The High Court of Punjab and Haryana on Tuesday directed the governments of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh to decide the issue of linking Aadhaar cards with property Documents/Transactions, as urged by the Petitioner, within a month.
The Petitioner-Advocate, Nikhil Saraf, had persuaded the government various times in this regard but, in vain. Accordingly, the bench of Acting Chief Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice H. S. Sidhu said,
"the Petitioner has already made four representations for redressal of his grievances to the Chief Ministers of the States of Punjab and Haryana as well as to the Administrator of the U.T., Chandigarh and Union of India…
Consequently, the Chief Secretary to the State of Punjab, Chief Secretary to the State of Haryana, Advisor to the Chandigarh Administration as well as Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, are directed to decide the aforesaid representations by passing a speaking/detailed order within a period of one month".
The Petitioner had made the aforementioned representations stating that the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988, which was passed with aim of "rooting out" corruption, the source of black money and benami transactions, and increasing accountability and controlling the "unnatural hike" in property prices, had failed its purpose; and linking Aadhar card with property transactions would help in achieving this objective by identifying benami transactions. In this regard he explained,
"Black money holders would be forced to declare their unaudited immovable properties and it will take years to generate that amount of benami property again.
The main advantage of this strategy is that the tax authorities will get details about 'legal owners' immediately. Several historical property deals might have happened in fictitious names and they will get stuck immediately.
Once the Aadhaar linkage happens, tax authorities can approach the 'legal owners' and it can be treated as benami property if the 'legal owners' are unaware or denies knowledge of the ownership'. Even if the 'legal owner' takes onus and claims that it is his property, he needs to show the 'source of income' for buying that property".
He submitted that such a process would also clean the country's electoral process which was predominated by black money and benami transactions.
Considerably, the Delhi High Court had also earlier issued notices in a similar matter (WP(C) 7566/2019) to the Central Government and the Government of Delhi and the matter is pending disposal.
As per the Petitioner, the aim with which Aadhar was introduced was well achieved in terms of targeted delivery of subsidies and a commensurate model in terms of property transactions would be in favour of achieving transparency.
"Aid being distributed to people through Govt schemes immediately noted a drop in persons applying for such aid. It was noticed that interested elements had earlier created fictitious persons and were taking aid on their behalf. With Aadhar coming, people were identifiable and as such person did not venture to come forth for availing the aid….The same can be done with regard to property," the Petitioner submitted.
The Petitioner went on to cite India's global ranking on various international indexes, including the Corruption Perception Index and said that India's "pathetic ranking" was fueled by corruption and benami transactions.
He asserted that benami transactions in high denomination currency were used in illegal activities such as terrorism, naxalism, separatism, radicalism, gambling, smuggling, money laundering, kidnapping, extortion, bribing and dowry, etc. and curbing such transactions would aid in taking down these crimes as well.
He further urged that curbing corruption will ensure protection of poor peoples' rights to life, shelter and peaceful sleep, guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.
Stating that a substantial portion of black money was held in the form of gold, the Petitioner also prayed the court to take apposite steps to link movable property documents, alongside immovable property, with Aadhaar cards.
The Petitioner's case was presented by Advocates Pawan Kumar Mutneja, Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay and Viranjeet Singh Mahal.
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