Rajya Sabha passes Enemy Property Bill amid Opposition walkout

The Bill was passed by voice vote in the Upper House even as the Opposition demanded to defer the debate for thorough deliberation next week.

Published: 10th March 2017 08:44 PM  |   Last Updated: 11th March 2017 12:08 AM   |  A+A-

Members in the Rajya Sabha in New Delhi (File | PTI)

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Amid a walkout by the entire Opposition, the Rajya Sabha on Friday passed the Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2016 that seeks to amend the Enemy Property Act, 1968.
 
The Bill was passed by voice vote in the Upper House even as the Opposition demanded to defer the debate for thorough deliberation next week.
 
Among other things, the amendments to the Bill seek to ensure that the law of succession does not apply in the case of enemy property and are expected to plug the loopholes of the earlier Act. The Bill also seeks to prohibit civil courts and other authorities from entertaining disputes related to enemy property.
 
The Lok Sabha had passed the Bill in March, 2016 and the Rajya Sabha had referred it to the Select Committee. The Government then moved some amendments to the Bill in view of certain recommendations by the Select Committee. Soon after the passage of the amended Bill, the Upper House returned it to the Lower House for final passage.
 
When the Bill was taken up in the Rajya Sabha for consideration, senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh told the House, “Many senior members including the Leader of Opposition are not present in the House for a variety of reasons. Therefore the bill should be taken up for discussion and passage on the next working day."
    
Other members including Javed Ali Khan (Samajwadi Party) and Sukhendu Shekhar Roy (Trinamool Congress) echoed Ramesh’s sentiments for debating the Bill next week.
 
The government, however, took up the Bill for discussion after which it was passed by a voice vote. The entire Opposition walked out following the Government’s stand to take up the Bill despite their objection.
  
The Leader of the House Arun Jaitely said the Ordinance containing the amendments in the Act would lapse on March 14, 2017 and the issue had security implications. He said the right of the enemy property should vest in the Government of India and not in the heirs of the citizens of the enemy countries.

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