Supreme Court adjourns for 3 weeks hearing on plea challenging verdict on PMLA provisions

Image Source : PTI/ REPRESENTATIONAL (FILE). Supreme Court adjourns for 3 weeks hearing on plea challenging verdict on PMLA provisions.

Highlights

  • SC adjourned for three weeks hearing on review petition challenging a judgement
  • It’s related to upholding constitutional validity of various provisions of PMLA
  • Bench headed by CJI adjourned matter after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta sought an adjournment

Supreme Court news: The Supreme Court on Tuesday (November 1) adjourned for three weeks hearing on review petition challenging judgment relating to upholding the constitutional validity of various provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) UU Lalit adjourned the matter after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta sought an adjournment in the case.

“At the request of counsel appearing for the parties, list the matter on November 30, 2022 before the appropriate Court after taking requisite directions from the Chief Justice,” the court said. Mehta sought an adjournment in the review petition on the ground that he will be appearing before a Constitution bench on Wednesday.

The matter was listed for hearing on Wednesday (November 2).

The court had earlier agreed to hear in an open court the review petition against the judgement pertaining to upholding various provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

The review plea was filed by Congress MP Karti Chidambaram.

On July 27, the Supreme Court upheld the validity of various provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), which empowers ED to make arrests, conduct searches and seizures, and attach proceeds of crime.

The court had also held that an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) cannot be equated with First Information Report (FIR) and ED officers are not police officers. The top court had, on March 15, reserved its order on a batch of petitions challenging certain provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Prominent names like Karti Chidambaram and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti were among the petitioners in the case.

Their petitions raised multiple issues including the absence of a procedure to commence investigation and summoning, while the accused was not made aware of the contents of the Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR).

Section 50 of the PMLA empowers the ‘authority’ i.e. officers of the Enforcement Directorate, to summon any person to give evidence or produce records. All persons summoned are bound to answer questions put to them, and to produce the documents as required by the ED officers, failing which they can be penalised under the PMLA. The Centre had justified the constitutional validity of the provisions of PMLA.

The Centre has apprised the court that around 4,700 cases are being investigated by the Directorate of Enforcement.It said that PMLA is not a conventional penal statute but is a statute which is aimed at necessarily preventing money laundering, regulating certain activities relatable to money laundering, aims at confiscating the “proceeds of crime” and the property derivedtherefrom and also requires offenders to be punished by the competent court after filing of a complaint.

The Centre submitted that India, as a signatory to the treaties and an important participant in the international process and the fight against money laundering, is bound legally and morally, to adopt the global best practices and respond to the changing needs of the times.

(With ANI inputs)

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