Everything you need to know about the Enemy Property Act
The Enemy Property Act, 1968 is the Act of Parliament of India which enables and regulates the appropriation of property in India owned by Pakistani officials. The act was passed following the Indo-Pakistani war of 1965.
When there is a war between nations, they seize the properties in their countries of the citizens and officials of the enemy country. First ever case happened on this issue was during the first and second world wars when the United States and the United Kingdom seized properties of German Corporations and citizens. Properties that are seized under these circumstances are known as ‘alien property’ or ‘enemy property’.
Till date, there are 9,500 enemy properties and most of them belong to Pakistanis from the time of war. The total value of the enemy property is Rs 1,04,339 Crore. Pakistan also brought the same law into practice to take over the assets and properties of Indian Companies present in Pakistan but unlike India, it sold off these in the year 1971.
The Enemy Property Act gave certain rights to the enemy citizens regarding the properties in the custody. Disputes started arising between the custodian and the citizen. One of the problems was related to the Indian citizens, whether they were allowed to inherit the property of their ancestors who were the nationals of the enemy country.
Center has now allowed the state government to put some of the enemy properties to the ‘public use’ for the benefit of the citizens of the country. There is a property worth Rs 1 Lakh Crore which has to dealt by the Center.
To be more precise about the enemy properties, the properties of the people who took citizenship of Pakistan and China after the war. Today, there are 9,280 Pakistani properties and 126 of Chinese National. Out of all the properties belonging to Pakistani Nationals, maximum is found in Uttar Pradesh and few in West Bengal and Delhi. Talking about the properties of Chinese Nationals, maximum is in Meghalaya and few in West Bengal and Assam.
In the year 2017, the Enemy Property Act was amended by the Government of India and ensured that the enemy citizens who left back their properties will have no legal claim on it and neither their ancestors can own them.
The case of Raja of Mahmudabad
One of the cases related to this matter was the case of Raja Mohammad Amir Mohammad Khan known as Raja of Mahmudabad. He claimed his ownership on his property in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, the matter is currently before the Supreme Court.