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Were you in opposition when PMLA was enforced in 2002? Justice Bela Trivedi asks Kapil Sibal

In November 2017, a Bench of Justices Kaul and Rohinton Nariman had struck down Section 45(1) of the PMLA to the extent that it imposed two additional conditions for grant of bail to money laundering accused.

However, this decision was overruled in July 2022 by a Bench of Justices AM KhanwilkarDinesh Maheshwari and CT Ravikumar in the case of Vijay Madanlal Choudhary vs. Union of India.

In that ruling, the Court upheld the validity of several other provisions of the Act including Sections 3 (definition of money laundering), 5 (attachment of property), 8(4) [taking possession of attached property), 17 (search and seizure), 18 (search of persons), 19 (powers of arrest), 24 (reverse burden of proof), 44 (offences triable by special court), 45 (offences being cognizable and non-bailable and twin conditions for grant of bail by court) and 50 (statements made to ED officials).

The Court also held that the supply of Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) under PMLA proceedings is not mandatory since ECIR is an internal document and cannot be equated to a First Information Report (FIR).

Further, it rejected the argument about proportionality of punishment under PMLA with respect to scheduled offences as wholly “unfounded”.

The 2022 ruling invited vehement criticism and led to several review applications being filed.

The same are pending before the top court.

Meanwhile, new petitions were filed challenging PMLA which were heard by the top court today.

Source: Barandbench

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