Money Laundering Act: Apex Court agrees to reconsider twin aspects of providing ECIR to accused, negation of presumed innocence

The Supreme Court had earlier upheld the powers of Enforcement Directorate's wide powers to arrest and attach property involved in money laundering and seizures under the PMLA.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Thursday, August 25, 2022, 11:54 AM IST
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Money Laundering Act: Apex Court agrees to reconsider twin aspects of providing ECIR to accused, negation of presumed innocence | Representative Image

The Supreme Court on Thursday said that two aspects of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) judgment-that is regarding no legal requirement to provide ECIR copy and the reversal of presumption of innocence- require reconsideration.

The bench also extended its order granting interim protection by 4 weeks.

The Supreme Court had earlier upheld the powers of Enforcement Directorate's wide powers to arrest, attach property involved in money laundering and seizures under the PMLA.

The verdict had come from a three-judge bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar (now retired), Dinesh Maheshwari and CT Ravikumar on July 27 on a clutch of more than 200 petitions filed by individuals and entities questioning various provisions of the PMLA, a law which, as per the opposition’s frequent claims, has been weaponised by the Union Government to harass political adversaries.

It was a common experience the world over that money laundering could be a “threat” to the functioning of a financial system, the court observed while upholding the validity of certain provisions of the PMLA. It underlined that money laundering was not an “ordinary offence”.

As per the ruling, the enforcement case information report (ECIR) could not be equated with an FIR under the Code of Criminal Procedure. Supplying an ECIR copy in every case to the person concerned was not mandatory and it was enough if the ED, at the time of arrest, disclosed the grounds of such an arrest, the court said.

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