Accusing the government of not being sincere in perationalising the earlier law on benami transactions, a Parliamentary Committee has asked it to expeditiously enact a new law making punishment more stringent for the offenders. In its report on the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Bill, 2011, the Committee has suggested that there should be specific definition of relevant terms such as 'transaction', 'arrangement', 'trustee' in the new Act. Benami transaction refers to sale or purchase of a property in fictitious name. In view of the economic gravity of such transactions, the Committee's report which was tabled in the Lok Sabha today suggested that the provisions of the new Benami Transactions Prohibition law should extend to Jammu & Kashmir.
The Committee also said that to unearth the unaccounted wealth amassed by corrupt public servants, it would be necessary to prune the list of exemptions in the new law. Although the government had initially enacted the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act in 1988, it could not be operationalized as no rules were framed. Later, the government decided to enact a fresh law on the subject. "The Committee failed to understand as to why the government went into a slumber after promulgation of Ordinance in a hurry and enactment of law to prohibit benami transactions," the report said. It further added, "The government was not sincere in operationalising the benami law. The Committee would expect that at least now the government will bring in this long overdue legislation with due seriousness and implement it at the earliest." With regard to maximum punishment under the new law, the report said it should be retained at three years, as in the 1988 Act, instead of two years proposed in the 2011 Bill.
Source: Financial Express
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