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Enemy property: Parl panel seeks info on laws in Pak, B’desh

A parliamentary panel examining a contentious Bill on enemy property on Monday asked the government to explain what kind of laws exist in Pakistan and Bangladesh to deal with similar issues as officials from the Home and Law ministries briefed it on the measure.

The Select Committee of Rajya Sabha on the Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2016, headed by BJP MP Bhupendra Yadav, has been asked to carry out a detailed scrutiny of the measure that seeks to guard against claims of succession or transfer of properties left behind by people, who migrated to Pakistan and China after the warsm and amend the Enemy Property Act, 1968.

The Centre had designated some properties belonging to nationals of Pakistan and China as “enemy properties” during the 1962, 1965 and 1971 conflicts. It vested these properties in the Custodian of Enemy Property for India, an office instituted under the central government.

The 1968 Act regulates these enemy properties, and lists the powers of the Custodian.

The panel has been tasked to scrutinise the Bill and submit its report in the opening week of the second part of the Budget session.

The first meeting of the panel, which was held on MOnday, saw a detailed presentation about the Bill. The next meeting will be held on April 4.

Those who appeared before the panel included Utpal Chakraborty, Custodian of Enemy Properties for India and senior officers from the Home Ministry and Law Ministry. Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi, who was to give a presentation, could not attend the meeting due to his engagement in Padma award ceremony, sources said.

The committee, besides holding preliminary discussion on the Bill, also discussed the manner in which it will take up the issue. “It being the first meeting, members were briefed in detail about the salient features of the Bill by the officers. A number of members wanted to know what laws exist in Pakistan and Bangladesh to deal with similar situation there,” a source said.
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