The Central Provinces Court of Wards Act, 1899

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The present legislation was passed during the British rule in India, by the Governor General In Council, as ‘the Central Provinces Court of Wards Act, 1899’ (Act no. 24 of 1899). The same was provided for consolidating and amending the Laws connected with the Court of Wards in the Central Provinces. The provisions of this enactment were assented by the Governor General of India in Council on 13th day of October, 1899 and as per preliminary provisions contained under this Act, the same were extended to the Central Provinces. The provisions of the Act were divided into several parts and sections therein and also there is a Schedule annexed with the Act. The said provisions were also amended several times.

As per discussed above, the short title, extension and commencement of the Act and also certain definitions were provided under the preliminary provisions of the Act, contained in Part- I thereof. However, the other significant provisions are contained under the subsequent parts of the Act, and the most relevant provisions are discussed below.

The Commission of division is declared under this Act to act as the Court of Wards within the limits of his division. And in case of the disqualification of the Land- holder as to management of his property, which is located within the local jurisdiction of such Court of Wards, then such Court of Wards can under the provisions of this Act, assume the Superintendence of that Property, however, the prior sanction from the State Government concerned, as was provided by the amendment of the year 1950.

For the aforesaid disqualifications of the Land- holders, the situations are contemplated as provided by the amended provided by the Central Provinces Court of Wards (Amendment) Act, 1929, that if such person is minor, if declared by the Competent Civil Court as of unsound mind and even if declared by it as incapable of managing their affairs and all other mentioned situations where persons being Land- holders become disqualified to manage the affair as such. Besides assuming such superintendence the Court is also deemed to have assumed the superintendence of those disqualified persons also.

For assuming the afore discussed superintendence by the Court of Wards, there is also a provision, where any of the Land- holder can make an application to the State Government, where he can sought placing his property under the Superintendence of the Court of Wards. And while ordering the superintendence to be assumed by the Court of Wards, the State Government is required to have regarded the interest of Pubic.

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Further, the Act says that in case of death of the Land- holder and on information to this effect and on the reasons for believing that the heir of such Land- holder is also to be adjudged as disqualified, then Court of Wards can make an order declaring temporary custody and protection of the property inherited and while making such order, the Court is also required to serve for the information to the State Government simultaneously.

In relation to such authority of declaring the superintendence assumption by the Court of Wards, the Act says that there should be no suits, brought for contesting the authority of the Court of Wards before the Civil Courts. The Act also makes certain significant provisions as to the Government Ward in its subsequent provisions. There are also mentioned certain powers of the Court of Wards in relation to the Government Wards, such as, appointment of manager, guardians of certain Government wards and certain general powers like to do all required things to ensure proper care and management of any property as the owner or guardian will do, as the case may be. Certain orders can also be passed by such Court of Wards in relation to the person of Government Ward as are necessary for his custody and residence and in case of the minor ward, the education of such Ward. As such it is the duty of the Court of Ward or Manger if appointed by it, that to manage the property of every Government Ward with faith and for the benefits of such Ward.

It is also made clear in the Act that the Government ward cannot either make adoption or even cannot give any permission as such unless there is consent of the State Government which is previously or subsequently obtained in relation thereto.

The provisions are also provided for withdrawing the Superintendence assumed under this Act. And for such withdrawal, the Court of Wards should have previous sanction of the State Government, however, such withdrawal can only be done if the prescribed conditions under this Act are complied with, such as the withdrawal can be done after the persons Ward becoming qualified, etc. if his properties of person was taken for superintendence due to his disqualification. The Act mentions specifically about the supervisions and control of the State Government over the orders or proceedings passed under this Act. The State Government is also made empowered under this Act to make rules for carrying out the purposes thereof and also there are certain matters given on which such rules to be made. As such, the Act makes all provisions relating to the purpose thereof, besides the mentioned ones.

However, the present enactment was recommended for repeal by the current Law Commission of India in its Report no. 249 dated 13th October, 2014 being Second Interim Report – Obsolete Laws: Warranting Immediate Repeal while studying on the issue of ‘Legal Enactments: Simplifications and Streamlining’ (LESS). The major reason put forwarded by the Commission includes that the Central Provinces are itself not existed as an administrative unit and as such the law is not in use. Earlier also by the report of P C Jain Commission, the repealing of the  present enactment was recommended in its Appendix A-5.

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