Benami transactions yet to be implemented


Though Jammu and Kashmir is still in the tight grip of corruption yet Government has failed to implement Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, which was enacted eight years back as an important tool in the anti-corruption mechanism. The inordinate delay in putting in operation the legislation has given free hand to corrupt politicians, bureaucrats and police officers to make huge benami investments particularly in the real estate. Jammu and Kashmir Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act was enacted by the State Legislature on March 2, 2010 and the same received the assent of the Governor on April 20, 2010. The Act not only prohibits benami transactions but also gives a right to the Government to seize the benami properties without any payment as such it was considered to be vital tool to be used by the agencies fighting the menace of corruption particularly State Vigilance Organization. In the Act, it has specifically been mentioned that the Government, by notification in the gazette, will make rules for carrying out the purpose of the legislation, which was drafted after deeply analyzing the Central Act on benami transactions.
However, during the past eight years Government has failed to frame the rules, which otherwise is an imperative exercise, and due to this the legislation could not be made operational till date and adding since vigilance administration comes under the purview of General Administration Department it was exclusive duty of those who remained at the helm of affairs in this department during the past eight years to act on Section 9 of the Act, which confers powers to make rules. Because of absolute slackness on the part of General Administration Department, on one side State Vigilance Organization has been deprived of vital tool to fight corruption and on the other side corrupt politicians, bureaucrats and police officers have been given free hand to make huge benami transactions in real estate. Because of inability of the Government to implement the law the real estate business has turned out to be heaven for bureaucrats and police officers with black money. It is pertinent to mention here that J&K Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 2010 states: Whosoever enters into any benami transaction shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years or with fine which may extend up to Rs 5 lakh or with both.

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