The Transfer of Evacuee Deposits Act, 1954

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The present Act being Central Government was enacted by Indian Parliament with the name, ‘The Transfer of Evacuee Deposits Act, 1954’ (Act no. 15 of 1954). The same was assented by the President of India on 26th day of March, 1954. The purpose and object for which the present Act makes provisions, is to providing for transfer of certain deposits belonging to evacuees to Pakistan in pursuance of an agreement with that country. Further, the provisions are also made for the reception in India of aforesaid deposits belonging to displaced persons. The Act was originally extended to the whole of Indian territories, however, by the Adoption of Law (No. 3) Order, 1956, the provisions of this Act were restricted to have extension over the territories comprising the State of Assam, West Bengal, Tripura, Manipur and Jammu and Kashmir immediately before the 1st day of November, 1956. The date of commencement of effect of provisions in the Act is 1st February, 1954, as has been specifically mentioned under its first section. Whereas the section 2 defines certain terminologies under the Act for the better interpretation thereof.

From section 3 of the Act itself, the more relevant and purposive provisions have been enumerated under the Act. Section 3 provides empowers the Central Government to appoint a Custodian of Deposits and other Assistants thereof, for discharging their duties which are provided under this Act. Such appointment will have to be notified by the Government in its Official Gazette. While discharging their duties, the Custodian or Assistants as aforesaid, should be bound by the provisions of this Act and the general Superintendence and control of the Central Government. The Central Government as such is again empowered for providing amongst such Custodians thereof, the work distribution, by its order either general or special.

Section 4 of the Act is again important provision which provides for power to the Civil or Revenue Court or even the Court of Wards which is located within the area of mass migration or even the Manager who is exercising jurisdiction within such area, to transfer the deposits in that area. There is a condition provided, after satisfying which the concerned transfer can be made by such Courts, or Manager, as the case may be. Such condition is that all the parties interested in such deposit are to be Muslims and evacuees. While transferring such deposit, the Courts or Manager, as the case may be, should also transfer the records thereof to the authorized Officer or Authority from Pakistan. Moreover, the particulars relating to such transfer should also be sent by such Courts or Manager as aforesaid, to the Custodian, after such transfer taken place.

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Moreover, section 5 of the Act prescribes the procedure in relation to other deposits to the Pakistan. It is specified under this provision that, if the Custodian opined the availability of transferable deposits within the meaning of aforesaid provision, either on any information available with him or on an request made by any Officer or Authority of Pakistan, then such Custodian, after making inspection of the records, can issued direction to transfer such deposit to such authorized Officer or Authority of Pakistan. Even it is further provided that, if any article in respect of which the transfer to the Pakistan is prohibited under any law, then the Courts or Manager, as aforesaid, or even such Custodian can lawfully convert such article into money in the prescribed manner.

Further, section 8 is again important provision which provides that on such transfer of deposits as aforesaid under this Act, there will be no power or jurisdiction of any Courts or Authorities in India in relation to such deposits so transferred.

Similarly, the Act makes further provisions relating to reception of such deposits which are transferred from Pakistan. The Custodian is empowered in relation to such reception and also such Custodian is empowered to hold in his custody all such deposits which are transferred from Pakistan. After having taken receipt thereof, the Custodian is required to cause making of a notice to the interested persons and after enquiries being necessary and disposal of claims of others, the said deposits to be disposed of in favour of such interested persons. The numerous powers of the Custodian under this Act are enlisted under several clauses of section 10. Further section 11 of the Act specifies that the Civil Courts jurisdiction in relation to questions of legality of any such actions or decisions of Custodian under this Act in respect of transfer of such deposits, is barred. Similarly, every actions of the Central Government or any such Custodian or other authorized persons under this Act and taken in good faith, are protected against legal actions, under section 12 of the Act.  Also section 13 empowers the Central Government to provided for rules under this Act and which should be for carrying out the purpose of this Act and such rules are also to provide up on all matters which are enumerated under several clauses of this provision.

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by Faim Khalilkhan Pathan.