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Enemy Property Bill Referred to Select Committee
Mar 19, 2016

A Bill seeking to guard against claims of succession or transfer of properties left by people who migrated to Pakistan and China after the wars, which was passed by Lok Sabha in this session, referred to a Rajya Sabha House Committee for detailed scrutiny.

  • The Bill was passed by Lok Sabha on March 9 with the government overruling demands by some opposition parties for sending it to the Standing Committee of Parliament.

  • The Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2016, which amends the Enemy Property Act, 1968 was referred to a 23-member Committee headed by BJP member Bhupender Yadav.

  • The decision to refer the Bill to a House Committee was taken at a meeting of leaders of groups, who wanted a detailed discussion on the measure.

Salient Features

  • In the wake of the Indo-Pak war of 1965 and 1971, there was migration of people from India to Pakistan and under the Defence of India Rules framed under the Defence of India Act, the Government of India took over the properties and companies of such persons who had taken Pakistani nationality.

  • These 'enemy properties' were vested by the Central Government in the Custodian of Enemy Property for India.

  • The amendments 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 etc.

  • The new Bill also 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 provisions of 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 they do not revert back to the enemy subject or enemy firm.

  • The Enemy Property Act was enacted in the year 1968 by the Government of India, which provided for the continuous vesting of enemy property in the Custodian.

  • The Central Government through the Custodian of Enemy Property for India is in possession of enemy properties spread across many states in the country. In addition, there are also movable properties categorised as enemy properties.

  • After the 1965 war, India and Pakistan signed the Tashkent Declaration on 10 January 1966. There was a clause included in the Tashkent Declaration, which said that the two countries would discuss the return of the property and assets taken over by either side in connection with the conflict. However, the Government of Pakistan disposed of all such properties in their country in the year 1971 itself.

Enemy Property

  • The Office of the Custodian of Enemy Property is located at Mumbai with a Branch office at Calcutta.

  • As the enemy properties are scattered throughout the country, the work relating to their day to day preservation and management is being done through the Revenue Departments of various State Governments.

  • Both movable and immovable properties of Pakistani nationals are vested in the Custodian.

  • The enemy properties in India are being administered by the Custodian of Enemy Property for India, Mumbai who is entrusted with the custody, management and administration of enemy properties arising out of Indo-Pak Conflict of 1965 and 1971 in accordance with the provisions of the Enemy Property Act, 1968, as amended in 1977.

Enemy properties comprising both movable and immovable properties of Pakistani nationals were valued at Rs. 29.40 crores in 1971 and are vested in Custodian in the form of:

1. Land, buildings etc. scattered throughout the country

2. Vested firms’ securities, shares, debentures, etc

3. Bank balances, cash

4. Provident fund balances and gratuity


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