By Manisha

‘It will be natural justice’ said Rajnath Singh. Parliament passed  Tuesday a long pending amendment to a 49 year old Act preventing the successors of those who migrated to Pakistan and China during partition from holding any claim to properties left behind in India. The bill was introduced by Rajnath Singh in 2010.

“Enemy property” refers to any property belonging, held or managed on behalf of any enemy, an enemy subject or any enemy firm. The act was enacted in 1968 and all the enemy properties are listed under this act after the partition.

Highlights of the Bill

  • The Bill amends the Enemy Property Bill Act 1968, to vest all rights, title and interests over enemy property in custodian.
  • The Bill declares transfer of enemy property by the enemy, conducted under the Act, to be void. This applies retrospectively to transfers that have occurred before or after 1968.
  • The Bill prohibits civil courts and other authorities from entertaining disputes related to enemy property.

Key Issues and Analysis

  • The act allows transfer of enemy property from the enemy to other persons. The Bill declares all such transfers as void. This may be arbitrary and in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution.
  • The Bill prohibits civil court from entertaining any disputes with regard to enemy property. It does not provide any alternative judicial remedy. Therefore, it limits judicial recourse or assess to courts available to aggrieved persons.

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