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Report No. 57

6.24. First alternative not likely to be effective.-

The first alternative referred to above, namely, the imposition of a criminal prohibition against benami transactions, is the most drastic alternative, but it is not likely to be more effective than the others. A prohibition backed by criminal sanctions would not, moreover, be desirable, unless the mens rea is also included in the provision to be enacted.

If this alternative is to be adopted, a provision could be enacted on the following lines:-1

"Where property is transferred to one person for a consideration, paid or provided by another person, and it appears that such person did not intend to pay or provide such consideration for the benefit of the transferee, the person paying or providing the consideration shall be guilty of an offence punishable with imprisonment upto three years, or with fine, or both:

Provided that this section shall not apply where the transferee is a co¬parcener in a Hindu undivided family in which such other person is also a co-parcener, and it is proved that such other person intended to pay or provide such consideration for the benefit of the co-parceners in the family.

Exception.-Nothing in this section shall be deemed to affect section 66 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 or any provision similar thereto."

Yet another device for giving effect to the first alternative, with a requirement of mens rea, would be to have a law on the following lines:

"Where property is transferred to one person for a consideration paid or provided by another person, and it appears that such person did not intend to pay or provide such consideration for the benefit of the transferee, the person paying or providing the consideration shall,

if he has caused the transfer to be entered into with the intention of facilitating the evasion of any law, or defeating the claims of his creditors, or the creditors of any other person be guilty of an offence punishable with imprisonment upto three years, or with fine, or with both."

Yet another device to give effect to the first alternative would be to add a section in the Indian Penal Code as follows2:-

"421 A. Whoever, dishonestly or fraudulently causes to be transferred to any person, any property, for which transfer he has paid or provided the consideration, intending thereby to prevent, or knowing to be likely that he will thereby prevent, the distribution of that property according to law among his creditors or the creditors of any other person, or intending thereby to facilitate, or knowing it to be likely that he will thereby facilitate, the evasion of any law, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both."

1. A separate law will be needed.

2. This could be inserted as section 421A in the Indian Penal Code.



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