The Parliament has passed Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2016 by voice vote to make amendments to the Enemy Property Act, 1968.
The Bill replaces the Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Ordinance, 2016 promulgated by President Pranab Mukherjee for five times.
The Bill passed by Lok Sabha incorporates the amendments made by the Rajya Sabha earlier. The Bill replacing the ordinance was passed by the Lok Sabha earlier but certain amendments were introduced to it in the Rajya Sabha, on the recommendations of a Select Committee.
Key Features of the Bill
- Defines enemy property as: Any property belonging to, held or managed on behalf of an enemy, an enemy subject or an enemy firm.
- Further, it expands definition to include legal heirs of enemies even if they are Indian citizens or of another country which is not an enemy and nationals of an enemy country who have changed their nationality to another country, etc.
- Custody of enemy property: The government has vested these properties in the Custodian of Enemy Property for India, an office instituted under the Central government.
- Once an enemy property is vested to the custodian, it shall continue to be vested in him. The law of succession does not apply to enemy property.
- Thus, enemy property will not revert back to enemy subject or enemy firm due to reasons such as death of subject or firm ceased to function.
About Enemy Property Act, 1968
After the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965, the Enemy Property Act was enacted in 1968, to regulate enemy properties and lists the Custodian’s powers. The act provided for the continuous vesting of enemy property in the custodian. The possession of enemy properties spread across many states in the country vest with the Union Government through the Custodian of Enemy Property for India.