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This article is written by Shobhna Aggarwal, from Banasthali Vidyapith. This article solely talks about the Army and Air Force Disposal of Private Property Act. In this article, all the provisions regarding the disposal of the property and the authorities responsible for the same are also highlighted.

Introduction

The Army and Air Force (Disposal of Private Property) Act, 1950 has mainly concerned with the ongoing provisions in the Army And Air Force Acts. This act came into force on the date when the central government by notification published in the official gazette. The experience has manifested that it is beneficial to incorporate a separate act for such provisions and not to embody these provisions in the Principal Act and, therefore, that’s why the disposal of private property had incorporated in the separate Act. 

This Act has removed the doubts, lacunae, or any defects that may be present in the Act and as much as possible it has been tried to make the law uniform for the officers, junior and other ranks for the treatment of the matter of estates. The Army and Air Force (Disposal of Private Property) Act deals with the money and the movable matters of a person subjected to the Army Act 1950 or the Air Force Act 1950 shall be paid by the authorities which are prescribed to those who are entitled to such property and money without any proof such as succession letter, letter of administration or any proof. The above said provision is only applicable when the amount or the property or the belongings are below or does not exceed INR 5000. When the amount exceeds then the entitled heirs of the deceased person have to produce the title. If we talk about the navy persons then, in that case, the Navy Act,1957 provision of Section176 applies which contains a similar provision.

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It is provided that it becomes troublesome and expensive to obtain a certificate or any other evidence of title due to which the amount or the value of the property exceeds the value of INR 5000 shall not be disposed of within the prescribed time due to the above-mentioned reason and cause a problem to the entitled heirs then the amount to be raised from 5000 to the 10000 rupees.

Object of enactment

The Army and Airforce (disposal of private property) Act provisions have played an important role in the disposal of the private property of those who have died or deserted or become unsound during the time of the active services or officially found missing. it provides separate provisions for the disposal of the property Subjected to the Army Act, 1950 and Airforce Act,1950.

Important provisions and definitions

Section 2 provides Definitions

Section 2 says that:-

  1. a) regimental and the other debts in camp and the quarters consist of the following— 

(i) an individual respective to the Army Act, 1950 are subjected to the money due as military debts, namely, sums due in respect of or of any advance in respect of— 

  • mess  
  • quarters 
  • military clothing, equipment, not exceeding the amount equal to a three-month payment of the dead person.

(ii) A person respective to the Air Force Act, 1950  are subjected to the money due as air force debts, namely, sums due in respect of or of any advance in respect of— 

  • quarters,
  • mess, 
  • air force clothing, equipment and the amount not exceeding to three-month payment of the dead person.

Section 3

Section 3 says that:-

If a person dies or deserted not being subjected to the rank of the officer who is related to Army Act, 1950 or the Air Force Act, 1950, from which department or detachment or from any commanding officer of the corps, he belongs shall make such rules related to-

  1. a) attach all the property whether movable or immovable which are related to the deceased.
  2. b) take out all the pay and allowances which is due to him.
  3. c) to make provision for the settlement of debts or regiments in quarters and camps if any.

If a person dies, then the commanding officer shall make such rules which he found to be necessary for the settlement of his regiment expenses and other debts in camp and quarters or the funeral expenses or any expenses which he incurred on the behalf of the deceased or in another case he collected money left by him in the banking company or he has appointed any agent for the collection of the money from the banking company. All the money after the settlement of the deceased shall be given to the heirs of the deceased and thereupon the responsibility of the administration on the property of the deceased shall be ceased.

If a person being deserted, then the commanding officer shall make such rules which he found to be necessary for the settlement of his regiment expenses and other debts in camp and quarters or the funeral expenses or any expenses which he incurred on the behalf of the deceased or in another case he collected money left by him in the banking company or he has appointed any agent for the collection of the money from the banking company. Then the surplus amount if any paid to the representatives, if no one claims in the case of a deceased person within 12 months and in case of a deserted person within 3 months then it will be forfeited by the govt.

Section 4

Section 4 says:-

 Property of the officer who had died or deserted-  The disposal of property of the officer shall be disposed of in the same manner which has been prescribed in the provision of sec 3 subjected to the Army Act 1950 or the Air Force Act 1950 with some modifications, respectively- the Committee of Adjustment will take out the function of the commanding officer.
Scope of the Act

The scope of the Army And Airforce Disposal of Private Property Amendment Act 2000 is subjected to the Army Act, 1950, or the Air Force Act, 1950 as who is although has been ascertained to be of unsound mind, or who was on active services went missing or considered died on the day he found to be of unsound mind. Provided that no action shall be taken in the case he found missing until he is officially presumed that he is dead.

Disposal in detail

If the payment of all the debts are in surplus then the prescribed person should- 

  1. a) if he knows the heirs of the deceased shall pay the surplus to that representative 
  2. b) if he doesn’t know the heirs of the deceased of the person then he shall issue a notice for the 6 years consecutively and then also no one claims then after the 6 months he shall deposit that amount plus if any income has been incurred during the period to the central government.

When the estates of the deceased person which consist of securities or effects or any of the property which has not been converted into the money then that property of the deceased may have the same effect as the surplus money has been subjected to the representative of the deceased and it will be treated in the same prescribed manner and will be given to the representative of the deceased.

If any property or the money which has been paid to the heirs of the deceased under the provision of the act and the surplus do not surpass 2 lakh rupees then if the prescribed person feels that the sum to be paid to any individual appearing before him is qualified to receive it without the need of producing any documents he can do so.

Key Amendments

The First, amendment is the amendment of Short Title

  • The act shall be called the Army and air force (Disposal of Private Property) Amendment Act, 2000.

The second amendment was done in Section 7

The third amendment was done in Section 10

  • In the provision of section 10  the word, ten thousand shall be substituted with the word two lakhs.

The Fourth amendment was done in Section 14

Committees in power

The Committee which is established for this said act is known as the Standing Committee of Adjustment. This Committee is appointed in certain cases such as when an officer dies or desert or is ascertained to be unsound or while on the active services found to be missing, then the references of the foregoing provisions of this act shall be construed to the Standing Committee of Adjustment and the said Committee is entitled to perform all the functions alone.

The committee established can exercise their duties under sec 3 or 4 as they consist of the same power and rights as if they had taken out the representation of the estate of the deceased and may have the same effect as the case may be.

Relation to the code of federal regulations

The Central Government has the power to hand over the estate of a deceased person to the General Of Administrator. The administrator generally is not allowed to interpose in any property of the deceased person which shall be dealt under the provisions of sec 3 and 4 of the said act except in the case it is expressly permitted to them to do under the provision of the said act.

The Central Government shall at any time in the circumstances direct to hand over the property of deceased by the Commanding Officer or the Committee to the Administrator General of a state for the processing of the administration and thereby to the Commanding officer or the Committee whenever they think fit to do so shall hand over to such Administrator-General.

Whenever the estate is handed over to the Administration General under this section, the Administrator-General Becomes entitled to administer such estate according to the provision of the act. If this law is not enforced under any state then according to the corresponding law which is in force. Provided that if any regimental or other debt is due by the deceased then the Administrator-General shall pay them first, it will be the priority to pay first then other debts.

The Administrator-General has to pay the surplus amount if any left in his hands after paying all the debts and charges to the heirs of the deceased and if no heirs can be traced then he may pay such surplus to the prescribed person in the prescribed manner.

The Administrator-General after paying all the regiments, debts, and charges may charge 3% not exceeding this in respect of his duties provided by him.

The Central Government shall by the notification in Official Gazette make such rules to carry out the purpose of the said act. By the foregoing power, the central government may make such rules, without prejudice:

  1. a) The central government may prescribe such manner in which the property of deceased or deserter shall be secured or assemble or his other debts or regiments must be paid
  2. b) The central government may provide the manner to pay the funeral expenses of the deceased.
  3. c) The central government may provide how the Committee of Adjustment or any Standing Committee of Adjustment must be constituted under the said Act.
  4. d) The central government may mention the person who shall be entitled to the prescribed person.
  5. e) The central government may specify the condition for handing over the estate of the deceased to the Administrator-General.
  6. f) The central government may specify the rules and manner in which the notice may be published under section 8 of the said Act.
  7. g) The central government may specify the procedure for ascertaining the person to be of unsound mind.

As soon as the rule is made by the Central government it should be laid down before each house of the Parliament while they are in session for 30 days if both houses decide to make any changes or both houses that the above rule should not come in effect, as per the need of the time it will be finalized.

Conclusion

As far as we have studied about the Army and Air Force (Disposal of the private property) Act, we can conclude that it was initially enacted in 1950 and then it was amended in the year 2000 and therefore known as The Army and Air Force (Disposal of private property) Amendment Act, 2000. The disposal of private property of the Army and Airforce has been incorporated in a separate act. For this purpose, a prescribed person is also appointed and for the officer’s property disposal the committee is constituted.

The Committee performs such acts as mentioned in the act. The central government also has the power to ascertain the unsoundness of a person, to specify the rules and regulations.


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