Section of the 71 of the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act (PBPT)  Act, inter alia, provides that the Central Government may, by notification, provide that until the Adjudicating Authorities are appointed and the Appellate Tribunal is established under the PBPT Act, the Adjudicating Authority appointed under sub-section (1) of section 6 of the Prevention of Money-Laundering Act, 2002 (hereinafter referred to as the PMLA) and the Appellate Tribunal established under section 25 of the PMLA may discharge the functions of the Adjudicating Authority and the Appellate Tribunal, respectively, under the PBPT Act for such period and in respect of such cases or class of cases as may be specified in the said notification.

Since there is no appointment of the Adjudicating Authority under the PBPT Act, the Adjudicating Authority under the PMLA is discharging the functions of the Adjudicating Authority under the PBPT Act. It is now proposed to provide that the Competent Authority constituted under sub-section (1) of section 5 of the Smugglers and Foreign Exchange Manipulators (Forfeiture of Proper-ty) Act, 1976 (SAFEMA) shall be the Adjudicating Authority under the PBPT Act which shall com-mence discharging the function from 1st July, 2021. As the said Adjudicating Authority under PBPT Act is proposed to commence the discharging the functions from 1st July, 2021, it is proposed to extend the period of limitation under sub-section (7) of section 26 of the PBPT Act to provide that where the time limit for passing order under sub­section (7) of section 26 of the PBPT Act expires during the period beginning from 1st July, 2021 and ending on 29th September, 2021, the time limit for passing such order shall stand extended to 30th September, 2021.

This amendment will take effect from 1st July, 2021.

[Clauses 142 to 147]

Text of the Relevant Clause of the Finance Bill 2021

Clauses 142 to 147 of the Bill seeks to amend certain provisions of the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, 1988.

Clause (1) of section 2 of the Act provides for the definition of the expression Adjudicating Authority. It is proposed to amend said clause so as to substitute words “referred to in” for the words “appointed under”.

Section 7 of the said Act empowers the Central Government to appoint one or more Adjudicating Authority by notification to exercise jurisdiction, powers and authority conferred by or under that Act. It is further proposed to substitute the said section 7 so as to provide that the Competent Authority constituted under sub-section (1) of section 5 of the Smugglers and Foreign Exchange Manipulators (Forfeiture of Property) Act, 1976 shall be the Adjudicating Authority to exercise jurisdiction, powers and authority conferred by or under this Act.

It is also proposed to consequentially omit sections 8 to 17 of the said Act.

It is also proposed to amend sub-section (7) of section 26 of the said Act so as to provide that where the time limit for passing an order provided therein expires during the period beginning from 1st July, 2021 and ending on 29th September, 2021, the time limit for passing such order shall be extended to 30th September, 2021.

It is also proposed to consequentially omit clauses (b) and (c) of sub-section (2) of section 68 of the said Act.

These amendments will take effect from 1st July, 2021.

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