benami transactions

Appellate tribunal to be set up for cases related to benami transactions

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Union cabinet on Wednesday assented to the proposal of appointment of an adjudicatory body and setting up of an appellate tribunal for speedy disposal of case related to benami transactions.

The decision was taken at the union cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra modi, said Law Minister Ravi, Shankar Prasad. The approval is expected to lead to effective and better administration of cases referred to the adjudicating authority and may be resolved quicker in future.

The adjudicating authority and appellate tribunal will be set up in the NCT of Delhi, whereas the benches of such authorities may sit in Bombay, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai. Other necessary notifications pertaining to this matter will be issued after consultation with the chairperson of the proposed adjudicating authority

The proposed adjudicating authority along with three additional branches would provide the first-stage review of the administrative actions under the banami act, the appellate tribunal would provide an appellate mechanism for the order passed by the authority under the Act. To provide the officers and employees to Adjudicating Authority, Benches of the Adjudicating Authority and Appellate Tribunal by diverting the existing posts at the same level/rank from the Income Tax Deptt./Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT);

In last few months there is major crackdown on Benami Properties and their owners by Government. Specialised Anti-Benami units have been set up by the income Tax Department across the country. The law governing Benami transactions in India is the Prohibition Of Benami Property Transaction Act, 1988. Sec 2(a) of the said act provides that a benami transaction means any transaction in which the property is transferred to in person for a consideration paid or provided by another person.

The law prohibits entering into benami transactions. If a property is held benami, it can be confiscated by the central government. Futher, a penalty of 25% of the fair market value of the property can be levied on both the benamidar and the real owner, besides a rigorous imprisonment for 1-7 years. Provisions apply to persons trying to hide their properties and to a property acquired using disclosed funds in a genuine transaction

In July this year, the finance ministry informed Rajya Sabha that provisional attachment has been made in more than 1600 cases of properties under the benami transaction(prohibition ) Act, 1988.
Earlier, The government had notified Sessions courts in 34 states and Union Territories, which will act as special court for trial of offences under the benami transaction law.

The proposed Appellate Tribunal would provide an appellate mechanism for the order passed by the Adjudicating Authority under the PBPT Act which came into force in November 2016

Shriyaansh Gupta
Student Reporter, INBA

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