New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday
sought assistance of the Union government`s law officer for
deciding a plea for framing rules to appoint a competent
authority to take over benami properties under provisions of
the Benami Transaction (Prohibition) Act.
The petition filed by advocate Shanmuga Patra pointed
out that the law to curtail the sale and purchase of
properties by corrupt persons with their ill-gotten wealth in
names of people unrelated to them, despite having been enacted
over 23 years ago has virtually been rendered defunct for want
of relevant rules to enforce the crucial provision.
Seeking Additional Solicitor General A S Chandhiok`s
help in deciding the issue, a bench of Chief Justice Dipak
Misra and Justice Sanjiv Khanna slated the matter for hearing
on September 7 and asked Patra to supply a copy of his
petition to the law officer.
A single judge bench of the high court earlier had
referred the matter to Chief Justice Misra, saying "the issue
relates to public interest".
Patra moved the court seeking direction to the Finance
Ministry to frame rules under the Benami Transaction
(Prohibition) Act, 1988 for appointment of the authority.
"The Centre, under the scheme of the Constitution, is
not permitted to indefinitely delay the framing of Rules
enabling realisation of goals envisaged under the Act. In the
instant case, the Centre has delayed it by 23 years," the
The Centre, acting on a Law Commission report, had
passed the Act on September 5, 1988, Patra said, adding that
the requisite rules for appointing the competent authority
which can take over the benami properties have not been
"Whether the prevailing situation in the country, with
a sad state of economic frauds all around, is not enough to
open eyes of the Centre to the need of translating legislative
intent behind the Act into a reality by framing rules," the