Delhi High Court tosses out writ petition seeking appointment of “Competent Authority” under Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act

Delhi High Court refused to grant any relief under a writ petition seeking a direction to the Ministry of Finance to appoint  “Competent Authority” contemplated in Section 5 of the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988 and to frame Rules in relation to the procedure to be adopted by the said Authority for acquiring benami properties.
The Court said “Howsoever laudatory the objective in filing this petition may be, we cannot shut our eyes to the lacunas pointed out in the Act and to the difficulties being faced in removing the same through the exercise of the Rule making power….. We therefore are of the opinion that no purpose will be served in issuing a direction as sought, for appointment of the Competent Authority under the Act and for framing of the Rules……”
The Court observed “…Maybe, there has been some lethargy or even unwillingness in framing the Rules. However, now the matter has been studied and the difficulties expressed, are found to be genuine; that is why, process of enacting a new legislation has been commenced. In such situation, this Court must know its limitations; the Court should remember that the Judges are not to innovate at pleasure and are to exercise discretion informed by tradition.”
The Writ petition pleaded that notwithstanding the law having been enacted more than 20 years back in 1988, it has been allowed to remain toothless.

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