President approves law deterring fugitive economic offenders from fleeing country
President Ram Nath Kovind has given assent to "Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018" that deters fugitive economic offenders to evade legal process in India and flee the country. A fugitive economic offender is an individual against whom warrants for arrest is issued for involvement in select economic offenses involving an amount of at least Rs. 100cr or more and has left India. Here's more.
Law allows confiscation of offenders' properties, including benami ones
The new legislation will prevent big economic offenders like Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi from fleeing the country and evading the law. Both Mallya and Modi, wanted in cases being probed by Central Bureau of Investigation, are out of India. The new law allows designated special court to declare a person as a fugitive economic offender and to confiscate his property, including "benami" ones.
Enforcement Directorate will be the investigative agency under the Act
"All the rights and title in the confiscated property shall, from the date of the confiscation order, vest in the central government, free from all encumbrances," the Act says. The Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2018 was passed by Rajya Sabha on July 25. The Lok Sabha had cleared the measure on July 19. The Enforcement Directorate will be the investigative agency under the Act.
President gave nod to other laws also
The President has also given nod to other laws, the Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Act, 2018, the State Banks (Repeal and Amendment) Act, 2018, and Specific Relief (Amendment) Act, 2018. The Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Act is aimed at allowing a court to try offenses related to cheque-bounce expeditiously and direct the drawee to pay a minimum of 20% of the cheque amount as interim compensation.
What are the benefits of other Acts?
The State Banks (Repeal and Amendment) Act is to repeal two other laws, the SBI (Subsidiary Banks) Act, 1959 and the State Bank of Hyderabad Act, 1956, and to further amend the SBI Act of 1955. The Specific Relief (Amendment) Act, 2018 grants a party the right to seek damages from the other side in case of a breach of a business contract.