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LS Passes Enemy Property Law Tweak

The Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed a bill to amend a 48-year-old law to guard against claims of succession or transfer of properties.

Published: 10th March 2016 05:29 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th March 2016 05:29 AM   |  A+A-

NEW DELHI: The Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed a bill to amend a 48-year-old law to guard against claims of succession or transfer of properties left by people who migrated to Pakistan and China after the wars.

The bill was passed after most Opposition parties supported it, even though the Congress suggested it be referred to a standing committee for “detailed study”. The Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2016, which amends the Enemy Property Act, 1968, was passed by  voice vote. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, replying during the discussion, said that the bill did not pertain to Pakistan alone, but also to Chinese people who left India after the 1962 Sino-India War.

According to the bill, properties left behind by people who migrated to either Pakistan or China during the Indo-Pak wars of 1965 and 1971 were taken over by the government and a law was enacted for the management of the property. However, the NDA government amended the law so that the same property could not be claimed by the heirs of the original owners even if the original owners had died or their status was no longer that of an enemy. After the wars, Pakistan and China were classified as enemies, hence the terminology.

With the amendments, the property vested in the hands of the custodian would continue to remain in his/her hands.

Some opposition parties slammed the government for going for an ordinance. Congress member Shashi Tharoor pressed for the bill to be referred to a standing committee. “It will create two types of Indians..we are bifurcating the very idea of Indian citizenship,” he argued, adding it would affect the interest of minorities.

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