the State of West Bengal

The Bengal Charitable Endowments, Public Buildings And Escheats Regulation, 1810

A Regulation for the due appropriation of the rents and produce of lands granted for the support of colleges and other purposes; for the maintenance and repair of public buildings; and for the custody and disposal of nazul property or escheats.

The Bengal Charitable Endowments, Public Buildings And Escheats Regulation, 1810

Bengal Regulation 19 of 1810

[14th December, 1810.]

1. Preamble. – Whereas considerable endowments have been granted in land by the preceding Governments of this country and by individuals for the support of  colleges and for other beneficial purposes; and whereas there are grounds to suppose that the produce of such lands is in many instances appropriated, contrary to the intentions of the donors, to the personal use of the individuals in immediate charge and possession of such endowments; and whereas it is an important duty of every Government to provide that all such endowments be applied according to the real intent and will of the grantor; and whereas it is moreover essential to provide for the maintenance and repair of  buildings which have been erected either at the expense of Government or of individuals for the use and convenience of the public, and also to establish proper rules for the custody and disposal of nazul property or escheats, the following rules have been enacted, to be in force, from the period of their promulgation, throughout the [territories] immediately dependent on the Presidency of Fort William.

2. Superintendence of lands granted for support of colleges, & c. – The general superintendence of all lands granted for the support of  colleges and for other [* * *] beneficial purposes, and of all public buildings, such as bridges, sarais, kattras and other edifices is hereby vested in the Board of Revenue .

3. Appropriation of endowments. – It shall be the duty of the Board of Revenue  to take care that all endowments made for the maintenance of establishments of the above description be duly appropriated to the purpose for which they were destined by the Government or individual by whom such endowments were granted.
In like manner it shall be the duty of [the Board of Revenue] to provide, with the sanction [of the State Government], for the due repair and maintenance of all public edifices which have been erected, either at the expense of the former or present Government or of individuals, and which either at present are or can conveniently be rendered conducive to the convenience of the community.

4. Disposal of ruined buildings. – In those cases, however, in which any of the buildings in question have fallen to decay, and cannot, from that or other causes, be conveniently repaired, or are not calculated if repaired to afford any material accommodation to the public, the [Board] shall recommend that they be sold on the public account, or otherwise disposed of as may appear most expedient.

5. Lands or public edifices not to be appropriated by individuals for private uses. – Under the foregoing rules it will of course be incumbent on the Board of Revenue to prevent any lands which have been granted for the support of establishments of the above description from being converted to the private use of individuals, or appropriated in any other mode contrary to the intent and will of the donor; and likewise to prevent all public edifices from being usurped by individuals and falling into the possession and exclusive use of private persons.

6. Estimates of necessary repairs to be submitted to State Government. – Whenever the Board of Revenue  may be of opinion that any of the above-mentioned edifices require repair, they shall obtain the necessary estimates of the expense required for the execution of the work, and forward them [to the State Government] for its approval.

7. Superintendence of nazul property. – The general superintendence of all nazul property or escheats is likewise hereby vested in the Board of Revenue  who will inform themselves fully through the channel hereafter mentioned of all property of that description, and [direct whether it should] be sold on the public account, or in what other mode it should be disposed of.

8. Appointment of local agents. – To enable the Board of Revenue  better to carry into effect the duties entrusted to them by this Regulation, local agents shall be appointed in each zila subject to the authority, control and orders of [the Board]

9. Collector to be ex-officio agent with others. – The Collector of the zila shall be ex-officio one of those agents, with whom the State Government will unite such other public officers, whether in the civil, military or medical branch of the service, as may from time to time be judged expedient.

10. Agents to ascertain and report particulars of endowments, etc. – Under the provisions of the present Regulation it will of course be the duty of the agents to obtain full information from the public records, and by personal inquiries, respecting all endowments, establishments and buildings of the nature of those above described and of all nazul property or escheats, and to report to the Board  any instances in which they may have reason to believe that the lands or buildings are improperly appropriated; being in all cases careful not to infringe any private rights, or to occasion unnecessary trouble or vexation to individuals.

11. Also names, etc., of present trustees of managers. – The said agents will further ascertain and report the names, together with other particulars, of the present trustees, managers or superintendents of the several institutions, foundations or establishments above described, whether under the designation of matawali or any other and by whom and under what authority appointed or elected, and whether in conformity to the special provisions of the original endowment and appropriation by the founder, or under any general rule or maxim applicable to such institutions and foundations.

12. And all vacancies or casualties, with full information as to pretensions of claimants. – The local agents will also report to the [Board of Revenue] all vacancies and casualties which may occur, with full information of all circumstances, to enable the [Board] to judge of the pretensions of the person or persons claiming the trust; particularly whether the succession have been heretofore by inheritance in the line of descent, or whether the successor have been in former instances elected, and by whom, or whether he has been nominated by the founder or his heir or representative, or by any other individual patron of the foundation, or by any officer or representative of Government, or directly by the Government itself.

13. To recommend fit persons in cases where nomination rests in Government. – In those cases in which the nomination has usually rested with the present or former Government, or with a public officer, or of right appertains [to the State Government], in consequence of no private person being competent and entitled to make sufficient provision for the succession to the trust and management, it will be the further duty of the local agents to propose, for the approval and confirmation of the [Board of Revenue], a fit person or persons for the charge of trustee or manager and superintendent, duly attending to the qualifications of the person selected, and to any special provisions of the original endowment and foundation, and to the general rules or the known usages, of the country applicable to such cases.

14. Board to appoint such persons, or make other provisions for trust. – On the receipt of the report and information required by the preceding clause, the Board of Revenue [* * *] will either appoint the person or persons nominated for their approval or will make such other provision for the trust, superintendence and management as may be right and fit with reference to the nature and conditions of the endowment having previously called for any requisite further information from the local agents.

15. Saving of private rights. – Nothing contained in this Regulation shall be construed to preclude any individual who may conceive that he has just grounds of complaint on account of any orders which may be passed by any of the abovementioned authorities, with respect to the appropriation of any lands or buildings of the nature of those above described, from suing  for the recovery thereof in the regular course of law, or for compensation in damages for any loss or injury supposed to have been unduly sustained by him.

16. Object of Regulation. – It is to be clearly understood that the object of the present Regulation is solely to provide for the due appropriation of lands granted for public purposes agreeably to the intent of the grantor, and not to resume any part of the produce of them for the benefit of Government.
In like manner it is fully intended that all buildings erected by the former or present Government or by individuals for the convenience of the public should be exclusively appropriated to that purpose, with the exception of such as have fallen to decay and cannot from that or any other cause be conveniently repaired, or which, under existing circumstances, can no longer contribute to the accommodation of the community.

16A. Functions of the Board of Revenue to be discharged by the Commissioner of Wakfs in West Bengal. – Notwithstanding anything contained in this Regulation the functions of the Board of Revenue under this Regulation shall be discharged in respect of any wakf property in] [West Bengal] by the Commissioner of Wakfs appointed under the Bengal Wakf Act, 1934 :

Provided that the powers under section 14 of this Regulation shall be exercised by the Board of Wakf constituted under the said Act.