Enemy property must go to government: Supreme Court

Feb 7, 2017 17:41 IST

The Supreme Court (SC) on 6 February 2017 ruled that the enemy property should be handed over to the government and should not get transferred to the descendants of the erstwhile owners.

The ruling was made by a bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice N V Ramana. The bench refused to hear the writ petition of Congress Rajya Sabha MP Husain Dalwai.

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Dalwai challenged the validity of the Union Government's decision to re-promulgate Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation Act), 2016 ordinance for the fifth time, terming it a violation of constitution bench decision. However, the bench ruled that the petitioner should raise the issue in Parliament.

The ordinance amends a 50-year-old law to guard against claims of succession or transfer of properties left by people who migrated to Pakistan and China after the wars.

The case was presented by Senior advocate Anand Grover, who pleaded that re-promulgation of the enemy property ordinance was contrary to the law laid down by the SC. However, after finding it difficult to convince the bench, Grover withdrew the petition thereafter.

Background

The Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Ordinance, 2016 was promulgated by the President Pranab Mukherjee on 7 January 2016 to amend the Enemy Property Act, 1968 and the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971.

A bill on the same lines was passed in Lok Sabha in March 2016. However, when the bill was tabled in Rajya Sabha, it was referred to a select committee and then the Parliament Session was adjourned.

The ordinance was re-promulgated in April 2016. However, there was no legislative action. It was re-promulgated for the third time on 31 May 2016. The process continued and it was re-promulgated for the fifth time in December 2016.

The Union Government failed to pass the bill in Rajya Sabha during the Winter Session due to repeated adjournments over the Demonetisation issue.

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