Holistic approach needed on pleas concerning interpretation of PMLA provisions: SC

We need to have a holistic approach.

PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 27-01-2022 18:33 IST | Created: 27-01-2022 17:52 IST
Holistic approach needed on pleas concerning interpretation of PMLA provisions: SC
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The Supreme Court Thursday said it needs to have a "holistic approach" on the issues raised in a batch of petitions concerning the interpretation of certain provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

A bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar said the issue raised in the matter has to be resolved at the earliest as so many prosecutions are affected, one way or the other.

"All these cases are together. We need to have a holistic approach. All the cases are listed together for that reason," said the bench, also comprising Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and C T Ravikumar.

The observation by the bench came after senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for some of the petitioners, said he was taking time in arguing the matter as this issue affects lakhs of individuals.

He said, "it will sort of deciding the fate of so many people and so many prosecutions that we need to be very clear as to what the law is and then decide." The bench observed that this needs to be resolved at the earliest.

"So many prosecutions are affected one way or the other," the top court said.

Sibal said, "that is why we wanted this matter to be heard and we are glad that your lordships are giving time to us." During the arguments, which would continue on February 1, the senior advocate referred to the provisions of the PMLA, including those dealing with the offense of money laundering and powers of authorities regarding summons, production of documents, and giving evidence.

Sibal said there cannot be an explanation to an Act that attaches criminality.

He said several judgments of the apex court said explanation cannot override the main provision of the statute.

"Not only override, it cannot whittle down," the bench observed, adding, "The main provision cannot be whittled down by explanation".

While arguing the matter on January 25, Sibal had referred to the provision of PMLA and said one of the questions which has to be considered by the bench is can there be a procedure in law, where a criminal proceeding can be started against an individual without informing him as to what is against him.

He had said that in the criminal justice system, any process involving criminal investigation must be open.

Sibal had argued that the issue of an individual being called without telling him whether as an accused or a witness is another aspect that the court will have to examine in the matter.

The senior advocate had said that during his submissions, he would deal with aspects, including the PMLA Act and the amendments to it, and also on the bail provision.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had earlier told the bench that there are over 200 petitions in the matter and interim stays have been granted in several serious cases due to which investigation has been affected.

Some of these petitions have challenged the validity of certain provisions of the PMLA.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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