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Attachment of Amnesty Intl bank accounts: Delhi HC allows adjudication proceedings but final order only after clearance

In the petition, Amnesty has said the provisional attachment order (PAO) passed against it in November 2020 by the ED has lapsed, and has sought a direction for quashing the notice issued to it by the Adjudicating Authority on May 25 directing it to attend the proceedings pending before it for final arguments on Friday.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: May 29, 2021 3:47:32 pm
Delhi High courtThe court also noted that the Preamble of the Constitution resolves to secure to all its citizens justice and equality.

The Delhi High Court on Friday said proceedings before the adjudicating authority with regard to the provisional attachment of Amnesty International’s bank accounts will continue, but any final order will not be implemented without the court’s permission.

Justice Rekha Palli issued a notice to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the petition filed by Amnesty and listed the case for hearing on September 28.

In the petition, Amnesty has said the provisional attachment order (PAO) passed against it in November 2020 by the ED has lapsed, and has sought a direction for quashing the notice issued to it by the Adjudicating Authority on May 25 directing it to attend the proceedings pending before it for final arguments on Friday.

In November 2019, an FIR was registered against Amnesty International by CBI for alleged violations of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010. The ED also registered a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act against the organisation and later and froze two bank accounts and 10 fixed deposit accounts belonging to Amnesty International India Limited and Indians for Amnesty International Trust (IAIT) on November 26 last year.

As per the law, the provisional attachment order has to be confirmed by the Adjudicating Authority before expiry of 180 days.

Arguing that the order under challenge was valid only till May 25, Amnesty has said that the adjudicating authority, hearing the complaint seeking confirmation of the order, has become functus officio on account of expiry of the 180-days period.

“Continuation of proceedings before the Authority in the impugned OC (Original Complaint of ED) is illegal, without jurisdiction and contrary to the clear statutory mandate under the PMLA,” it has said in the petition.

It has further contended that it cannot be deprived of its property merely by an “executive fiat” without any specific legal authority or without the support of law made by a competent legislature. “Great prejudice and irreparable injury shall be caused to the petitioner if the present petition is not allowed as prayed for in as much as properties worth Rs 55 Lakhs of the Petitioner were attached by way of the impugned PAO,” Amnesty International has said.

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