Courts Update Delhi High Court issues notice to CBI, ED on...

Delhi High Court issues notice to CBI, ED on plea challenging Section 44(1) (c) of PMLA

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New Delhi Aug 6(ILNS): The Delhi High Court today issued notice to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on a petition challenging Section 44(1) (c) (Offences triable by Special Courts) of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

A Divisional Bench comprised of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Najmi Waziri passed the directions on a petition filed by NGO Advantage India through its President Girish Vaid and posted the matter for further hearing on September 29.

The petition is filed by Advocates Tanveer Ahmed Mir & Prabhav Ralli.

The plea contended, “Section 44(1) (c) of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, the same being manifestly arbitrary, unreasonable and violative of the petitioner’s fundamental rights under Articles 14,19 & 21 of the Constitution of India, and being against the covenant, intent, and scheme of the provisions of the PMLA, 2002 and violative of principles of natural justice.”

Section 44 (1)(c) says, “If the court which has taken cognizance of the scheduled offense is other than the Special Court which has taken cognizance of the complaint of the offense of money-laundering under sub-clause (b), it shall, on an application by the authority authorized to file a complaint under this Act, commit the case relating to the scheduled offense to the Special Court and the Special Court shall, on receipt of such case, proceed to deal with it from the stage at which it is committed.”

The plea alleged that PMLA, 2002 defines the scheduled offense and the money laundering offense as two distinct offenses under Section 2(y) and Section 3 of the Act respectively, which are punishable separately under two different statutes, and the PMLA nowhere provides for both the offenses to be tried by the same court simultaneously.

Both the cases have their own set of facts, there is no common evidence and the same has to be assessed independently. Therefore, Section 44(1)(c) is in clear contradistinction to the scheme and intent of the Act itself, it added./ILNS

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