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    Disqualification of Trustee under Indian Trust Act, 1882

    Under the Indian Trust Act, 1882, a trustee is a person who is responsible for managing and administering the trust property for the benefit of the beneficiaries. The trustee has a fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries, which means that they must act in the best interests of the beneficiaries and manage the trust property with the highest level of care and diligence.

    The duties of a trustee under the Indian Trust Act include:

    1. Managing and administering the trust property in accordance with the terms of the trust deed.
    2. Protecting and preserving the trust property.
    3. Ensuring that the trust property is used for the benefit of the beneficiaries in accordance with the terms of the trust.
    4. Keeping proper records of the trust property and providing regular accountings to the beneficiaries.
    5. Seeking legal or professional advice as necessary to properly discharge their duties as a trustee.

    The role of a trustee is an important one, as they are responsible for ensuring that the trust property is managed and used in a manner that is consistent with the intentions of the settlor (the person who establishes the trust) and the best interests of the beneficiaries.

    A trustee is a person who is responsible for managing and administering a trust on behalf of the beneficiaries. Trustees are required to act in the best interests of the beneficiaries and to follow the terms of the trust agreement. If a trustee fails to fulfil their duties, they may be disqualified from continuing as a trustee.

    There are several circumstances under which a trustee may be disqualified under the Indian Trusts Act:

    1. Insolvency: If a trustee becomes insolvent or bankrupt, they may be disqualified as a trustee under section 17 of the Indian Trusts Act. This provision states that a trustee shall be disqualified if they become insolvent or make an arrangement or composition with their creditors. In the case of Chintaman Rao v. Moreshwar, the Bombay High Court held that a trustee who has made an arrangement or composition with their creditors is disqualified from acting as a trustee, as they are no longer fit to manage the trust property.
    2. Conflict of interest: If a trustee has a conflict of interest with the trust, they may be disqualified under section 18 of the Indian Trusts Act. This provision states that a trustee shall be disqualified if they have an interest in the trust property that is adverse to the interests of the beneficiaries. In the case of Neelkamal Realtors Pvt. Ltd. v. SBI, the Supreme Court of India held that a trustee who has a conflict of interest with the trust cannot be permitted to continue as a trustee, as they are likely to act in their own interests rather than in the best interests of the beneficiaries.
    3. Breach of trust: If a trustee breaches their duties or fails to follow the terms of the trust agreement, they may be disqualified under section 20 of the Indian Trusts Act. This provision allows a court to remove a trustee who has committed a breach of trust or who has otherwise been guilty of misconduct in the administration of the trust. In the case of N.R.Ramaswamy Iyer v. S.Ramaswamy Iyer, the Madras High Court held that a trustee who has committed a breach of trust may be removed by the court, even if the breach was not intentional.
    4. Absence from India: If a trustee is absent from India for a period of more than six months without the consent of the beneficiaries, they may be disqualified under section 21 of the Indian Trusts Act. This provision allows the beneficiaries to remove a trustee who is absent from India for an extended period of time. In the case of Swami Venkatasubba v. Swami Venkatachalapathy, the Madras High Court held that a trustee who is absent from India for more than six months without the consent of the beneficiaries may be removed by the court.
    5. Mental incapacity: If a trustee becomes mentally incapacitated or incapable of managing the trust, they may be disqualified under section 22 of the Indian Trusts Act. This provision allows a court to remove a trustee who is unable to fulfil their duties due to mental incapacity. In the Maharajadhiraja of Darbhanga v. Shambhu Nath, the Privy Council held that a trustee who is incapable of managing the trust due to mental incapacity may be removed by the court.

    In summary, a trustee may be disqualified under the Indian Trusts Act if they become insolvent, have a conflict of interest with the trust, breach their duties as a trustee, are absent from India for an extended period of time, or become mentally incapacitated.


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