Powers of High Court under Section 11 of the Administrator Generals’ Act, 1913: Pakistan legal perspective
S J Tubrazy
Section 11 of the Administrator Generals’ Act, 1913 empowers the High Court to direct the Administrator General to collect and take possession of the assets and to perform, subject to the directions of the Court, other acts mentioned in the section, when any person has died leaving assets within the jurisdiction of the Court and on attaining satisfaction that there is no person immediately available who is legally entitled to succeed to such assets or that danger is to be apprehended of misappropriation, deterioration or wastage of such assets before it can be determined who may be legally entitled to succession or whether the Administrator-General is entitled to Letters of Administration of the Estate of such deceased person.
Section 11 of the Act was introduced so as to empower the Administrator General to apply for Letters of Administration of any Estate which may be committed to his charge temporarily, pending the inquiry into the entitlement of the persons entitled to succeed. In case the inquiry yields the result that none exists to succeed under law, then the relevant authority or the Collector can proceed to take over the property as escheat to the Provincial Government or the Federal Government as the case may be under Article 172 of the Constitution. The inquiry held under Act III of 1913 is to serve as on the modes to determine that a certain property has no rightful owner and as such is to vest in the Provincial Government if located in the Province. This mode provides safe basis for the Collector to collect, realize or recover such property from unauthorized hands, if any.
When a direction to collect, realize or recover the assets under section 11(i) of the Act is made, the Administrator General will take over straightaway the custody or possession of the assets respecting which no dispute is raised but for collecting, recovering and realizing those assets respecting which any claim is made or a, dispute is raised and his right or authority to take over the custody or possession is challenged, he will have to act in accordance with law and where necessary to institute a suit or to initiate appropriate proceedings before appropriate forums. Likewise any party possessed of necessary locus standi can also institute proper proceedings before appropriate forum so as to establish its claim over any such property.