Cabinet okays amendments to Enemy Property Act

Written by: Samyuktha
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New Delhi, Oct 20: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday, Oct 20 okayed the proposed amendments to the Enemy Property Act of 1968.

The meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, approved the proposal of the Ministry of Home Affairs to introduce the Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Second Bill, 2010 to amend the the Enemy Property Act, 1968.

The Bill is aimed at allowing India-born legal heirs to claim property left behind by those who migrated to Pakistan after Partition after they prove their status to the government.

The proposed amendments and related details are listed below:

  • The enemy property shall continue to vest in the Custodian till it is divested by the Central Government
  • The enemy property could be divested only to the owner or his lawful heir
  • If the enemy property was divested from the Custodian before July 2, 2010, it shall stand transferred to and vest or continue to vest in the Custodian. If, however, the enemy property was divested from the Custodian by a valid order made under section 18 prior to July 2, 2010 or where the property had been returned to the owner or his lawful heir by an order of the court; and if the lawful heir is a citizen of India by birth, such enemy property will continue to remain with such person
  • The transfer of any enemy property shall not include any transfer or any claim of transfer made through oral will or oral gift or if it has been done without the permission of the competent authority
  • No court shall order divestment from the Custodian or direct the Central Government to divest enemy property
  • The Central Government is authorized to direct the Custodian to sell or dispose of enemy properties in such manner as may be prescribed
  • To amend the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971 to declare the Custodian, Deputy Custodian and Assistant Custodian of Enemy Properties as Estate Officer in respect of the enemy properties
  • The amendments will have retrospective effect

The amendment Bill will next be introduced in the winter session of parliament, which begin on Nov 9.

The Raja of Mehmoodabad has fought a long and hard legal battle, which he won in the Supreme Court, to reclaim property under the Act.

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