This article illustrates a classic example of how we have traitors within our system and establishment serving for their masters across the border in the name of human rights, principle of human rights and settled principles of law.
Modi government’s attempt at amending the 48-year-old Enemy Property Act has faced a stumbling block and could not be cleared in the Rajya Sabha with hurdle from four political parties primarily opposing the move saying that the original law was balanced and fresh changes violate the basic principle of natural justice. The representatives of the four parties — K C Tyagi (JD-U), K Rahman Khan, P L Punia and Husain Dalwai (all Congress), D Raja (CPI) and Javed Ali Khan (SP) gave their dissent notes in the Select Committee report on amendments to the Enemy Property Act, 1968, tabled in Rajya Sabha last year.
Now let us understand what is a “Enemy Property”.
Enemy properties are land and other assets such as jewellery, shares and bank deposits left behind by persons or firms that chose to go to Pakistan or China after the partition and subsequent wars. These Enemy Properties were vested by the government in the “Custodian of Enemy Property for India”, an office created under the central government and therefore is in possession of all enemy properties spread across many states in the country.
The Enemy Property Act, 1968, regulates these enemy properties, and lists the powers of these custodian. By an estimation the total cost of these properties is worth more than Rs 1 Lakh Crore.
Since the act was passed in the year 1968, over a period of time it was noticed that it had few loopholes and every possible attempt has been tried to exploit that. Citing these gaps there have been various judgments by various courts that have adversely affected the powers of the Custodian and the Government of India as provided under the Enemy Property Act, 1968.
In view of such interpretation by various courts, the Custodian is finding it difficult to sustain his actions under the Enemy Property Act, 1968. One such example has been the court judgment that was passed in the case of the erstwhile Raja of Mahmudabad, who owned several large properties in Hazratganj, Sitapur and Nainital. Following partition, the Raja left the country and after The Enemy Property Act was enacted in the year 1968 by the Government of India, the Raja’s estate was declared enemy property. When the Raja died, his son staked claim to these properties. After a legal battle that lasted over 30 years, an apex court Bench comprising Justice Ashok Bhan and Justice Altamas Kabir on October 21, 2005, ruled in favour of the son. This verdict opened floodgates for similar pleas across the country and eventually on 2nd July 2010 the President of India had to step in and sign an Ordinance that restrained courts from ordering the government to divest enemy properties from the Custodian. The 2005 SC order was rendered ineffective, and the Custodian again took over Raja’s properties.
The Congress led UPA government first tried to plug these gaps in July 2010, but on receiving severe criticism from SP, RJD and other pseudo-secular parties and forces within the congress, it chickened out and diluted the bill in such a way that if the lawful heir is a citizen of India by birth, such enemy property would continue to remain with such person and not the custodian. From the year 2010 to April 2014 till when the UPA government was in power the bill never saw the light of the day and could not be passed by the government.
The NDA government romping to power in May 2014 once again brought this bill from backburner and got it passed through the Lok Sabha, but failed it to sail it through the Rajya Sabha due to not having a majority.
The amendments were crafted very stringently practically leaving no room for any loopholes.
(1) It denied legal heirs any right over enemy property.
(2) Negate the effect of a court judgment in this regard.
(3) Gives the sole right of disposal of enemy property to the Custodian.
(4) Once an enemy property is vested in the Custodian, it shall continue to be vested in him as enemy property irrespective of whether the enemy, enemy subject or enemy firm has ceased to be an enemy due to reasons such as death etc.
(5) Law of succession does not apply to enemy property, that there cannot be transfer of any property vested in the Custodian by an enemy or enemy subject or enemy firm.
(6) The Custodian shall preserve the enemy property till it is disposed of in accordance with the provisions of the Act.
Congress’s Rajya Sabha MP Hussain Dalwai once again petitioned the Supreme Court in Feb 2017 against these very amendments, but the court very judicially refused saying “it was a sensitive topic that did not require judicial intervention at this juncture.”
Interestingly Pakistan government has not only taken the custody of such assets owned by Indians before partition, but have also disposed them off way back in 1971.
Ironically with “Vote bank politics” on their top of the agenda, Congress and its ideologically allied parties will once again leave no room to oppose this bill in the upcoming sessions of Rajya Sabha starting from March 2017, forgetting their patriotism and duty towards the nation.