To check parking of black money via benami properties, the government on Thursday introduced a bill in Parliament making benami transaction an offence punishable with a maximum jail of two years and fine of up to 25% of the property in question.
Benami transaction, as per the Benami Transaction (Prohibition) Bill 2011, means an arrangement where property is transferred or held by a person for another person, with the transaction done in a fictitious manner.
The property in the name of spouse, brother or sister or any lineal ascendant or descendant will not be considered benami.
The government has also exempted the property held in a fiduciary relation or as an incharge of a Hindu undivided family from benami transaction.
The bill introduced in Lok Sabha by finance minister Pranab Mukerjee gives the government the power to confiscate any benami property but the owner will have a right to appeal before an appellate tribunal. A similar law of 1988, which the new bill would replace, did not provide the power to confiscate to the government.
"The bill has become necessary in order to prohibit holding property in benami and restrict right to recover or transfer property held benami...," the statement of objects and reasons of the bill said.
Both civil society and the Central Vigilance Commission had been lobbying for a law to confiscate benami assets for more than a decade.
A draft anti-corruption strategy drawn up by the CVC had recommended dovetailing enforcement of this law to the unique identification project.
The government believes that with all residents in India to get a unique identification number detection of benami transaction would become easier and its registration a difficult process.
LS stalled over Haryana land issue
The BJP on Thursday stalled proceeding in Lok Sabha over forceful allocation of land to Rajiv Gandhi Education Society in Haryana and asked the Centre to issue an advisory to all states to stop land acquisition till the new legislation is passed by Parliament.
The BJP members forced adjournment of Lok Sabha as the Speaker Meira Kumar did not agree with their suggestion to suspend the question hour.
The second adjournment came when Congress members stood up in protest against Singh’s allegation that the land was forcefully allocated to Rajiv Gandhi Education Society in Ullahawas village in Haryana.