'Dangerous Verdict': Oppn Calls For Review Of Supreme Court's PMLA Verdict

The Supreme Court on July 27 upheld the validity of stringent provisions of the PMLA related to power exercised by the ED on arrest, search and seizure of ill-gotten wealth, posing a threat to economic stability.

By Aalok Sensharma
Wed, 03 Aug 2022 03:44 PM IST
Minute Read
'Dangerous Verdict': Oppn Calls For Review Of Supreme Court's PMLA Verdict
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, CPI leader D Raja, and others during the all-party opposition meeting in New Delhi. (Photo: ANI)

Seventeen opposition parties, including the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Wednesday questioned the Supreme Court's verdict to uphold amendments to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), terming it "dangerous" and calling for a review.

The joint statement was signed by parties such as Samajwadi Party, Shiv Sena, DMK, CPI(M), Congress, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) among others. They said the top court's judgement will strengthen a government which "indulges in political vendetta".

"We place on record our deep apprehension on the long-term implications of the recent Supreme Court judgement upholding, in entirety, the amendments to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, without examining whether some of these amendments could have been enacted by way of Finance Act," they said.

Expressing hopes that the "verdict will be short-lived", the opposition parties said they hold and will always hold the Supreme Court in the highest respect. However, they said that that the "judgment should have awaited the verdict of a larger Bench for examining the constitutionality of the Finance Act route to carry out amendments".

"These far-reaching amendments strengthened the hands of a government, indulging in political vendetta of the worst kind, by using these very amended laws relating to money laundering and investigation agencies, to target its political opponents in a mischievous and malicious manner," the opposition parties alleged.

"We are also very disappointed that the highest judicial authority, invited to give an independent verdict on the lack of checks and balances in the Act, has virtually reproduced arguments given by the executive in support of draconian amendments. We hope that the dangerous verdict will be short lived and constitutional provisions will prevail soon," they said.

The Supreme Court on July 27 upheld the validity of stringent provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act related to power exercised by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on arrest, search and seizure of ill-gotten wealth, posing a threat to economic stability, as it observed that money laundering is no less heinous than terrorism.

The order was passed by a three-judge bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari, and CT Ravikumar.

"The international bodies have been discussing the menace of money laundering on regular basis for quite some time; and strongly recommended enactment of stringent legislation for prevention of money-laundering and combating with the menace thereof including to prosecute the offenders and for attachment and confiscation of the proceeds of crime having direct impact on the financial systems and sovereignty and integrity of the countries," the court had said.

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