Shillong, July 20: The Hynñiewtrep Youth Council (HYC) has proposed a number of suggestions to make the Meghalaya Prohibition of Benami Transaction (Amendment) Act, 2016 more effective.
“With an objective to end benami transaction, we have submitted a memorandum to the chief minister, ministers, MLAs and political parties on the need to incorporate our suggestions in the Act,” HYC general secretary Robertjune Kharjahrin said in a statement issued here on Thursday.
This came after the government announced that it is in the process of coming up with rules for implementing the Act, which was passed by the Assembly last year, as part of comprehensive mechanisms to check influx in the state.
The HYC also suggested the need to delete the word “tribal” in section 2 (d) of the Act, and replace it with ‘Meghalaya Indigenous Tribe’ – Khasi, Jaintia and Garo Tribe.
Referring to section 4 of the Act, Kharjahrin said that the government should review the setting up of ‘special committee’ and ‘authority’, which may delay the process at a time of filing complaint and examination against benami.
He further stated that the section 7 which speaks about punishment should be changed.
“Benami is such that many including big business tycoons are involved. We feel that the penalty fixed at Rs 20,000 is too less,” he added.
Kharjahrin further said that the punishment through imprisonment against such persons involved in benami should not be less than 6 months, and for habitual offenders it should be at least 3 years along with fine.
According to him, it is also befitting to declare the act of benami transaction as a ‘non-bailable offence’. Moreover, Kharjahrin said that the burden of proof should be on the accused instead of resting it on the complainant.
Stating that the earlier Act has failed to curb the menace of benami without a single case detected in the past decades of its existence, the HYC leader said that the amendment Act may also become a toothless act without inserting more stringent provisions.