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Ministry of Law and Justice

Act nº 6 of 1878

  • Part 1
  • Part 2
  • Part 3
  • Schedules
  • Act nº 6 of 1878



[Act, No. 6 of 1878]

[13th February, 1878]


An Act to amend the law relating to Treasure-trove.

WHEREAS it is expedient to amend the law relating to treasure-trove; It is hereby enacted as follows:

Part 1

Section 1. Short title

This Act may be called the Indian Treasure-trove Act, 1878.

It extends to the whole of India except { Subs.by the Adaptation of Laws (No.2) Order, 1956, for " Part BStates ".} [the territories which, immediately before the 1st November, 1956, were comprised in Part BStates].

{ The words " And it shall come into force at once." rep.by Act 10 of 1914, section 3 and Schedule II.}

Section 2. [Repealed]

[Repeal of enactment's.] Repealed by the Repealing and Amending Act, 1891 (12 of 1891), section 2 and Schedule I.

Interpretation- clause." Treasure."

Section 3. Interpretation clause Treasure

- In this Act"

treasure " means anything of any value hidden in the soil, or ' in anything affixed thereto:

" Collector ".-

" Collector " means (1) any Revenue-officer in independent charge of a district, and (2) any officer appointed by the State Government to perform the functions of a Collector under this Act


When any person is entitled, under any reservation in an instrument of transfer of any land or thing affixed thereto.to treasure in such land or thing, he shall, for the purposes of this Act, be deemed to be the owner of such land or thing.

Part 2

Section 4. Notice by finder of treasure

Whenever any treasure exceeding in amount or value ten rupees found, the finder shall, as soon as practicable, give to the Collector notice in writing

(a) of the nature and amount or approximate value of such treasure;

(b) of the place in which it was found;

(c) of the date of the finding;

and either deposit the treasure in the nearest Government treasury, or give the Collector such security as the Collector thinks fit, to produce the treasure at such time and place as he may from time to time require.

Section 5. Notification requiring claimants to appear

On receiving a notice under section 4, the Collector shall, after making such enquiry (if any) as he thinks fit, take the following steps (namely):

(a) he shall publish a notification in such manner as the State Government from time to time prescribes in this behalf, to the effect that, on a certain date (mentioning it) certain treasure (mentioning its nature, amount and approximate value) was found in a certain place (mentioning it); and requiring all persons claiming the treasure, or any part thereof, to appear personally or by agent before the Collector on a day and at a place therein mentioned, such day not being earlier than four months, or later than six months, after the date of 'the publication of such notification;

(b) when the place in which 'the treasure appears to the: Collector to have been found was at the date of the finding in the possession of some person other than the finder, the Collector shall also serve on such person a special notice in writing to the same effect.

Section 6. Forfeiture of right on failure to appear

Any person having any right to such treasure or any part there- of, as owner of the place in which it was found or otherwise, and not appearing as required by the notification issued under section 5, shall to forfeit such right.

Section 7. Matters to be enquired into and determined by the Collector

On the day notified under section 5, the Collector shall cause the treasure to be produced before him, and shall enquire as to and, determine

(a) the person by whom, the place in which, and the circumstances under which, such treasure was found; and

(b) as far as is possible, the person by whom, and the circumstances under which, such treasure was hidden.

Section 8. Time to be allowed for suit by person claiming the treasure

If, upon an enquiry made under section 7, the Collector sees reason to believe that the treasure was hidden within one hundred years before the date of the finding, by a person appearing as required by the said notification and claiming such treasure, or by some other person under whom such person claims, the Collector shall make an order adjourning the hearing of the case for such period as he deems sufficient, to allow of a suit being instituted in the Civil Court by the claimant to establish his right.

Section 9. When treasure may be declared ownerless

If upon such enquiry the Collector sees no reason to believe that the treasure was so hidden; or

if, where a period is fixed under section 8, no suit- is instituted as aforesaid within such period to the knowledge or

if such suit isf the Collector; orif such suit is instituted within such period, and the plaintiff's claim is finally rejected; the Collector may declare the treasure to be ownerlessection

Any person aggrieved by a declaration made under this section may appeal against the same within two months from the date thereof to the Chief Controlling Revenue-authority {.For definition of Chief Controlling Revenue Authority, see the General Clauses Act, 1897 (10 of 1897), section 3 (10).}

Subject to such appeal, every such declaration shall be final and conclusive.

Section 10. Proceedings sub-sequent to declaration

When a declaration has been made in respect of any treasure under section 9, such treasure shall' in accordance with the provisions hereinafter contained, either be delivered to the finder thereof, or be divided between him and the owner of the place in which it has been found in manner hereinafter provided.

Section 11. When no other person claims as owner of place, treasure to be given to finder

When a declaration has been made in respect of any treasure as aforesaid, and no person other than the finder of such treasure has appeared as required by the notification published under section 5 and claimed a share of the treasure as owner of the place in which it has been found, the Collector shall deliver such treasure to the finder thereof.

Section 12. When only one such person claims and his claim is not disputed, treasure to be divided

When a declaration has been made as aforesaid in respect of any treasure, and only one person other than the finder of such treasure has so appeared and claimed, and the claim of such person is not disputed by the finder, the Collector shall proceed to divide the treasure between the finder and the person so claiming according to the following rule (namely):

If the finder and the person so claiming have not entered into any agreement then in force as to the disposal of the treasure, three fourths of the treasure shall be allotted to such finder and the residue to such person. If such finder and such person have entered into any such agreement, the treasure shall be disposed of in accordance therewith:

Provided that the Collector may in any case, if he thinks fit, instead of dividing any treasure as directed by this section,

(a) allot to either party the whole or more than his share o such treasure, on such party paying to the Collector of the other party such sum of money as the Collector ma fix as the equivalent of the share of such other party, o of the excess so allotted. as the case may be; or

(b) sell such treasure or any portion thereof by public auction and divide the sale-proceeds between the parties according to the rule hereinbefore prescribed:

Provided also, that when the Collector has by his declaration uncle section 9 rejected any claim made under this Act by any person of the. than the said finder or person claiming as owner of the place in which the treasure was found, such division shall not be made until after the expiration of two months without an appeal having been presented under section 9 by the person whose claim has been so rejected, or, when an appeal has been so presented, after such appeal has been dismissed.

When the Collector has made a division under this section, he shall to deliver to the parties the portions of such treasure, or the money in de lieu thereof, to which they are respectively entitled under such to division.