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President signs ordinance to amend Enemy Property Act

The Narendra Modi government, following the footsteps of the previous UPA government, has been keen to amend the Enemy Property Act.

New Delhi: An ordinance to amend the 47-year-old Enemy Property Act has been approved by President Pranab Mukherjee to allow custodians to continue to hold sway over such properties.

The ordinance amends the provisions of the Act declaring that all "enemy property" vested in the 'custodian' would continue to vest in the custodian irrespective of the death or extinction of the enemy.

The custodian of enemy property in the country is an Indian government department that is empowered to appropriate property in India owned by Pakistani nationals.

After the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, the Enemy Property Act was promulgated in 1968.

The Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Ordinance, 2016, which amends Enemy Property Act,1968 and the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971, has been promulgated by the President yesterday, official sources said on Friday.

The Narendra Modi government, following the footsteps of the previous UPA government, has been keen to amend the Enemy Property Act.

A new section has been inserted in the ordinance to say that "the Custodian, may, after making such inquiry as he deems necessary, by order, declare that the property of the enemy or the enemy subject or the enemy firm described in the order, vests in him under this Act and issue a certificate to this effect and such certificate shall be the evidence of the facts stated therein".

While the UPA government had promulgated the Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Ordinance, the Bill introduced in Parliament could not be passed due to various issues, including differences within the government itself.

Since assuming charge in May 2014, the NDA government has taken the ordinance route at least a dozen times, with the first nine ordinances being promulgated in the first eight months of the government.