian has power to transfer the deposits to an officer in Pakistan as the Central Government may specify by general or special order in this behalf. The Custodian has also power to transfer the records of the deposit to the officer in Pakistan so specified. If the transfer of the 'deposit' is prohibited under any other law, it is lawful for the Custodian to convert the deposit into money before the transfer.

The Act has also laid down the procedure for the converse situation, namely, the receipt of deposits from Pakistan, and the procedure to be subsequently followed by the Custodian in making payment of such deposits to the claimants. If there are more than one claimant and all of them do not agree for the method of payment or distribution, the Custodian has been empowered-(i) to refer the matter to the principal Civil Court at Original Jurisdiction within whose jurisdiction the claimants, or at least the majority of them reside, and (ii) to transfer the deposits to such Court for disposal.

The subject-matter of the Act falls within Concurrentlist, entry 41, "Custody, management and disposal of property declared by law to be evacuee property", Union List, entry 10, "Foreign Affairs," all matters which bring the Union into relation with any foreign country", and Union List, entry 14 (Entering into and implementation of treaties).

Reasons for recommending repeal.-It is presumed that by now, deposits governed by the Act would all have been transferred or otherwise finally dealt with. The Act may therefore be repealed, subject to factual checking,1 as to whether any such deposits still remain undisposed of.

1. Subject to factual checking.



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