Question: It appears that investors are once again dealing in crypto currencies in India. I am confused since earlier this was not possible in view of a circular of the Reserve Bank of India.
Answer: In 2018, the Reserve Bank of India had prohibited banks from allowing its customers to trade in crypto currencies. However, in February 2020, the Supreme Court struck down the circular issued by the Reserve Bank. Therefore, some banks are now permitting their customers to purchase Bitcoin and other crypto currencies after conducting due diligence tests on payments, checking for suspicious transactions and making sure that the customers and crypto currency exchanges adhere to Anti-Money Laundering and KYC norms. As India moves towards a transparent regulatory framework, banks are open to providing services in crypto currencies. This is done through the UPI platform. However, these transactions are not presently permitted through netbanking or debit card usage.
Q: Some real estate developers are not adhering to the time line for delivering constructed apartments as stipulated in the contract. Is it possible for the customer to ask for refund of the amount paid with interest where default is committed by the developer by not completing the construction on time or by not providing the amenities stipulated under the agreement?
A: Where a real estate developer has defaulted on his commitments, purchasers would be entitled to file complaints with the Real Estate Regulatory Authority. This can be done if there is a delay in giving delivery of the completed flats/apartments or if any unilateral changes are made in the apartment layout by the builder after the agreement is registered. Complaints can also be filed if the builder has gone back on certain amenities which were promised in his advertisement, brochure or any other publicity material. The Maharashtra Real Estate Appellate Tribunal has upheld the grievances of buyers where the real estate developer has violated the agreement or reneged on his commitments. This order of the appellate tribunal has been upheld by the Bombay High Court which directed the builder to refund the amount together with interest thereon and also give suitable compensation.
Q: My father who resides in Chennai is a senior citizen and is not keeping good health. He has put money in a senior citizen’s savings scheme and post office time deposits. He wants to close these accounts and draw the money. Is it necessary for him to go personally to the post office which may not be possible in view of his physical condition?
A: Until recently the depositor was required to personally visit the post office either to make withdrawals or to close the account. This created undue hardship to senior citizens or those who were physically challenged. Hence, with effect from August 2021, the Department of Posts has issued a circular that where a depositor is a senior citizen or is suffering from any illness or physical infirmity, he can close his account or withdraw funds through an authorised person. The authority letter would have to be submitted by the depositor in the prescribed form and the person so authorised would be required to give suitable identification documents when he visits the post office for withdrawal of funds or closure of the account.
H. P. Ranina is a practicing lawyer, specialising in tax and exchange management laws of India.
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