Describe Enemy Property
Enemy Property: Enemy properties are the tangible possessions that individuals who fled India during the 1962 Indo-China War, the 1965 India-Pakistan War, and the 1971 Indo-Pakistan War left behind.
The Indian government took over ownership of the movable and immovable property left behind by the individuals who fled India following the Indo-China War in 1962 and the Wars with Pakistan in 1965 and 1971. These estates, which are dispersed throughout numerous Indian states, are referred to as enemy properties.
The Defence of India Act, 1939 established the Custodian of Enemy Property for India (CEPI), a department in control of enemy property in India. The centre essentially controls all hostile properties in India through the Custodian. India and Pakistan agreed to explore the potential restoration of assets captured by either side during the 1965 war when they signed the Tashkent Declaration in 1966. In violation of this pledge, Pakistan destroyed all of its adversary’s property in 1971.
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What is the legislation against enemy property?
The Enemy Property Act, which established the custody and management of enemy property, was passed into law in India in 1968. However, the centre was compelled to update the 50-year-old statute in 2017 due to an increase in succession claims from the legitimate heirs of the original owners of hostile properties. The text of the bill states, citing particular instances, “Of late, there have been many rulings by various courts, impacting the functions of the CEPI (Custodian) and the government of India as provided under the Act, negatively.”
The number of such cases has dramatically increased as a result of a Supreme Court decision from 2005. The top court decided in favour of the son, who claimed possession of the land following his father’s passing in 1973, when it came to the ownership of the estate of the former raja of Mahmudabad.
After the Partition, his father, who owned a number of historic properties in Sitapur, Lucknow, and Nainital, departed for Iraq. In 1957, he became a citizen of Pakistan. Later, he moved to London, where he passed away. The raja’s estate was designated enemy property in accordance with the rules of the 1968 statute on enemy property, even though the raja’s wife and son remained in India as Indian nationals. The SC restored the raja’s son to possession of the estate after a court struggle that lasted more than 40 years. However, the order was rendered invalid when the 2017 law’s regulations went into effect retroactively.
In order to alter the Enemy Property Act of 1968 and the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorized Occupants) Act of 1971, the Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill of 2016 was proposed. Following the Lok Sabha’s passage of the Bill in March 2017, the Bill was approved by parliament. The 2017 legislation declared that, regardless of their nationality, the successors of persons who left India during the wars of 1962, 1965, and 1971 cannot claim ownership over enemy properties in order to more broadly define what constitutes a “enemy” and a “enemy subject.”
Enemy property in India: Key facts
- In-charge: Custodian of Enemy Property for India (CEPI)
- Number of properties: 9,406
- worth: Rs 1 lakh crore (immovable assets)
- Estimated worth of enemy shares: Rs 3,000 crores
- worth of enemy jewellery: Rs 38 lakhs
Important aspects of the 2017 enemy property law
Definition of enemy
The legal heir and successor of any adversary, whether an Indian citizen or a citizen of a nation that is not an enemy, are included in the definitions of “enemy” and “enemy subject.” Regardless of the nationality of its partners or members, the following firm of an enemy firm will likewise be included in the definition of “enemy firm.” Additionally, it states that any customs or usages controlling succession as well as the law of succession will not apply to property belonging to an adversary.
According to the Defence of India Rules, 1962, In-charge provides for the continuing vesting of enemy property with the Custodian. Even if the enemy or enemy person or enemy company ceases to be an enemy owing to death, extinction. Winding up of business, or change of nationality, the enemy property will continue to vest in the Custodian. This holds true whether the legal heir or successor is an Indian citizen or a national of a non-enemy nation.
Such properties can only be sold by the Custodian with the prior consent of the federal government. It states that “no enemy, enemy subject, or enemy firm shall have any right or be regarded to have any right. To transfer any property vested in the Custodian and any transfer of such property shall be invalid.”
Indian enemy property: most recent information
In UP, 31% of enemy properties are being illegally occupied.
November 7, 2022: According to the state administration of Uttar Pradesh, a third of enemy properties are illegally occupied. The government also announced that it will launch a nationwide operation to remove encroachment on these properties. 5,936 properties in UP have been classified as “enemy properties.”
Additionally, there have been allegations of encroachment at certain locations. A senior secretary level officer should be nominated as a nodal officer in such a case for the protection, administration. And monitoring of enemy property, a government official told The Hindu.
Government establishes GoM to profit from enemy property
The government established a group of ministers (GoM) in January 2020. Led by home minister Amit Shah, with the goal of monetizing enemy properties in India. At a time when the centre is struggling to generate cash. The successful sale of these assets might increase the government exchequer’s wealth by an estimated Rs 1 lakh crore. To ease the swift destruction of enemy properties, the formation of two more high-level panels has also been suggested.
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