What Happens If You Find Treasure Inside Your Property?

You can mark your claim over the treasure discovered on your property, but several conditions apply

To find treasure on your land or an ancestral house can be an overwhelming experience. Such treasures can include items such as gold, jewellery, artifacts, etc. However, before you start thinking about living a life of luxury, there are various legal aspects to be considered. To fully understand the implications, here’s a look at what happens if you find treasure on your property.

Provisions under the Indian Treasure-Trove Act (1878)

Discovery of a treasure in India is governed by the Indian Treasure-Trove Act (1878). There are various aspects that need to be considered to define the ownership of the treasure discovered inside your property.

Reporting the treasure

If you find a treasure on your property, it is mandatory to report such findings to the collector of your district. You need to state the location of the treasure, the contents of the treasure, date of finding the treasure and other relevant details. You can deposit the treasure to the nearest government treasury. Or you can keep it with you temporarily, with the guarantee that you will submit it to the government when requested.

Who gets the treasure found on your property?

Government authorities will issue notices in leading newspapers regarding the treasure being found. The purpose is to understand if there is any real owner of that treasure. In case no one comes forward to claim it, the finder of the treasure can become the owner. However, the government will claim its share of the treasure before giving it to you. The government’s share, charged as tax or duty, is usually in the range of 20% to 50%.

If you are the tenant and not the owner of the property, the treasure can be shared equally between the tenant and the landowner. In certain cases, there can be multiple claimants to the treasure. In such instances, the ownership of the treasure will be determined by the courts. The treasure, in the meantime, will be deposited with the collector for safekeeping.

Treasures of historical importance

If the treasure you find on your property is of historical value, it will be deemed as an antique. This is governed as per the Antiquities and Art Valuables Act (1972). This is mostly applicable for treasures that are considered more than 100 years old. In such cases, the government may take full ownership of the treasure. You will be rewarded with the value of the treasure and some extra premium amount as well.

Hiding treasure is a crime

It is mandatory for everyone to report the discovery of a treasure to the government. If you try to hide the treasure, you can be punished with a fine or imprisonment or both. By following the mandated legal procedures, you can enjoy your share of the treasure you discovered on your property.

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