Enemy Property Bill - Natural Justice or Human Rights Violation?
The Enemy Property Bill was a long pending amendment to the age old Enemy Property Act that lacked proper descriptive and implementation guidelines. The bill is finally passed and there are lot of presumptions being made about it already.
Enemy property, here, refers to the properties of those who immigrated to Pakistan during partition of India or to China during the Sino-Indian war of 1962. The descendants of these people who live in India and are citizens of India will no longer be allowed to inherit these properties. While one side claims that this is ‘natural justice’ the other side cries for infringement of human rights.Natural justice1. Tit for tat
Pakistan has also seized the properties of Indians who deserted the region during partition. These are properties worth crores. It is only fair that the enemy properties in India should also be seized and put to good use by India. It would be justified to do so.2. Dependent on Pakistani immigrants
The relatives, who left India, are citizens of Pakistan now still have a good hold over their Indian relatives who reside in their ancestral homes or continue to run the companies started by them. It is only good for India that these residents severe the ties with their neighbouring relatives.3. Value of these properties
The entire North, including Delhi, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh is full of such properties spreading across acres of land, being held by the relatives of the migrants. These are properties worth 1 lakh crores and could be put to better use of welfare if held by the government for development plans.4. Shelter to rentals
Most of these people have rented out properties to poorer people. Government has made provisions for the rentals in the bill which will protect their rights and interests. They will continue to be paid rentals of the properties but the owners would be the custodians and not the relatives of the migrant.Human rights violation1. Identifying the enemy
Those who left India, lived there, died there were enemies. Agreed! But those who stayed in India all their lives took to the properties of their relatives or successors who left, made a living out of their businesses shouldn’t be declared enemy by taking away their properties. This would mean declaring them equal to the Pakistanis who left and settled in the enemy nation.2. Waging war on minorities
The Muslims of these regions would be utterly shocked and infuriated with the judgement. It will take away home and trade of many of these people who are either farming on these lands or renting them out and earning out of them. They will lose home, livelihood and develop insecurity against the government. The population of these people is also quite high in the Northern region which could mean disruption of peace too.3. Undue nationalism
The new definition of nationalism and declaring enemy to those that hold the properties of their ancestors is highly disruptive to the fundamental rights that our constitution gives to the citizens. This is not going to go well with the community people.
Enemy property Bill needs more specification than iterated in the present bill. The terms need to be more defined and protecting the rights and interests of the minority community should also be considered.