New Delhi: The Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed the Benami Transactions Amendment Bill, which seeks to amend the definition of "benami" transactions, establish adjudicating authorities and an appellate tribunal.
"The legislation has the provision of confiscating benami assets and it is predominantly an anti-black money measure," Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said while moving the bill.
He said the purpose of the bill is to discourage the activity of acquiring the properties in the name of fictitious and other people.
The bill also specifies prosecution and penalty for entering into benami, proxy transactions.
The Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Bill, 2015, introduced in the Lok Sabha in May last year, seeks to amend the Benami Transactions Act, 1988.
The bill primarily seeks to amend the definition of "benami" transactions, establish adjudicating authorities and an Appellate Tribunal to deal with such transactions, and specify the penalty for entering into these.
It empowers the government to confiscate "benami" property.
The existing Act had several loopholes, including the absence of an appellate mechanism and lack of provisions for vesting of the confiscated property with the Centre.
"The Benami Transactions law is a Central legislation, under which vesting of the property in question rests with the central government," Jaitley said.
He also clarified that existing law allows the central authorities to exempt properties of charitable and religious institutions from the purview of the Benami Transactions Act.