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Opposition records ‘deep apprehension’ over SC upholding PMLA amendments, seeks review

At least 17 Opposition parties including the TMC and AAP Wednesday expressed apprehensions about the longterm implications of the Supreme Court verdict upholding amendments to the money laundering Act and called for a review.

In a joint statement, their leaders said the judgement will strengthen the hands of a government that “indulges in political vendetta” to target its opponents and expressed hope that this “dangerous verdict will be short-lived”.

“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,” they said in the statement.

The parties said they hold and will always hold the 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,” the opposition parties alleged.

“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,” the opposition leaders said in their joint statement.

Among the parties that have signed the joint statement are the Congress, the TMC, DMK, AAP, NCP, Shiv Sena, CPI-M, CPI, IUML, RSP, MDMK, RJD and RLD.

Congress’ Jairam Ramesh shared the joint statement on Twitter, saying, “17 Opposition parties, including TMC & AAP, plus one independent Rajya Sabha MP, have signed a joint statement expressing deep apprehensions on long-term implications of the recent Supreme Court judgement upholding amendments to PMLA,2002 and called for its review.”

The Supreme Court on July 27 upheld certain provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and said that stringent conditions for bail under the Act are legal and not arbitrary.

It is enough if the Enforcement Directorate discloses grounds for arrest at the time of arrest, the Supreme Court bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar said.

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