Custodian of Enemy Property in India: An Overview

Custodian of Enemy Property of India (CEPI)

#GS-02 International Relations

For Prelims

About CEPI:

  • The Custodian of Enemy Property for India is an Indian government department that is empowered to appropriate property under the Enemy Property Act, 1968 in India owned by Pakistani nationals.
  • This includes all immovable property, all lockers and safe deposits; and all negotiable instruments such as promissory notes, shares, debentures and other commerce.
  • In 2017, Parliament passed The Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2016, which amended The Enemy Property Act, 1968, and The Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971.

About Enemy Property Act, 1968:

  • The Enemy Property Act, 1968 is an Act of the Parliament of India, which enables and regulates the appropriation of property in India owned by Pakistani nationals.
  • The act was passed following the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965.

The act was amended in 2016 with the following provisions:

  • The Bill amends the Enemy Property Act, 1968, to vest all rights, titles and interests over enemy property in the Custodian of the Enemy Property for India.
  • The Bill declares transfer of enemy property by the enemy, conducted under the Act, to be void. This applies retrospectively to transfers that have occurred before or after 1968.
  • The Bill prohibits civil courts and other authorities from entertaining disputes related to enemy property.

About Enemy properties:

  • Of the total properties left behind by those who took Pakistani citizenship, 4,991 are located in Uttar Pradesh, the highest in the country. West Bengal has 2,735 such estates and Delhi 487.
  • The highest number of properties left by Chinese nationals is in Meghalaya (57).West Bengal has 29 such properties and Assam seven.