17 Oppn parties term SC’s PMLA ruling “dangerous”

At least 17 Opposition parties have expressed concerns about the longterm impact of the Supreme Court verdict upholding the constitutional validity of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), and sought a review of the order.

In a joint statement, the Opposition leaders said the top court’s judgment 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.”

The Supreme Court last week upheld the provisions relating to the Enforcement Directorate’s powers of arrest, attachment, search, and seizure. The Union government had told the SC that “it cannot be said that presumption of innocence is a constitutional guarantee.”

“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,” read the 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.

Opposition leaders said they “were 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.”

The statement further said that they hope that the dangerous verdict will be short lived and constitutional provisions will prevail soon.