SC verdict upholding PMLA amendments dangerous: Opposition

They express deep concerns regarding the long-term consequences from this Supreme Court order

As 17 opposition parties which include those of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) released an official statement on Wednesday, in which they expressed their “deep fears” regarding the long-term implications in the Supreme Court order upholding the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) changes.

The statement by the opposition parties claimed that the ruling of the highest court will strengthen the hand of an administration which “indulges in political vendettas” to pursue its adversaries in an “mischievous and unjust manner” and expressed their hopes that this “dangerous ruling will not last long”.

The announcement came just a day following that the ED executed raids on one of the National Herald offices at various locations.

The issue of misuse in the ED was discussed in both houses of Parliament. Lok Sabha witnessing multiple disruptions regarding the issue.

“We put on record our deep concern over the long-term consequences from the latest Supreme Court judgment upholding, in full the amendments made in the Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002, but without considering whether any of these amendments could have been passed in the Finance Act,” the statement read.

‘Highest respect’

The statement said that the parties have and will continue to treat “the Supreme Court in the highest regard,” the statement added, “Yet, we are forced to highlight that the decision should have been delayed until the decision of a higher Bench reviewing the constitutionality of the Finance Act route to carry out the amendments. These sweeping amendments strengthened government’s ability to engage into political vendettas that is the most unsavory kind, by using these incredibly altered laws on the investigation and money laundering agencies to target political adversaries with a malicious and naive way”.

“We are also deeply dissatisfied that the most powerful judge, who was asked to render an independent decision regarding the absence controls and checks within the Act nearly reproduced the arguments of the executive to support extreme changes. We are hoping that the risky decision will be deferred and that constitutional principles will prevail,” the opposition leaders declared in their statement.

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The Opposition said that if, in the future, the highest court decides that the amendments challenged in the Finance Act are bad in law, the whole exercise will be futile and could result in losing the time of the court.

Some of the signatories included The Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge (Congress), Sharad Pawar (NCP), Ram Gopal Yadav (Samajwadi Party), Derek O’Brien (TMC), T.R. Baalu (DMK) Elamaram Kareem (CPI-M), Binoy Viswam (CPI), Narain Dass Gupta (AAP) and an independent Rajya Sabha member Kapil Sibal.

It is not allowed to speak.

In the early hours of Wednesday morning, Congress whip Manickam Tagore was given an adjournment order within the Lok Sabha. As the House began its morning session at 11. a.m. the opposition members protested on a variety of issues and actions, including those that were taken by ED. Congress the president Sonia Gandhi was seen asking party leader Adhir Chowdhury to address the House about a particular issues. Congress members and Ms. Baalu urged Speaker Om Birla to permit Ms. Chowdhury to speak but was denied, causing the House being adjourned until 12 noon. Two more interruptions occurred after that, before the House began to function.

The Rajya Sabha, Mr. Kharge claimed he issued an official notice under Rule 267 to stop all business for the day and to discuss the abuses of autonomous agencies, such as the ED as well as the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Income Tax department. However, Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu did not allow.

the Shiv Sena’s Priyanka Chaturvedi also has raised the issue of the being detained by a colleague Sanjay Raut in the hands of ED. “The Rajya Sabha is a Council of States. What’s happening in Maharashtra? A sitting member of the Parliament was detained, arrested and detained in Enforcement Directorate. Enforcement Directorate,” she stated, noting the chair was not informed of the arrest.

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