Enemy Property Act
Union Home Minister Amit Shah is going to lead a Group of Ministers (GoM) as they seek to dispose of what is believed to be 9,400 'enemy properties', with a total estimated value of Rs 1 lakh crore.
Sale of Shares Of Enemy Property
- A total of 9,280 enemy properties had been left behind by Pakistani nationals, and 126 by Chinese nationals. The government estimates the value of these properties at approximately Rs 1 lakh crore.
- Two other high-level committees will be set up to oversee the sale of these properties, which are currently under the oversight of the Custodian of Enemy Property for India under the Enemy Property Act (1968).
ENEMY PROPERTY ACT, 1968
- The Enemy Property Act, enacted in 1968, provided for the continuous vesting of enemy property in the Custodian of Enemy Property for India. The central government, through the Custodian, is in possession of enemy properties spread across many states in the country.
- Properties of those who chose to migrate to China after the 1962 Sino-Indian war was also vested into the Custodian of Enemy Property (CEPI).
- In 2017, Parliament passed The Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2016, which amended The Enemy Property Act, 1968, and The Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971.
- It expanded the definition of 'enemy' to include the heir or successor of an enemy, “whether a citizen of India or a citizen of a country which is not an enemy; and the succeeding firm of an enemy firm, irrespective of the nationality of its members or partners.
- The amendment disallows any claim to the property made from relatives of individuals who originally owned the property, prior to the government re-possessing them.
- It prohibits civil courts from entertaining any disputes with regard to enemy property. It does not provide any alternative judicial remedy (eg. tribunals). Therefore, it limits judicial recourse or access to courts available to aggrieved persons.
- Several provisions of the law will retrospectively come into effect from 1968 when the Enemy Property Act was enacted
- The 1968 law prohibited the transfer of enemy property by an enemy if it was against public interest or if it was done to avoid transfer of property to the custodian. The new law prohibits all transfers by an enemy. The amended law says that enemy properties will continue to vest with the custodian, even after the death of enemies; even if the legal heir is an Indian; and even if the enemy changes his nationality
- Under the old law, the custodian could sell an enemy property only "in the interest of preserving the property" or "to secure maintenance of the enemy or his family in India". Now, the custodian can dispose of an enemy property after getting approval from the Central government.
- Earlier, the custodian was supposed to maintain the enemy and his family if they are in India from the income derived from the property. The custodian will no longer be responsible for providing for the enemy and his family.
The thrust of the enemy protection (Amendment) Act was to guard against claims of succession or transfer of properties left by people who migrated to Pakistan and China after the wars. This was done with an aim to negate the effect of a court judgment in this regard in which the court ordered in favour of Son of erstwhile Raja of Mahmudabad when he claimed stake on raja's property after his death.
PEPPER IT WITH
Erstwhile Raja of Mahmudabad Case, DIPAM, CEPI