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Thursday, Oct 06, 2022

PMLA ruling dangerous, hope it will be short-lived: 16 Opposition parties

Signatories to the statement include the TMC and AAP, two parties which had been maintaining distance from the Congress-led Opposition bloc, and independent MP Kapil Sibal.

Earlier, the Congress had said the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the constitutional validity of some provisions of the money laundering law will have far-reaching implications for India’s democracy. (Express photo)

The Supreme Court’s judgment upholding the constitutional validity of provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act relating to the Enforcement Directorate’s power of arrest, attachment, search and seizure has united the Opposition, with 16 parties issuing a joint statement Wednesday, calling it a “dangerous verdict” which they hoped will be “short-lived”.

Signatories to the statement include the TMC and AAP, two parties which had been maintaining distance from the Congress-led Opposition bloc, and independent MP Kapil Sibal.

Sources said considerable effort by many leaders went into getting several Opposition parties to sign the joint letter. A senior Opposition leader called it one of the “rare instances” when most Opposition parties have shown unity of purpose. While the TMC reached out to the AAP, TRS and Sibal, the Congress spoke to the other parties including the Left, DMK, NCP and RJD.

Several Opposition parties including the Congress, TMC, NCP, Shiv Sena and CPM are facing ED heat and sources said the judgment has become a matter of common concern.

“We place on record our deep apprehension on the long-term implications of the recent Supreme Court judgment 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 the Finance Act. If tomorrow the Supreme Court upholds that the challenged amendments through the Finance Act is bad in law, then the entire exercise would become futile and a loss of judicial time,” the statement said.

Asserting that they hold, and will always hold, the Supreme Court in highest respect, the parties said “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,” the statement said.

The parties said they were “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. We hope that the dangerous verdict will be short-lived and constitutional provisions will prevail soon,” the parties said.

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Senior TMC leader Derek O’Brien said the Opposition will find issues like this which can unite them. He said that reports about break in Opposition ranks were “highly exaggerated”.

Among signatories to the statement are leaders of the Congress, TMC, DMK, CPM, CPI, RJD, Shiv Sena, NCP, RLD, SP, JMM, AAP, IUML, RSP, Kerala Congress (M) and the MDMK.

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Leaders who have signed the joint statement include Mallikarjun Kharge, Sharad Pawar, Ram Gopal Yadav, Derek O’Brien, T R Baalu, Elamaram Kareem, Binoy Viswam, Kapil Sibal, Narain Dass Gupta, Priyanka Chaturvedi and Jayant Chaudhary.

First published on: 03-08-2022 at 03:48:58 pm
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