Shajeeda O.M Tajdeen, LL.M, S.N.D.T University
The Supreme Court Bench Comprising of Justices N.V Ramana and D.Y Chandrachud restricted the Collectors from gaining control over private properties if there are no heirs or in cases where there is no will executed to determine the fate of such properties. The Apex Court while pronouncing this judgment also took into consideration properties which belong to Hindu Religious Charitable institutions. The Supreme Court has fully debarred the Collectors from enjoying the possession of such properties on the grounds of lack of jurisdiction. The Court stated that such of type properties shall be dealt by the Civil Courts as they fall within their jurisdiction, and the Civil Courts alone have the rights to determine the future course of action in cases of such left alone properties depending upon its territorial jurisdiction. Justice Chandrachud said that if the administrative authorities are permitted to decide over the ‘claim or proprietary rights’ of any property which is specifically within the domain of a Civil Courts, would be against the rule of law. He further stated that a Collector is the State’s officer and falls within the purview of administrative authority and thus, he is disallowed by law to give any verdict in cases of such properties. Justice Chandrachud, further mentioned that any matter which deals with title of properties shall be brought before and decided by the Civil Court. Section 9, of Code of Civil Procedure empowers the Civil Courts of competent jurisdiction to try suits in which the title of a property is contested. However, The Hindu Succession Act, provides that in case of intestate property, the Government shall take over the title of such property after settling off the liabilities to which an heir would have been subjected.