Enemy Property Ordinance, 2016 Promulgated
President Pranab Mukherjee has promulgated the Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Ordinance, 2016 to make amendments to the Enemy Property Act, 1968.
Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Ordinance, 2016 :
- 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;
- The 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 and that the Custodian shall preserve the enemy property till it is disposed of in accordance with the provisions of the Act.
Importance : Amendments to the Enemy Property Act, 1968 will plug the loopholes in the Act to ensure that the enemy properties that have been vested in the Custodian remain so and they do not revert back to the enemy subject or enemy firm.
What is enemy property ?
- In the wake of the Indo-Pak war of 1965 and 1971, there was migration of people from India to Pakistan. Under the Defence of India Rules framed under the Defence of India Act, the Government of India took over the properties and companies of such persons who had taken Pakistani nationality. These enemy properties were vested by the Central Government in the Custodian of Enemy Property for India.
- In the Tashkent Declaration (signed in 1966), a clause was included to discuss the return of the assets and property taken over by either side in connection with the conflict. However, Pakistan Government had disposed of all such enemy properties in their country in 1971.
- The Central Government through the Custodian of Enemy Property for India is in possession of enemy properties spread across many states in the country. In addition, there are also movable properties categorized as enemy properties.
Article 123 : Article 123 of the Constitution grants the President certain law making powers to promulgate Ordinances when either of the two Houses of Parliament is not in session and hence it is not possible to enact laws in the Parliament. An Ordinance may relate to any subject that the Parliament has the power to legislate on.
Limitations of Article 123 :
- Legislature is not in session: The President can only promulgate an Ordinance when either of the two Houses of Parliament is not in session.
- Immediate action is required: The President cannot promulgate an Ordinance unless he is satisfied that there are circumstances that require taking ‘immediate action’
- Parliamentary approval during session: Ordinances must be approved by Parliament within six weeks of reassembling or they shall cease to operate. They will also cease to operate in case resolutions disapproving the Ordinance are passed by both the Houses.