Q: If a depositor in a bank or post office nominates someone other than the legal heirs without the knowledge of the latter, will the bank or post office ask for their consent before handing over the money to the nominee?
Kaushik Malik, Howrah, West Bengal
A: Since a nominee is only the custodian of the deceased personís money, he or she has the liability to distribute the amount among the legal heirs. Hence the consent of the latter is generally not sought by the concerned institutions before disbursing the money. However, if the nominee misuses the position, he or she may be held liable of criminal offences such as breach of trust and misappropriation of property.
Q:If an office does not respond to queries under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, what should the applicant do?
S. Mukherjee, Calcutta
A: If an applicant has not been furnished with information within the prescribed time of 30 days or 48 hours, as the case may be, under the Right to Information Act, he may prefer an appeal to the first appellate authority who is an officer senior in rank to the public information officer. But one has to do that within a period of 30 days after the prescribed time limit has expired.
Q:My brother had purchased a flat in Amarnath, Maharashtra. He and his family died in an accident in 2008. Another brother and I are now the legal owners of the flat by virtue of the succession certificate issued by the district delegate judge of South 24 Parganas. We asked the secretary of the apartment association for the monthly maintenance bills and the Amarnath Municipal Council for the property tax bills. They are all maintaining a studied silence. What should we do?
Chanchal Basu, Calcutta
A: You and your brother can serve a written intimation to the secretary and the municipal council regarding your status as the legal heirs of your deceased brother, enclosing all relevant documents, including the succession certificate. In the same letter you could request them to take the necessary action to record your names as the current owners, thereby handing over to you any dues. The letter should be sent by speed post accompanied with an acknowledgement due card. If this does not work, you could send a letter through a lawyer.