'Dangerous': Opposition parties issue joint statement on Supreme Court upholding stringent provisions of PMLA

Congress spokesperson Jairam Ramesh today on Twitter shared the joint statement by 17 opposition parties.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Wednesday, August 03, 2022, 03:24 PM IST
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PTI

More than 15 opposition parties have termed as 'dangerous' the recent Supreme Court judgement upholding amendments made in 2019 to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), giving more powers to agencies such as the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Congress MP Jairam Ramesh today on Twitter shared the joint statement by 17 opposition parties expressing deep apprehensions on the SC's judgement.

"We hope that the dangerous verdict will be short-lived and constitutional provisions will prevail soon," read the statement, signed by representatives of the Congress, Trinamool Congress, DMK, Aam Aadmi Party, CPI(M), Samajwadi Party and the RJD, among others.

Here's the full statement by the parties:

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. If tomorrow the Supreme Court holds that the challenged amendments through Finance Act is bad in law, then the entire exercise would become futile and loss of judicial time.

We hold, and will always hold, our Supreme Court in the highest respect. Yet, we are compelled to point out 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

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.

For the unversed, the Supreme Court last week upheld the validity of a wide range of powers granted to the ED under the amended law. It had been challenged by nearly 250 petitions.

Opposition parties are set to again go to the apex court to seek a review of the verdict. While questioning the manner in which the amendments were pushed through in Parliament, the Opposition have been alleging that the sweeping powers are misused against political opponents by the central government.

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