Bill to amend enemy property law introduced in LS

A bill to amendment a four-decade- old law which proposes to allow Indian legal heirs to inherit the properties of relatives who migrated to Pakistan after Partition was today introduced in the Lok Sabha.

Updated: Nov 15, 2010, 15:11 PM IST

New Delhi: A bill to amendment a four-decade-
old law which proposes to allow Indian legal heirs to inherit
the properties of relatives who migrated to Pakistan after
Partition was Monday introduced in the Lok Sabha.

Home Minister P Chidambaram introduced The Enemy Property
(Amendment and Validation) Second Bill, 2010, which grants
legal sanction to only those transactions effected before July
2 this year.

An attempt to get the amendments passed by Parliament
during the Monsoon session had come a cropper due to repeated
pleas and lobbying by MPs from various parties, including
several ministers, who pleaded to ensure that legal heirs are
allowed to hold the property of their parents or grandparents
who had migrated to Pakistan.

The biggest beneficiary of the amendment could be the Raja
of Mahmoodabad M A Mohammad Khan, who may get control over his
father`s properties spread across Uttar Pradesh once the
amendments are passed by Parliament.

According to the amendments, "If the enemy property was
divested from the Custodian before 2nd July, 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 2nd
July, 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," state the
amendments approved by the Union Cabinet on October 20.

Through an Act in 1968, the government had declared the
properties left behind by people who migrated to Pakistan
during partition as `enemy properties`.

The proposal for fresh amendments provide for ensuring
that the enemy property shall continue to vest in the
custodian till it is divested by the Central government and
the enemy property could be divested only to the owner or his
lawful heir.

As per the proposed amendments, 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 and no
court shall order divestment from the custodian or direct the
Central government to divest enemy property.

The Central government is authorised to direct the
custodian to sell or dispose of enemy properties in such a
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, according to the proposed amendments.

PTI