New Delhi, March 10: Amidst a walkout by the entire Opposition, Rajya Sabha on Friday passed a Bill to amend a 49-year-old law to guard against the claims of succession or transfer of properties left by people who migrated to Pakistan and China.
The Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2016, which amends the Enemy Property Act, 1968, was passed by voice vote in the Rajya Sabha despite the opposition demanding to defer of the debate on the draft legislation next week.
The measure was passed by the Lok Sabha in March last year. After this, the Rajya Sabha had sent it to a select committee, following whose recommendations the government had moved a number of amendments to it.
After the amended bill was passed by a voice vote by the Rajya Sabha today, it was returned to the Lok Sabha for final passage just before it was adjourned for the day.
When the bill was taken up in the Upper House today for consideration and passage, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said that “many senior members including the Leader of Opposition are not present in the House for a variety of reasons. Therefore the bill should be taken up for discussion and passage on the next working day.”
However, the government decided to take up the bill for discussion today itself and later got it passed by a voice vote after the entire opposition, angered over the government’s insistence, walked out of the House.
Explaining the rationale for urgency to get the bill passed, Finance Minister and Leader of the House Arun Jaitley said the ordinance effecting the amendments to the Act would lapse on March 14, 2017, and this was a security issue also.
Jaitley said the right of the enemy property should vest in the Government of India and not in the heirs of the citizens of the enemy countries.
Despite repeated requests by opposition members, the government took up the bill, which was passed after a brief discussion in the absence of any opposition member.