Oppn may seek a review of SC’s PMLA judgment

Updated on Aug 04, 2022 12:58 AM IST

A senior Opposition leader added that the Congress and the Trinamool Congress have sought time with President of India Droupadi Murmu to raise the issue with her.

ED raids the residence of Maha ex-minister Anil Parab in May. Oppn has accused the govt of misusing probe agencies and said SC order will strengthen the hands of the Centre. (HT PHOTO)
ED raids the residence of Maha ex-minister Anil Parab in May. Oppn has accused the govt of misusing probe agencies and said SC order will strengthen the hands of the Centre. (HT PHOTO)

Sixteen Opposition parties and independent MP Kapil Sibal dubbed the recent Supreme Court’s endorsement of the powers of the Enforcement Directorate under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) as a “dangerous verdict” and said in a statement that the “far-reaching amendments” strengthened the government’s hands and can help them target its political Opponents in a mischievous and malicious manner.

HT learns that the Opposition may file a review petition in the apex court.

A senior Opposition leader added that the Congress and the Trinamool Congress have sought time with President of India Droupadi Murmu to raise the issue with her.

Also read: Intense negotiations, 6 drafts behind rare show of Opposition unity

“We will take this to the end. We will make an appeal to the chief justice of the Supreme Court, and raise this issue in all forums,” Congress leader Abhiskek Singhvi said at a press briefing. He later told HT that the “statement shows a clear intent of seeking a review of the judgment through a petition”.

The court’s July 27order refers to amendments , brought through the Finance Bill—a money bill that can’t be voted on in the Rajya Sabha—that allow the ED to arrest people, attach properties involved in money laundering and conduct search and seizure under PMLA. The Opposition leaders’ statement said, “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.”

The Opposition note comes amid rising criticism for ED for what Opposition parties claim is a targeted attack at leaders of opposition parties. ED currently has ongoing investigations against leaders of the Congress, TMC, AAP, and Shiv Sena.

Expressing their “deep apprehension” on the long-term implications of the judgment upholding the amendments, the Opposition’s statement said, “If tomorrow, the SC holds that the challenged amendments through Finance Act is bad in law, then the entire exercise would become futile and a loss of judicial time.”

Also read: AAP to back Opposition candidate Margaret Alva for Vice President

The letter, signed by Opposition floor leaders such as Leader of the Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge, Trinamool’s Derek O’Brien, DMK’s TR Baalu, Shiv Sena’s Priyanka Chaturvedi, and AAP’s Narayan Dass Gupta said, “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.”

The Opposition also didn’t hide their displeasure that while they were invited to give “an independent verdict on the lack of checks and balances in the Act”, the court “virtually reproduced arguments given by the executive in support of draconian amendments.”

To be sure, review petitions are rarely admitted by the top court and are usually considered in the judges’ chambers rather than in open court.

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