The finance ministry has overruled the objections of home ministry on its Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Bill, 2011 and has asked the Cabinet to consider the bill in its original format.
The Cabinet had earlier deferred a decision on the bill after the home ministry objected to certain exemption clauses related to property registered in name of a person’s wife or an unmarried daughter.
The bill to replace the existing law of 1988 has been introduced with an intention to fight corruption, especially menace of black money, which allows government authorities to confiscate benami properties.The bill has been fast tracked to demonstrate the UPA government’s seriousness to fight corruption.
The home ministry had objected to two specific clauses of exemptions including where there is no agreement between the ghost buyer and the person in whose name the property is registered.
In a supplementary note for the Cabinet, the finance ministry has given a detailed explanation overruling home ministry’s objection saying it should not be a crime to register a property in name of a wife or an unmarried daughter.
The finance ministry also said that enough safety provisions have been provided in the proposed law. If proven that a benami property has been registered in name of close family member, without his or her approval, action will be taken as per law of the land.
The note also says that no new exemptions will be allowed till it is approved by both houses of Parliament.
The finance ministry has also said the new bill was being brought at the 1988 law proved to be ineffective because of limited powers given to government officials.
In the 1988 law, the burden of proving a particular transaction as benami was entirely with the government or the person who makes the allegation. The proposed law provides for setting up of fast-track courts for such cases. And, appeal against the decision of the court will lie with respective high courts.
The Cabinet will, however, take a final call on the nature of the bill on Thursday.