Check “benaami” transactions

It should not appear something like feeling flabbergasted that there is no “ban” on benaami transactions in Jammu and Kashmir State. This extreme assertion stems from a glaring reality of non implementation of Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act enacted eight years ago and exactly 22 years after the same Act was passed by Parliament in 1988. Benami transaction, in simple parlance, is any transaction in which property is transferred to one person for a consideration paid by another person. On its face itself, it looks illegal and unusual.
The  Government has not risen to the occasion to implement the Act as an antidote to check corruption. Assets have been created, properties expanded and investments made in numerous cases disproportionate to known sources of income and largely because of employing corrupt practices since a long unbridled rope is, perhaps, knowingly been given to such people. If an assessment of erected mansions and other properties on sample basis is made, as to the source of the monies spent on them, hair splitting revelations and facts will come to the fore.
It is unbelievable but is a sheer fact that rules have not been framed to accord legitimacy and purpose to the said Act even after eight years of its enactment. That amply lays bare the “convention” of empty rhetoric and mere formalities pursued by the political leadership in the State who have been in the saddle of power. Those very leaders, when in opposition even, could not dare raise this issue of such an important nature giving credence to the considered view of the people that all politicians appear to be cast in the same mould, of course, with some rare exceptions.
Who will seize such properties and turn them into centers for public utility like schools, hospitals, offices, Community Halls  etc excepting by those who neither live in “glass houses” nor care for the consequences of throwing stones on others’ glass houses. The Act, otherwise, gives ample powers for seizures and confiscations to the Government without making any payments or compensation to those who had erected them with ill gotten money. It was considered a strong stick to beat the corrupt officials with and also vast spectrum of people other than Government officials indulging in Benami transactions. In fact, State Vigilance Organization could get its teeth sharpened with this legal tool to bite corruption effectively.
We raise a question and seek answers as to what role had State Vigilance Organization to play excepting the formality of being on papers when they are not armed with this Act to fight corruption, a malaise eating into the vitals in the society.  Had rules, appropriate and befitting, been framed, the SVO would have started making the optimum use of this law to tighten the noose around the necks of vast numbers of corrupt people. Authorities concerned needed to learn to be sincere and not test the patience of the people anymore and therefore, make sincere efforts to make Benami Transactions Act effective as a deterrent. The State needs it now as never before and any further delay in it has far reaching consequences.