On 27 July 2022, the three-judge bench headed by J. Khanwilkar upheld the constitutional validity of various provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002. Join us, as P39A explains and explores the fallout of the judgment for money-laundering trials across the country as well as the criminal justice system at large.
In upholding the validity of India’s money laundering law, the Supreme Court on 27 July 2022, created a new normal in the country’s justice system, overturning the basic principles of criminal law, deferring to Parliament and the government and subverting its own powers of independent judicial review.
The judgement in Vijay Madanlal Choudhary v. Union of India has created a situation where the State can arrest anyone without telling them precisely what crime they are supposed to have committed and where no court will be able to release them for an extended period. Differently put, history has repeated itself, and we have arrived back at ADM Jabalpur.
On 27 July 2022, the Supreme Court of India in Vijay Madanal Choudhary v Union of India, upheld the validity of various provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (‘the Act’). Here is a summary of the findings and reasoning of the Court on key provisions of the Act.
This justification when viewed with reference to the definition of money laundering and wide list of predicate offences in the Act is lacking. Money laundering as a separate offence is best used to tackle criminal activity by organised groups involving large proceeds.
In the last ten years, the ED has recorded almost 5500 cases under the Act and more than Rs. 1,00,000 crores worth of property has been attached. On the other hand, only twenty three persons have been convicted under the Act since the ED took jurisdiction.