17 Oppn parties issue joint statement on SC verdict on ED

Opposition parties on Wednesday issued a joint statement on the Supreme Court validating powers of Enforcement Directorate under PMLA and said there ‘is a deep apprehension on the long-term implication of the recent judgement’.

In a landmark verdict delivered on Wednesday (July 27), the Supreme Court declared that the ED has the powers conferred under law to investigate people, conduct searches and raids, and even arrest citizens under the stringent provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Seventeen Opposition parties, including Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party (SP), DMK Shiv Sena, AAP, and independent Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal signed the joint statement.

The statement said, “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. If tomorrow the Supreme Court 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.”

“We hold, and will always hold, our 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,” it added.

The statement said that they are 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 statement further said.

The Superme Court on July 27 issued its directives in a 545-page order after hearing a clutch of pleas concerning validity and interpretation of a number of provisions of the PMLA and the procedure followed by the ED while probing cases under this criminal law.

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