New Delhi: A PIL was filed in the Delhi High Court on Tuesday seeking direction to the Centre to ascertain the feasibility of confiscating 100 per cent black money and benami property and awarding life imprisonment to offenders in offences relating to disproportionate assets, money laundering, tax evasion, and human-drug trafficking.
The plea also sought to constitute an expert committee or direct the Law Commission to examine the stringent anti-corruption laws of developed countries relating to bribery, black money, benami property, tax evasion, disproportionate assets, money laundering, profiteering, hoarding, adulteration, human and drug trafficking and black marketing and prepare a comprehensive report within three months.
Petitioner and advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay claimed that the total budget of the Centre, states, and local bodies is Rs 70 lakh crore but due to massive corruption in every public department, around 20 per cent of the budget, that is, Rs 14 lakh crore becomes black money.
"The government can save this huge money by recalling currency above Rs 100, restricting cash transactions above Rs 5000, linking assets above Rs 50,000 with Aadhaar, confiscating 100 per cent disproportionate assets, black money, benami property, and awarding life imprisonment to looters," the plea said.
It said corruption undermines democracy and rule of law which leads to violation of human rights, distorts markets, erodes the quality of life, and allows organised crime like separatism, terrorism, naxalism, radicalism, gambling, smuggling, kidnapping, money laundering, and extortion and other threats to human security to flourish.
"It hurts EWS (economically weaker section)-BPL (below poverty line) families excessively by diverting the funds intended for their development, undermines government's ability to provide basic services, seeds inequality and injustice and discourages foreign aid and investment," it said.
The plea submitted that the Centre and states must implement stringent anti-corruption laws to give a strong message that it is determined to weed out corruption, black money generation, benami transactions, and money laundering.
It said corruption severely affects BPL families as it distorts and disrupts the public distribution system.
The petition has arrayed as parties -- ministries of Home Affairs, Finance, and Law and Justice, Law Commission of India, and the Delhi government.