IN recent weeks, there have been a number of letters published in these columns regarding the new rules for nomination under the National Savings Scheme (NSS), and, subsequently, there was a news report clarifying the issue. Every writer has expressed disapproval of the new rules, foreseeing the ordeal a claimant is likely to experience in obtaining a succession certificate from the court of law.
In this context, it is pertinent to refer to a couple of Quranic verses dealing with bequest that has been prescribed as almost mandatory for one before his/her death if he/she leaves behind wealth for parents or close relatives.
Also, whoever then alters it, the sin of it is only upon those who alter it.
In cases where a written nomination is signed by the investors at the time of making investment, such as in the NSS, in favour of “parents or close relatives”, why such nominations cannot be treated as the will of the deceased? Such nominations should, therefore, be considered in compliance with Islamic law.
Where does the Muslim Law of Heritance attract the jurisdiction of a court of law to decide the heirs of a deceased? The NSS Central Directorate is supposed to be the ‘Ameen’ (custodian) of the money invested in any of its schemes. Will any appropriation of the fund without the consent of the depositor not amount to ‘khayanat’ in the ‘amanat’? Is this allowed under the Islamic law? Whom will this sin be upon?
The rules of exemption meant for investments not exceeding Rs100,000 can be applied on higher investments also with slight modifications. In addition to the process applicable to the exempted limit, a public notice prescribed by the NSS Central Directorate shall be published in local newspapers, both in Urdu and English, for any claim to be referred to the relevant branch within seven days of the publication. In case no claim has been received by the branch concerned, the amount, as nominated by the deceased investor, shall be accordingly disposed of.
If the government is adamant in terms of enforcing the change in the nomination rules, it should not be made applicable to the investments made prior to the date when the new rules came into force. Public in general may accept any change in the rules if it excludes the involvement of the court of law.
S. Zaki Hasan
Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2020