The Supreme Court has upheld the Enforcement Directorate’s power to arrest and summon people under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. It also supported the stringent “twin condition” bail rule in money laundering cases.
A bench led by Justice AM Khanwilar delivered a verdict on a batch of petitions challenging the process of arrest, seizure and investigation carried out by the ED (Enforcement Directorate) and seeking an interpretation of a provision of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
Senior Advocate of Supreme Court and former Additional Solicitor general of India Aman Lekhi has pointed out his opinion on the Money Laundering case and said that PMLA has ambiguity and inconsistency. He also pointed out that certain judgements by the Supreme Court are not as comprehensively as they should be in PMLA.
To the extent in the interpretation which the government sought and the interpretation court upheld is inconsistent with the subject matter of Section 3 of PMLA is drafted. Interpretation of international conventions has a significant value but it cannot override the law.
The legal burden remains on the prosecution. The possibility of proof to discharge is a burden on the accused. As he said that section 45 is interpreted which could be done more better.
The prima facie is to conduct a pre-trial to prove that is there any guilt or not and on that basis they will come up with a tentative finding and this tentative finding foundation has not to be there at the time of bail. The sections themselves are contradicting in nature.
Senior Advocate Aman Lekhi pointed out that Section 19 of Crpc is most of the time gets abused and to minimise this a rigorous punishment has to be made on this judgement because Section 19 of Crpc is more stringent. As Supreme Court cannot say Article 20 is not valid because it is valid.
As the judgement state that the court upheld the constitutionality of the provision of Section 5, 8(4), 15,17 and 19 of the PMLA which relate to the power of the Enforcement Directorate such as the power of arrest, attachment, search and seizure. The court also affirmed the ‘twin condition’ for bail in Section 45 of the PMLA.