The Act is particularly based on succession laws. The Administrator’s General Act, 1963 has amended the Act of 1913 and substituted key provisions of the 1913 act such as an official trustee. The 1963 amendment has brought to consolidate and amend the law relating to the duties and powers of Administrator-General. The principal Act of 1849 had the purpose of taking care of properties of the deceased by establishing public offices of Administrator, under the order of the Supreme Court of the respective province.
- Section 1 & 2: The Administrators’ General Act, 1963 (the Act) applies to the whole of India, including the State of Jammu & Kashmir. Three definitions mentioned are vital to understanding the essence of the Act. Assets mean all property of the deceased chargeable with or applicable to pay for debts, or which is available for distribution among next-of-kin and heirs. Letter of Administration could be general, with an attached copy of the will, or limited in time. Next-of-kin includes widow or widower or any kin entitled for letters of administration.
- Section 3, 4 & 5 (Amended in 1963): Section 3 laid down that the State Government has authority to appoint one or more Administrators for the state, after considering the qualifications prescribed. The State Government has the power to appoint a deputy, subject to qualification mentioned in section 4, to assist, discharge the functions and exercising the powers of Administrator-General. Deputy for the performance of such functions or powers must require general or special order of Administrator-General. Section 5 states that Administrator-General shall be incorporated in the name of Administrator-General of state, having an official seal, perpetual succession and may sue and be sued. The Act substituted the word official trustee.
- Section 7 & 8: All letters of administration, which granted by High Court, unless granted to next-of-kin, granted to Administrator-General of the state and he is entitled to such letter of administration, other than pendent elite (procedure pending in court) on the preference of creditor, legatee other than universal or residuary legatee, and friends of deceased.
- Section 9: The Administrator-General shall initiate the proceedings for obtaining a letter of administration, as per rules of State Government and within a limited time, if the valuation of deceased’s assets exceeding ten lakhs and no administration of such asset has granted by any court and no person has taken other proceedings for the protection of the estate. The Administrator-General may not initiate proceedings, unless satisfaction of misappropriation, deterioration or waste of asset if proceedings are not started.
- Section 10: If the High Court given, there is imminent danger of misappropriation, deterioration or waste of the assets worth exceeding ten lakhs of deceased, the High Court direct the Administrator-General to collect and take possession and to hold, sell, deposit, invest or realize as per directions of High Court, upon application of Administrator-General or any other person interested in addition to that. The order of the High Court entitles the Administrator-General to maintain suit or recovery proceedings, apply for letters of administration, retain any fees and reimburse any payment from that asset.
- Section 11& 12: When a person appears to claim on security before the court; to the probate of will or letter of administration as next-of-kin, or he assures High Court of taking care or prosecute the proceedings with due diligence for the protection of estate or High Court is satisfied that there is no fear of misappropriation, deterioration, or waste of the assets and grant of letter of administration is not necessary, the High Court may grant probate or drop the proceedings or award the cost to Administrator-General. Failure of above provisions would invoke Section 12, and the court may grant letters of administration to Administrator-General.
- Section 14: Where an executor or next-of-kin, who had no notice time notice for appearing, established his claim of probate or letters of administration in the satisfaction of High Court; the letters granted to Administrator-General shall be revoked; if the will of deceased proved or may be revoked if the application is made within the limitation period of six months and there is no unreasonable delay, or in transmitting the authority, it is made.
- Section 16: The revocation of letter of administration shall amounts as voidable, unless the Administrator-General or any person under his authority, after notice of will or any other facts render such letters as void. Such things must become up within one month from the time of giving such notice, proceeding commenced or letters to be revoked and there shall not be an unreasonable delay.
- Section 18: The petition presented before the court for grant of letter of administration at least contain; the time and place of death of deceased, names and addresses of next-of-kin, particulars and value of assets likely come into the hand, particulars of liabilities of the estate.
- Section 20& 21: When probate or letter of administration grant to the Administrator-General by High Court, it has an effect to assets of the deceased all over India. The Administrative–General becomes the representative of all debtors and shall afford full indemnity for debtors to pay their dues. Section 21 of the Act is omitted by the Central Laws (Extension to Jammu and Kashmir) Act 1968.
- Section 22: Any private executor or Administrator with the prior permission of Administrator-General transfers the assets vested in the estate to the Administrator-General by that name or other description, for which he has obtained the probate or letters of administration. After the transfer the all rights and liabilities of executor or Administrator, except arose before transfer, shifts from him to the Administrator-General as the probate or letter of administration have been granted to Administrator-General.
- Section 23: The Administrator-General is empowered to give notice to creditors for receiving their claims against deceased’s estate within limited time and to distribute the asset or any part thereof in the discharge of such lawful claims of only those creditors whose notice of claim is known to the Administrator-General. The disallowed claim by Administrator-General shall affect it only after the commencement of proceedings to enforce the claim in one month after such rejection. At the same time, computing limitation period, the period between the date of submission of claim and final decision of Administrator-General may be excluded.
- Section 29: When the value of deceased’s assets is below 10 lakh, the Administrator-General may grant any person other than the creditor, who is interested or due in administration, certificate of entitling the claimant to receive the assets or part thereof. Administrator-General shall not grant such certificate if probate of will or letter of administration has granted or any sum deposited in Government Saving bank or provident fund under Provident Funds Act shall be applicable. No certificate might be granted after one month of death unless it is requested by the Administrator-General to do so by writing under the hand of the executor or widow or other person and granting it.
- Section 30: As per section 29, when no one claims the estate other than creditors in due administration obtains a certificate from Administrator-General or probate of will or letters of administration, within three months of the death, the Administrator-General shall have powers to administer the estate without letters of administration. Creditors could apply for a certificate under section 29 if any neglecting or rejection on the part of Administrator-General. Administrator-General may before granting a certificate get a deposit for the administration of such estate.
- Section 32,33 & 34: The holder of the certificate has the same powers, duties and liabilities as a letter of administration was originally granted to him. The Administrator-General might revoke such certificate if it was obtained by fraud or misrepresentation or with means of false allegations of facts essential in law to justify the grant. When a holder under section 34 returns the certificate to the Administrator-General, he is not liable for any refund of fees. Still, failure to return would be punishable with imprisonment or fine, or both.
- Section 37: A person not domiciled in India, died left behind the assets in India or the country of domicile and proceedings under Section 29 & 30 have initiated, and there is the grant of administration of asset situated in that country, the holder of a certificate or Administrator-General shall call for claims of creditors and others within prescribed time and discharged the asset. The surplus, instead of transferring to the person entitled outside India, may, on the consent of the executor transfer to the person entitled domiciled in India.
- Section 38: This section speaks about the liability of the Government to make some for discharging any liabilities, which the Administrator-General like a private person would be liable, except in cases where Administrator-General or any of his officers not contributed or acting in due diligence they are unable to avert. In both cases, the Administrator-General or Government shall not be liable.
- Section 47 &48: In addition to the above powers, the Administrator-General has powers of make expenses for proper care and maintenance of the property and incur expenses on religious, charitable or other objects for improvement with the prior sanction of High Court. The Administrator-General has also exercised his powers while trying the suit.
- Section 51 & 52:The assets in the custody of the Administrator-General should be transferred to the account and credit of the Government after 12 years if no application for payment is made or granted by him. While in Section 52 it states that, any claim made with the satisfaction of the authority after such transfer, the State Government shall pay the principal amount to the claimant. If the claimant fails to satisfy, he shall file a petition before the High Court with his evidence and obtain an order for payment of the whole or portion of the principal amount.
- Section 56 & 58: Section 56 laid down that when a foreign person died in India leaving his property in India and no one appears for him or his estate, in such case Central Government by its order direct to grant letter of administration, instead of Administrator-General, to consular of that foreign country. Section 58 states that, if Administrator-General appoints under Army, Navy and Air Force Act, the court may grant letter of administration as per individual acts, for dealing with the estate.