Lok Sabha

July 27, 2016

Saugata Roy speaks on The Benami Transaction (Prohibition) Amendment Bill, 2015 in LS

Saugata Roy speaks on The Benami Transaction (Prohibition) Amendment Bill, 2015 in LS

Kalyan Banerjee, an eminent lawyer, has already made all the points on our party’s behalf. All I want to say is that, as a member of the Standing Committee on Finance we had 8 meetings on The Benami Transactions Bill, and we gave a unanimous report in which we said that a fresh law should be brought. I want to ask the Hon’ble Finance Minister why is it that he chose to override the unanimous recommendation of the Finance Committee, in which his party colleague was also a part, and go ahead with the Bill.

Madam, the intention of the Minister is good. He wants to end black money but it is very often said that the path to hell is laid with good intentions. This Act is opening the path to hell. Because in the statement of object, the Bill does not say that the purpose is to eradicate black money. Nowhere is there a mention. Suddenly he says that it’s to eradicate black money. That’s all.

Here in this Act there is a provision for confiscation under 27(1) and it will be vested in the Central Government. If somebody evades income tax and the money comes from smuggling, human trafficking, drug offences, it’s all right, invest in the Central Government. But say the State Government allocates land, like it’s done in many townships, whether for residential purpose or whether for setting up a factory, then why should it not invest in State Government? Because it should go back from this to the State Government which had originally allocated the land.

Lastly, I think this will open a serious problem in rural areas where there are no proper land records and there are cash transactions, lakhs of people will become homeless and we have said that this will open the road to tax terrorism. The Bill should not become another cursive instrument in the hands of revenue department to forcibly collect taxes as the existing Income Tax Act has adequate provisions and teeth to deal with issues such as tax evasion and unaccounted income.

So my last appeal to the Hon’ble Finance Minister is that we support the intention of the Bill. You bring a fresh and proper Bill, we all support it unanimously. Let him take back this Bill today.