All You Need To Know About Benami Law
The Act prohibits recovery of the property held Benami from benamidar by the real owner.
After the demonetisation drive announced on November 8, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is all set to crack the whip on Benami properties in his crusade against corruption. In his monthly address "Mann ki Baat" recently, the prime minister warned that the government would soon make the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, 1988, operative to deal with nameless properties. The Act came into force on November 1, 2016.
Here is a lowdown of the new Benami law and how it will operate:
- If a Benami transaction is proved, the guilty would be liable for rigorous imprisonment for one to seven years and fine of up to 25 per cent of the market value of the property.
- Every suit or proceeding of a Benami transaction pending in any court (other than a high court) or Tribunal or before any forum on the date of the commencement of this Act shall stand transferred to the Adjudicating Authority or the Appellate Tribunal, as the case may be, having jurisdiction in the matter.
- If any person gives false information to any authority or furnishes false document under the Act, he will be punished with a jail term of six months to five years, along with fine, which may extend to 10 per cent of the market value of the property.
- The Central government has the power to appoint a Special Public Prosecutor.
- The public prosecutors to be appointed under the Act should be advocates with not less than seven years of experience while the Special Public Prosecutor should have at least 10 years' experience in any court.
- The Central government, in consultation with the Chief Justice of the high court concerned, has the power to designate one or more session courts or special courts to hear such cases.
- The Special Court will not consider any offence punishable under the Act except when a complaint in writing made by the authority; or by any officer of the Central or state government authorised for the purpose.
- Each trial is to be conducted in a speedy manner and every effort would be made by the Special Court to conclude the trial within six months from the date of filing of the complaint.
- The Central government will also set up an Appellate Tribunal to hear appeals against the orders of the Adjudicating Authority under the Act.
- The Appellate Tribunal will comprise of a chairperson and at least two other members, of which one shall be a judicial member and the other shall be an administrative member.
- Any Benami property is liable to be confiscated by the Central government.
- The Act prohibits recovery of the property held Benami from benamidar by the real owner.