Enemy property : What you need to know
What is the issue ?
- A 49-year-old law was amended by Parliament to ensure successors of those who migrated to Pakistan and China during Partition have no claim over their properties and assets in India.
What is enemy property?
- After the 1962 conflict with China and the 1965 Indo-Pakistan war, the Indian government seized properties belonging to nationals of these countries.
- These properties, designated enemy property included land, buildings, firms, shares, bank balance, provident fund and so on.
- These properties are administrated by the Custodian of Enemy Property for India.
- The properties were seized in response to ‘enemy’ countries failing to compensate Indians whose property was seized or who fled these countries because of the war.
What is the valuation of these immovable properties?
- Overall the property is spread across 12,000 acres of land and valued at over Rs 1 lakh crore
Was there an international agreement on these properties?
- In the 1966 Tashkent Declaration following the war between India and Pakistan, a clause was included that the two countries would discuss return of property and assets taken over by either side in connection to the conflict.
- The Pakistan government, however, sold all enemy property and assets owned by Indian citizens and companies in 1971 itself.
- In India, such properties continue to be under the control of the Custodian of Enemy Property.
Which state has the highest number of such properties?
- Together UP and West Bengal have over 80% of these immovable properties.
- Over 98% of it belongs to Pakistani nationals
Is it the first time such a rule is being enacted in India?
- No. After the beginning of the Second World War the British had enacted a Defence of India Act in 1939.
- Under this Act Germany, Italy and Japan were declared enemy countries and similar measures were adopted so their citizens should not be allowed to have any financial gain from India.
- After Independence, the Act was abrogated as the Indian government did not identify these countries as India’s enemy.