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Abandoned Properties’ (Taking over and Management) Act, 1975

ACT XX OF 1975

An Act to provide for the taking over and management of certain properties

[Gazette of Pakistan, Extraordinary, Part I, 17th February 1975]

The following Act of Parliament received the assent of the President on the 12th February 1975, and is hereby published for general information:—

Whereas it is expedient to provide for the taking over and management of certain properties, and for matters connected therewith;

And whereas the Proclamation of Emergency referred to in Article 280 of the Constitution is still in force;

It is hereby enacted as follows:—

1. Short title, extent and commencement.-(1) This Act may be called the Abandoned Properties’ (Taking Over and Management) Act, 1975.

(2) It extends to the whole of Pakistan.

(3) It shall come into force at once.

2. Definitions.—In this Act, unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context,— (a) “abandoned property” means any property, movable or immovable (including share in industrial units and firms, investments, deposits, policies of insurance and all other interests and rights in or to or arising out of any such property), belonging to a specified person and includes any such property sold or transferred to, or placed under the supervision or control of, any other person on or after the sixteenth day of December 1971, but does not include any ornaments or wearing apparel or any cooking vessels or other household effects in the immediate possession of a specified person, not exceeding a total of rupees one thousand;

(b) “Administrator” means the Administrator appointed under section 5, and includes a Deputy Administrator; (c) “Board” means the Board of Trustees constituted under section 4;

(d) “prescribed” means prescribed by rules;

(e) “rules” means rules made under this Act;

(f) “specified person” means a citizen of Pakistan domiciled in the territories which immediately before the sixteenth day of December 1971, constituted the province of East Pakistan who has left or leaves or has expressed his desire to be taken out of, or to be allowed to leave, the territories of Pakistan and includes a company registered in the said territories the registered office of which has not been shifted in pursuance of the Companies (Shifting of Registered Office) Ordinance, 1972 (V of 1972).

3. Vesting of abandoned property in Government. —-All abandoned property shall vest and shall be deemed always to have vested in the Federal Government on and from the sixteenth day of December 1971.

4. Board of Trustees.—(1) As soon as may be after the commencement of this Act, the Federal Government shall, by notification in the official Gazette, constitute a Board of Trustees consisting of a Chairman and such number of other Trustees as the Federal Government may specify in the notification, for the control and management of abandoned property.

(2) In discharging its functions, the Board shall be guided on questions of policy by the instructions, if any, given to it by the Federal Government which shall be the sole judge as to whether a question is a question of policy.

(3) The meetings of the Board shall be held at such intervals and at such time and place as the Chairman of the Board may determine.

(4) Subject to the rules, the Board may, with the previous approval of the Federal Government and by notification to the official Gazette, make regulations for regulating its procedure.

(5) At any time. when the office of Chairman is vacant or the Chairman is absent or is unable to perform the functions of his office due to any other cause, the Federal Government may appoint any member of the Board to act as Chairman until a Chairman is appointed or, as the case may be, the Chairman resumes his functions.

5. Appointment of Administrator and Deputy Administrators.—(1) For the purpose of carrying the provisions of this Act into effect, the Federal Government may, by notification in the official Gazette, appoint an Administrator for Pakistan and one or more Deputy Administrators for such areas as may be specified in the notification.

(2) The Administrator shall exercise his powers and perform his functions subject to the general supervision and control of the Board and shall be guided by any general or special order made by the Board.

6. Holding of abandoned property and its surrender, etc.—(1) Every person who is, or has at any time after the sixteenth day of December 1971, been in possession, supervision or management of any abandoned property shall be deemed to hold or to have held, as the case may be, such property on behalf of the Board.

(2) As soon as may be, but not later than such date as may be notified by the Federal Government in the official Gazette, every person who is, or has at any time after the sixteenth day of December 1971, been in possession, supervision or management of any abandoned property or property which he knows or has reason to believe to be abandoned property, and whose authority or right to hold, occupy, supervise or manage such property has not been accepted or approved by the Administrator, shall submit to the Administrator, or to any person authorized by him in this behalf,—

(a) full information relating to such property, including the date since when, or the period for which, he had been in possession, supervision or management thereof; and

(b) a detailed account of the rents, profits, income and other moneys received or benefits derived from such property since the sixteenth day of December 1971, or for the period he has been in possession, supervision or management thereof.

(3) Every person as aforesaid shall, as soon as may be, but not later than such date as may be notified by the Federal Government in the official Gazette, intimate to be Administrator in writing his willingness to surrender such property to the Administrator or to any person authorized by the Administrator in this behalf, and shall surrender the same if called upon by the Administrator or any person authorized as aforesaid.

7. Power of Administrator to take possession of abandoned property.–If, any person who has purchased any abandoned property the sale of which has not been confirmed by the Administrator under section 13, or who is in possession, supervision or management of any abandoned property or property which he knows or has reason to believe to be abandoned property does not surrender such property to the Administrator or the person authorized by him in this behalf, then, without prejudice to any other action or penalty to which such person may otherwise be liable, the Administrator may use such force as is necessary for taking possession of such property and may for this purpose, after giving reasonable warning and facility to any woman not appearing in public to withdraw, remove or break open any lock, bolt or door, or do any other act necessary for the said purpose.

8. Payment to Administrator.–(1) Any amount due to a specified person or payable in respect of any abandoned property or property of which the Administrator has taken possession shall be paid to the Administrator by the person liable to pay the same.

(2) Any person who makes a payment under subsection (1) shall be discharged from further liability to pay to the extent of the payment made.

9. Recovery of damages for unauthorized possession.–Any person who has been in possession or occupation of abandoned property in an unauthorized manner or is found to have misappropriated or unlawfully converted abandoned property to his own use or caused loss to it by his act or omission shall, without prejudice to any other action or penalty to which he may otherwise be liable, pay such damages as may be assessed by the Administrator:—

Provided that no such damages shall be assessed by the Administrator without giving notice to such person and affording him an opportunity of being beard.

10. Exemption from legal process.—(1) Property which has vested in the Federal Government or of which possession has been taken by the Administrator shall be exempted from all legal process, including seizure, distress, ejectment, attachment or sale by any officer of a Court or any other authority, and no injunction or other order of whatever kind in respect of such property shall be granted or made by any Court or any other authority, and the Federal Government shall not be divested and the Administrator shall not be dispossessed of such property by operation of any law for the time being in force.

(2) Upon the commencement of this Act, any such legal process as a foresaid subsisting immediately before such commencement shall cease to have effect and all abandoned property in custody of any Court, or receiver, guardian or other officer or person appointed by it, shall, upon delivery of the same being called for by the Administrator, be delivered to the Administrator.

11. Publication of list of abandoned property. —The Administrator shall publish, by notification in the official Gazette, a list of abandoned property in any area.

12. Prohibition of transfer of property generally.–The Federal Government may, by notification in the official Gazette, declare that in such area with a view to preventing the unauthorised or surreptitious transfer of abandoned properties in any area in which a considerable number of such properties is believed to be situated, for such period as may be specified in tile notification, the transfer of any property or class of property, or the creation of any right or interest therein or encumbrance thereon, shall be prohibited, and where any such declaration has been made, no such transfer or creation shall be made during that period in that area except with the previous approval in writing of the Administrator.

13. Confirmation of transfer by specified persons. —- (1) No creation or transfer of any right or interest in or encumbrance upon any property mad-*in any manner whatsoever on or after the sixteenth day of December 1971., by or on behalf of a specified person shall be effective so as to confer any right or remedy on any party thereto or on any person claiming under any such party, unless it is confirmed by the Administrator.

(2) An application for confirmation of such creation of any right or encumbrance or transfer as aforesaid as may be made to the Administrator within the prescribed period by any party thereto, or by any person claiming under or lawfully authorized by such party.

(3) The Administrator shall hold a summary inquiry into the application in the prescribed manner and may reject the application if he, is of opinion that the creation or transfer,—

(i) was not or has been entered into in good faith or for adequate consideration; or

(ii) ought for any other reason not to be confirmed.

(4) If the application is not rejected under subsection (3), the Administrator may, with the prior approval of the Board, confirm the creation or transfer either unconditionally or subject to such terms and conditions as he, thinks fit to impose.

14. Claims by interested persons.–(1) Any person claiming any right or interest in any property treated by the Administrator as abandoned property ,nay prefer a claim to the Administrator on the ground that,—

(a) the property is not abandoned property; or

(b) his interest in the property has not been affected by the provisions of this Act.

(2) An application under subsection (1) shall be made within the prescribed period being a period of not less than thirty days from the prescribed date.

(3) On receiving an application under subsection (2), the, Administrator shall hold a summary inquiry in the prescribed manner and, after taking such evidence as may be produced, shall pass an order stating the reason therefore, rejecting the application or allowing it wholly or in part on Such terms and conditions as he thinks fit to impose.

15. Appeal and revision. — (1) Any person aggrieved by an order n decision of the Administrator may, within the prescribed period, which shall not be less than twenty-one days, prefer an appeal to the Board.

(2) The Board may, after giving the appellant an opportunity of being heard, pass such order as it thinks fit.

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