THE ARMY AND AIR FORCE (DISPOSAL OF PRIVATE PROPERTY) ACT, 1950

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The Army and Air Force (Disposal of Private Property) Act, 1950 was enacted by the Parliament and came into effect on July 22, 1950. The Act is applicable to the entire Indian territory including Indian citizens and persons coming under the purview of the Army Act, 1950 and Air Force Act, 1950. The Committee as provided under the Act is the Committee of Adjustment established according to the terms of the Act. The representation consists of letters of administration including or excluding will or the manager of estate owned by the person deceased, probates or any other empowered persons but except the Administrator-General.

Where a person coming under the purview of Army Act or Air Force Act is dead, or has been deserted except the officers, the commanding officer or the unit where the deceased person worked shall safeguard the properties owned by the deceased or the person deserted which is situated in the camp or official residence and shall maintain an inventory belonging to such person. Such officer shall also protect the accounts, payments and allowances to be given to that person and shall make conditions to pay of the amount outstanding and regimental out of such allowance of that person.

In addition, the commanding officer shall make arrangements to pay off the amount outstanding as well as the regimental and the expenditure of funeral of the deceased if the rules entrust him to take necessary steps in this regard. Such expenses shall also include debts that are due on the properties of the deceased person. For this purpose, the officer shall collect entire amount from the deposits of the deceased in any bank, post office, societies or organizations and shall take the assistance of any agent or employee of such bank to take necessary steps required by such officer. In this respect, the rules under the Banking laws shall not be a bar to perform functions by the banking authorities. Where such sum of money is received by the commanding officer to pay off the liabilities of the deceased, other persons cannot claim the money from the bank or the authorities performing under the bank.

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Sometimes, the legal heirs of the deceased may furnish securities to clear off the debts or expenses on funeral of the deceased. In such situations, the commanding officer shall hand over the amount and other properties collected from the bank to the legal heirs of the deceased. Such security shall be furnished with respect to the debts due on the property of the deceased and the liabilities to be paid to the camps and official residence of the deceased person. Thereafter, the duty of the officer connected with the management of properties and assets of the deceased comes to an end.

The Act also provides provision to manage the properties of the person not mentioned earlier or a deserted person by the commanding officer. Here, the officer shall dispose off the estate of the person in order to change the estate into money. If any additional amount has been received after disposal of the property of the deceased, such amount shall be paid back to the legal heirs or specified persons. Similar provisions are applicable with respect to property belonging to a deceased officer with certain alterations. The Committee of Adjustment shall be responsible to manage the properties of the deceased officer and the excess money shall be paid to the specified person only. The officer managing the property of the deceased shall be in the same position as if he is the representative of the deceased and the receipts given by the officer shall have result in view of that. The Central Government is empowered under the Act to formulate rules to give effect to the terms of the enactment. The rules so created shall be laid in the prescribed manner before the Parliament.

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In 2007, the Central Government has also enacted the Armed Forces Tribunal Act to settle on the service matters of the personnel serving under the Indian Army.