The Centre has re-promulgated an ordinance to amend the nearly 50-year-old Enemy Property Act, to guard against claims of succession or transfer of properties left by people who migrated to Pakistan and China after the wars.
The Centre had designated some properties belonging to nationals of Pakistan and China as “enemy properties” during the 1962, 1965 and 1971 conflicts. It vested these properties in the ‘Custodian of Enemy Property for India’, an office instituted under the central government.
The Enemy Property Act, 1968, regulates this enemy properties, and lists the powers of the Custodian. President Pranab Mukherjee has promulgated ‘The Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Second Ordinance, 2016’ on Saturday, according to an official notification.
The first ordinance was promulgated on January 7 and a bill to replace the executive order was introduced in Parliament in the Budget session. The Enemy property (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2016 has been passed by Lok Sabha and from Rajya Sabha it was referred to a select committee, which is examining it.
The Union Cabinet had on March 30 recommended repromulgating the ordinance. This was necessary as duration of the earlier issued ordinance was going to expire by Thursday.
As per the proposed amendments, 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 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 enemy firm.
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.