Properties belonging to foreign nationals who have migrated to Pakistan and China during the India-Pakistan Partition, will no longer have rights to claim their properties left behind in India also known as enemy properties in India following the amendment of the 49-year-old law that has been protecting these properties.
The Indian Government had seized back then nearly 12,000 acres of properties belonging to migrated foreign nationals or the enemy properties as coined for them after India’s war with China in 1962 and with Pakistan in 1965, TOI reports.
These properties include lands, buildings, firms, shares, bank balance, provident funds and other immovable properties which were seized by the Indian Government and are currently administered by the Custodian of Enemy Property for India. The Government’s move to seize these enemy properties was in response to the foreign-enemy countries failing to compensate Indian citizens for their properties left behind, seized during wars.
According to the recently submitted details by Home Ministry in Lok Sabha, the immovable properties left behind by Pakistani nationals is spread across 12,000 acres of land, valued at over Rs 1 Lakh crore.
After the war broke out between India and Pakistan, a treaty was signed in 1966 known as Tashkent Declaration which included a clause about these properties. The clause clearly stated the two countries will discuss returning of these properties and assets seized by Governments in respect to war.
However, Pakistan Government had reportedly sold all the enemy properties owned by Indian Citizens in 1971 while India remained to continue with the treaty and administered these properties under Custodian of Enemy Properties.
Among the all the states UP and West Bengal have over 80 percent of these enemy immovable properties belonging to Pakistani nationals and some belonging to Chinese Nationals. Other states like Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Uttaranchal, Gujarat, Delhi and other states have 11,641 crores, 1,797 crores, 1,774 crores, 1,375 crores, 928 crores, 845 crores, 817 crores and 1,724 crores of immovable enemy properties respectively.
In 1939 after the Second World War began, Britain has enacted a Defence of India in which Germany, Italy, Japan were declared enemies of India and citizens belonging to these enemy countries should have no means of gain from India.
However, the act was revoked by Indian Government after the Independence declaring these countries as no longer India’s enemies.