Survey begins in 5 States to find new ‘enemy properties’

Press Trust of India New Delhi | Updated on January 20, 2018 Published on March 25, 2016


New Bill to amend Enemy Property Act

With the aim of finding new enemy properties, the government has launched a survey in five States, including Delhi, for identification of movable and immovable assets once held by people who migrated to Pakistan.

“The survey work has started in five States – Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and Delhi – for identification of new enemy properties,” a Home Ministry official said.

Team deployed

In order to detect more enemy properties in the States by conducting the survey in an organised manner, the Home Ministry has appointed 65 personnel, including 50 surveyors and 15 accountancy and management personnel, for the task.

After the Indo-Pak war of 1965 and 1971, many people migrated to that country subsequent to which the Indian government, in accordance with the Defence of India Rules, framed under the Defence of India Act, took over the properties and companies of such persons who had taken Pakistani nationality.

These ‘enemy properties’ were vested by the Central government in the Custodian of Enemy Property for India.

Among the enemy properties under the jurisdiction of custodian of Enemy Property of India in Mumbai are ₹310 crore worth fixed deposits, treasury bills and government stock, ₹177.6 crore worth bank balance and ₹37.54 lakh gold and silver jewellery, as on December 31, 2015. Officials said there are several thousand crores of rupees worth of ‘enemy properties’ spread across the country.

The survey was ordered before the Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2016, which sought to amend the Enemy Property Act, 1968, was referred to a Rajya Sabha House Committee for detailed scrutiny last fortnight.

The proposed amendments include that 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.

Through the proposed amendments, the government wants to ensure that the law of succession does not apply to enemy property; that there cannot be transfer of any property vested in the Custodian by an enemy or enemy subject or enemy firm and that the Custodian shall preserve the enemy property till it is disposed of in accordance with the provisions of the Act.

Plugging loophole

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 they do not revert back to the enemy subject or enemy firm.

The Enemy Property Act was enacted in 1968 by the government of India which provided for the continuous vesting of enemy property in the Custodian.

Published on March 25, 2016

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