New Delhi, Dec 24, 2016: Even as President Pranab Mukherjee expressed displeasure, the Central government on Friday promulgated for the fifth time an ordinance to amend the Enemy Property Act.
Official sources said that Mukherjee has faulted the government for failing to convert the ordinance into law. The President, say sources, signed the ordinance to amend the Enemy Property Act as it involves national interest and “in view of the pending cases which will come up in the Supreme Court in January”.
In August, the order came to him for the fourth time but without the cabinet clearing it first – the first instance since independence. An upset President had then said in a note to the government that he was signing the order for public good, but he warned that the cabinet must not be bypassed ever again. He reportedly also it must never be cited as a precedent. After the reprimand, the government reportedly took the cabinet’s approval.
The ordinance amends the Enemy Property Act, a 50-year old law to guard against claims of succession or transfer of properties left by people who migrated to Pakistan or China after wars.
Earlier this year, the Lok Sabha had passed a bill to amend the act but opposition parties have blocked it in the Rajya Sabha, where the government is in a minority, forcing it to keep it alive by issuing ordinance after ordinance.
However, the government has been unable to bring the bill in parliament, where the recent Winter Session was almost a washout because of united opposition protests over the issue of demonetisation.