Heirs of those who migrated to Pakistan and China during Partition will have no claim over the properties left behind in India, with Parliament on Tuesday passing a Bill to amend a 49-year-old law.
The Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2016, which amends the Enemy Property Act, 1968, was passed by voice vote in the Lok Sabha, incorporating the amendments made by the Rajya Sabha last week. The LS had passed the Bill earlier but certain amendments were introduced to it in the RS, on the recommendations of a Select Committee. Those amendments had to be approved by the Lower House, which was done on Tuesday.
RSP member N.K. Premachandran had moved a statutory amendment seeking to introduce clarity with regard to those properties which had already been acquired by the heirs of the ‘enemy’ property owners, a reference to nationals of Pakistan and China.
According to the Bill, “enemy property” refers to any property belonging to, held or managed on behalf of an enemy, an enemy subject or an enemy firm. The government has vested these properties in the Custodian of Enemy Property for India, an office instituted under the Central government.
After the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965, the Enemy Property Act was enacted in 1968, which regulates such properties and lists the Custodian’s powers.
“The purpose of [the] Bill is to clarify the 1968 Act. Inheritance law will not be applicable on Enemy Property...This will put an end to the long-pending issue which should have ideally happened in 2010 when the Bill was introduced,” Home Minister Rajnath Singh said.