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SC to deliver verdict on pleas concerning interpretation of provisions of anti-money laundering law

The Supreme Court is scheduled to pronounce its judgment on Wednesday on a batch of petitions concerning the interpretation of certain provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The apex court is also slated to hear several important matters, including a suo motu case to mull laying down guidelines regarding potential mitigating circumstances to be considered while imposing death sentence.

A bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar would hear pleas relating to the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 or the Cable Television Networks (Amendment) Rules, 2021 and the Ancillary Rules.

The court had earlier stayed further proceedings before high courts in matters involving challenges to the IT Rules, 2021 or the Cable Television Networks (Amendment) Rules, 2021 and the Ancillary Rules, which are the subject matter of proceedings before it.

The top court would also hear pleas filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), including those challenging the August 13, 2021 order of the Kerala High Court that had granted anticipatory bail to former Gujarat director general of police (DGP) R B Sreekumar, two former Kerala police officers — S Vijayan and Thampi S Durga Dutt — and a retired intelligence official, P S Jayaprakash, in connection with the 1994 Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) espionage case.

The matter pertains to the alleged framing of scientist Nambi Narayanan in the espionage case.

During the hearing on the pleas concerning the interpretation of certain PMLA provisions, the apex court had deliberated on section 45 of the Act as well as section 436A of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and also on balancing the rights of the accused.

While section 45 of the PMLA deals with the aspect of offences to be cognisable and non-bailable, section 436A of the CrPC deals with the maximum period for which an undertrial prisoner can be detained.

The apex court had also heard arguments on section 19 of the PMLA, which deals with the aspect of power to arrest, as well as section 3 that provides the definition of a money-laundering offence.

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