NEW DELHI: Members of a Parliamentary panel today voiced displeasure over states not sending senior officials to present their views on a Bill that seeks to guard against claims of succession or transfer of 'enemy' properties left by people who migrated to Pakistan and China.
The Select Committee of Rajya Sabha headed by BJP MP Bhupendra Yadav which is examining Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2016, has called another meeting tomorrow in which it will hear the views of Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi besides experts and stakeholders on the provisions of the Bill.
The panel had called Chief Secretaries of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Uttarakhand and Delhi for today's meeting.
Most of the states had sent junior officers. Some sent only their Resident Commissioners based in Delhi. Panel members took strong objection to it as it was also found that most of the officials were not well-prepared on the issue.
"We had called Chief Secretaries of these states to tell us about the existence of enemy properties in their states as well as the view point of the respective state governments on the enemy property bill. However, most officials came uninformed, which led to consternation among panel members," a source said.
Taking it into view, the panel Chairman decided to call another meeting on April 19, making it clear that the Chief Secretaries or Revenue Secretaries of the states should be attending it.
In its first meeting on March 28, the panel had asked the government to explain what kind of laws exist in Pakistan and Bangladesh to deal with similar issues as officials from the Home and Law ministries had briefed it on the measure.
The panel has been asked to carry out detailed scrutiny of the measure that seeks to guard against claims of succession or transfer of properties left by people who migrated to Pakistan and China after the wars and amend the Enemy Property Act, 1968.
The central government had designated some properties belonging to nationals of Pakistan and China as "enemy properties" during the 1962, 1965 and 1971 conflicts. It vested these properties in the ‘Custodian of Enemy Property for India’, an office instituted under the central government.
The 1968 Act regulates these enemy properties, and lists the powers of the Custodian.
The panel has been tasked to scrutinise the Bill and submit its report in the opening week of the Parliament session which begins from April 25.
The first meeting of the panel on March 28 had seen a detailed presentation about the Bill, when Utpal Chakraborty, Custodian of Enemy Properties for India, and senior officers from the Home Ministry and Law Ministry appeared before the panel.