Custodian General is trustee of evacuee property: HC

Custodian General is trustee of evacuee property: HC
File photo of J&K High CourtMubashir Khan/ GK

Srinagar, Nov 12: High Court of J&K and Ladakh has said that the Custodian General is under statutory duty to preserve and maintain the property on behalf of the evacuees.

The Court made the observation while dismissing a petition challenging an order by Custodian General, asking a petitioner, who had got lease land through transfer, to pay a sum of Rs 1.28 crore in three installments within 12 months.

“The Property vested in the Custodian General is an evacuee property and a statutory duty is enjoined on the Custodian General to administer the evacuee property in a manner that furthers the object of J&K State Evacuee (Administration of Property) Act 2006,” a bench of justice Sanjeev Kumar said

The court said the object of the Act is to preserve and maintain the property on behalf of the evacuees and, with a view to raising revenue for such preservation and maintenance to put the property to the best possible beneficial use. “Even in the absence of any specific provision, the Custodian General is well within its powers to devise ways and means to see that the evacuee property is allotted or leased out in a manner that is fair and transparent and fetches maximum revenue.”

The Custodian General it may be pointed out, the court said, is a Public Officer enjoined to deal with the property of evacuees as a Trustee and it is his solemn duty as a Trustee to see that the property of evacuees is put to best use.

The Court held that whenever such property is required to be leased out or allotted, it must fetch maximum revenue so that such amount could be utilized for preservation and maintenance of the properties of evacuees. Being a Public officer, the court said, it is the bounden duty of the Custodian General to be fair and transparent in dealing with the property of evacuees.

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