Section 37A (Special provisions relating to assets held outside India in contravention of section 4) under Chapter VI (Directorate of Enforcement) of the Foreign Exchange Management Act 1999 (FEMA)
❝(1) Upon receipt of any information or otherwise, if the Authorised Officer prescribed by the Central Government has reason to believe that any foreign exchange, foreign security, or any immovable property, situated outside India, is suspected to have been held in contravention of section 4, he may after recording the reasons in writing, by an order, seize value equivalent, situated within India, of such foreign exchange, foreign security or immovable property:
Provided that no such seizure shall be made in case where the aggregate value of such foreign exchange, foreign security or any immovable property, situated outside India, is less than the value as may be prescribed.
(2) The order of seizure along with relevant material shall be placed before the Competent Authority, appointed by the Central Government, who shall be an officer not below the rank of Joint Secretary to the Government of India by the Authorised Officer within a period of thirty days from the date of such seizure.
(3) The Competent Authority shall dispose of the petition within a period of one hundred eighty days from the date of seizure by either confirming or by setting aside such order, after giving an opportunity of being heard to the representatives of the Directorate of Enforcement and the aggrieved person.
Explanation.—While computing the period of one hundred eighty days, the period of stay granted by court shall be excluded and a further period of at least thirty days shall be granted from the date of communication of vacation of such stay order.
(4) The order of the Competent Authority confirming seizure of equivalent asset shall continue till the disposal of adjudication proceedings and thereafter, the Adjudicating Authority shall pass appropriate directions in the adjudication order with regard to further action as regards the seizure made under sub-section (1):
Provided that if, at any stage of the proceedings under this Act, the aggrieved person discloses the fact of such foreign exchange, foreign security or immovable property and brings back the same into India, then the Competent Authority or the Adjudicating Authority, as the case may be, on receipt of an application in this regard from the aggrieved person, and after affording an opportunity of being heard to the aggrieved person and representatives of the Directorate of Enforcement, shall pass an appropriate order as it deems fit, including setting aside of the seizure made under sub-section (1).
(5) Any person aggrieved by any order passed by the Competent Authority may prefer an appeal to the Appellate Tribunal.
(6) Nothing contained in section 15 shall apply to this section.❞
(1) Section 37A of the FEMA, 1999 was newly introduced by Act 20 of 2015, sec. 142 (w.e.f. 9-Sep-2015).
(2) The Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 was amended by:
- the Finance Act, 2015 (Act No. 20 of 2015);
- the Finance Act, 2016 (Act No. 28 of 2016);
- the Finance Act, 2017 (Act No. 07 of 2017).