HC seeks I-T Dept reply on Satyendar Jain's plea
The Delhi High Court on Thursday issued a notice to the Income Tax Department on a plea filed by Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain against its order provisionally attaching some assets allegedly linked to him. Justice Vibhu Bakhru sought the Department's response on Jain's plea by October 11.
Jain had moved the court challenging the order to attach his assets under the Benami Act, which include over 100 bighas of land with investment value of Rs 17 crore and shares amounting to Rs 16 crore.
Earlier, the court had said that prima facie there is nothing wrong with the order and also declined to stay proceedings before the I-T Department's adjudicating authority, as sought by Jain.
He also sought directions to set aside orders issued on February 27 and May 24 under the Prohibition of Benami Property Transaction Act, 1988, and to quash the proceedings initiated under it.
Moreover, Jain challenged the retrospective application of the penal provisions of the Benami Act in his case.
"Admittedly, all the alleged transactions were prior to the period when the said provision came into existence. The period of alleged transaction is 2011 to March 31, 2016; whereas, the provisions of the (new) Act came into force only on November 1, 2016," said his plea, noting that the purchase of assets from the proceeds of Benami transactions, as contended by the I-T Department, would not be Benami as per the previous Benami Act.
"Such transactions have been held not to be covered under the unamended Act and, therefore, the said Act is being retrospectively being applied, which is clearly in violation of Article 20(1) of the Constitution of India," the petition said.
The assets were initially provisionally attached on February 27.