Amir Mohammad Khan, the erstwhile Raja of Mahmudabad could get back his properties from the Custodian of Enemy Property if he meets a fresh 120-day deadline.
The deadline — to provide citizenship and legal status —is part of official amendments to the Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill.
Cleared by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, it will apply to people claiming enemy property on court orders. The Bill is expected to come up in Lok Sabha on Wednesday.
“People like him (Khan) will have to provide evidence, to the satisfaction of the government, that they are Indian citizens by birth and the lawful heir of the owner of the property designated as enemy property,” a government source told Hindustan Times.
The home ministry counts nearly 2,186 immovable assets — half of them in Uttar Pradesh — as enemy properties; that were owned by Pakistani nationals around the time of the 1965 war with Pakistan, and later. It has, however, only declared about 950 of them as enemy property so far.
The home ministry lost many of these prime properties in court cases beginning 2005 and tried to invalidate the judgments under the Enemy Property Ordinance, quietly promulgated on July 2.
The Ordinance restored control of all properties — classified as enemy property at any point — back to the government and gave wide-ranging powers to the Custodian.
Pressure from Muslim MPs including union ministers, however, forced the government to agree to restore the balance in favour of Indians who were “legitimate heirs” to the property and amend its ordinance.
But the amendments have exposed the government to charges of playing the minority card from the BJP.
Government officials acknowledge that the amendment did dilute the ordinance to the extent of restoring property rights of legal heirs of “enemy subjects” who migrated to Pakistan. But there is admission that the government too had probably gone overboard with the Ordinance.
“It not only invalidated the impact of judicial pronouncements but also government orders transferring an enemy property,” a government official conceded. “This situation will also been corrected,” he said.