The union cabinet chaired by prime minister Narendra Modi, on October 24, 2018, approved the setting up of the Appellate Tribunal and Adjudicating Authority, for speedy disposal of cases under the Benami Transactions law, law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, at a press briefing. Earlier this month, the government had notified Sessions Courts in 34 states and union territories, which will act as special courts for trial of offences under the benami transaction law.
Benami transaction refers to transactions made in a fictitious name, or transactions where the owner is not aware of the ownership of the property, or the person paying for the property is not traceable.
As per an official release, the Adjudicating Authority and Appellate Tribunal will be based in the National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCTD). Benches of the Adjudicating Authority may sit in Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai and the necessary notification in this regard, will be issued after consultation with the chairperson of the proposed Adjudicating Authority.
“The approval will result in effective and better administration of cases referred to the Adjudicating Authority and speedy disposal of appeals filed against the order of the Adjudicating Authority before the Appellate Tribunal,” the release said. The appointment of the Adjudicating Authority, it added, would provide first stage review of administrative action under the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act (PBPT) Act.
Establishment of the proposed Appellate Tribunal, would provide an appellate mechanism for the order passed by the Adjudicating Authority under the PBPT Act. The rules and all the provisions of the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, came into force on November 1, 2016. After coming into effect, the existing Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988, was renamed as the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, 1988.