The Modi government is planning to make Aadhaar-based authentication mandatory in real estate deals at the time of registration of documents such as agreement for sale, power of attorney and others to curb the use of black money and benami transaction, according to Indian Express report. The government may also enable electronic registration of properties, for which Aadhaar-based authentication will be mandatory. To implement this the central government may also amend Sections 32 and 32A of the Registration Act, 1908, Indian Express quoted a source as saying. According to an IE source, “Every person presenting a document at the property registration office for registration, shall, whether executing or claiming under the same, undergo Aadhaar authentication.” This step, if taken, it will minimise the scope of fraudulent and benami transactions and ensure foolproof property titles for the buyers. The department of land resources which is under the Ministry of Rural Development has advised the states and Union Territories, to notify rules mandating “consent-based Aadhaar authentication” at the time of registration of documents.
The government may also amend the Registration Act, 1908, which can provide legal backing to Aadhaar-enabled authentication of documents. It is also learnt that first a draft of the amendments will be sent to the Union Cabinet for approval, and thereafter to Parliament. However, The Ministry of Rural Development did not respond to emails sent on Tuesday that were sent by the newspaper. The Aadhaar law allows the Central Identities Data Repository to offer authentication services. As per Section 8 of The Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016, “The Authority shall perform authentication of the Aadhaar number of an Aadhaar number holder submitted by any requesting entity, in relation to his biometric information or demographic information, subject to such conditions and on payment of such fees and in such manner as may be specified by regulations, ” the report added.
The Modi government, after demonetisation, have adopted a series of measures to curb the use of black money and benami transactions in the real estate industry. Last year, the government also enacted the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amended Act, 2016, which empowers authorities to provisionally attach and eventually confiscate benami properties. If a person is found guilty of benami transactions there is a provision of rigorous imprisonment for at least one year, which can be extended up to seven years. The person shall be liable to pay a fine, which may extend to 25 per cent of the fair market value of the property, as per IE.