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- The Office of the Custodian of Enemy Property for India (then known as Controller of enemy firms) was set up in the year 1939 to deal with enemy properties confiscated during World War II. The countries then treated as enemy were Germany, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, Italy, France, Norway and Japan. Subsequently, after the Chinese aggression in 1962, Indo-Pak conflict in 1965 and the Indo-Pak war of 1971, movable and immovable properties of enemy have been vested in Government of India by the Defence of India Rules, 1962 and continued to remain vested under the Enemy Property Act,1968. Under the Enemy Property Act, 1968, a Custodian assisted by Dy. Custodian and Assistant Custodian is appointed u/s 3 of the said Act and all such Enemy Properties vest in the Custodian.
- The office of the Custodian of Enemy Property of India, post independence was working under the aegis of the Ministry of Commerce upto October 1969, from November, 1969 to February, 1973 under the Ministry of Foreign Trade, from March, 1973 to June, 2007 under the Ministry of Commerce & Industry and thereafter it was transferred to Ministry of Home Affairs by a Presidential Notification dated 28 th June 2007.
- Presently The Office of the CEPI is a statutory authority under the provisions of the Enemy Property Act, 1968 (as amended in 2017) and a subordinate office under Ministry of Home Affairs, Freedom Fighters Division, with its Head Office at New Delhi and three branch offices at Mumbai, Kolkata and Lucknow.
- The Enemy Property Act 1968 amended from time to time (latest amendment 2017) governs the vesting, preservation, management, control, sale, transfer of rights, disposal and other forms of usage of Enemy Property. The Enemy Property Act empowers the Custodian of Enemy Property for India to continue to hold such property that vests in him including the rights, title, interest and benefits arising out of such property.
- The Custodian is a quasi judicial Authority under the Enemy
Property Act and a Civil court under the Civil Procedure
Court,1908 for the purpose of Section 11 of the Act which
empowers him to
- (i) sending a notice in writing to summon any person;
- (ii) calling for documents through issuance of notice;
- (iii) requiring discovery and inspection of documents;
- (iv) enforcing the attendance of any person including officers dealing with Law, revenue matters, banking officers or officer of company;
- (v) Custodian can examine on oath the afore- mentioned persons so summoned.
- (vi) compel production of books;
- (vii)issue commission for examination of witness’s and/or documents;
- (viii) for any decision taken/Certificate issued by the Custodian, the appeal lies with the Central Government, where, if aggrieved Appeal c be preferred in the High Court.
- There are 9406 number of Enemy Properties (9280 belonging to Pakistan Nationals and 126 of Chinese Nationals), which have been declared and are vested in the Custodian of Enemy Property for India. There are probably 5866 numbers of properties still remaining to be verified and declared as Enemy Property.