Bill to amend Enemy Property Act passed
Rajya Sabha passed a Bill to amend a 49-year-old law to guard against claims of succession or transfer of properties left by people who migrated to Pakistan and China, amid a walkout by the entire Opposition.
The Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2016, which amends the Enemy Property Act, 1968, was passed by voice vote in the Rajya Sabha.
- The measure was passed by the Lok Sabha in March last year. After this, the Rajya Sabha had sent it to a select committee, following whose recommendations, the government had moved a number of amendments to it. After the amended bill was passed by a voice vote by the Rajya Sabha, it was returned to the Lok Sabha for final passage just before it was adjourned for the day.
- The ordinance effecting the amendments in the Act would lapse on March 14, 2017 and this was a security issue also.
- It was a principle that government should not allow commercial interests or properties of an enemy country or its citizens. The right of the enemy property should vest in the Government of India and not in the heirs of the citizens of the enemy countries.
- The amendments proposed include that once an enemy property is vested in the Custodian, it shall continue to be vested in him as enemy property irrespective of whether the enemy, enemy subject or enemy firm has ceased to be an enemy due to reasons such as death.
- The new Bill ensures that the law of succession does not apply to enemy property; that there cannot be transfer of any property vested in the Custodian by an enemy or enemy subject or enemy firm and that the Custodian shall preserve the enemy property till it is disposed of in accordance with the Act.
- The amendments are aimed at plugging the loopholes in the Act to ensure that the enemy properties that have been vested in the Custodian remain so and do not revert to the enemy subject or firm.
- The Bill also prohibits civil courts and other authorities from entertaining disputes related to enemy property.