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Supreme Court adjourns hearing on Chhattisgarh Govt’s Plea Challenging PMLA

Supreme Court adjourns hearing on Chhattisgarh Govt’s Plea Challenging PMLA

Today, the Supreme Court adjourned the hearing on the plea filed by the Chhattisgarh government challenging the constitutional validity of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

A division bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice MM Sundresh put off the matter in the second week of August after a letter for adjournment was circulated by the state.

Additional Solicitor General SV Raju appeared for the Enforcement Directorate in the matter.

In the said matter, the State government in its plea alleged that central investigating agencies are being misused to “intimidate”, “harass” and “disturb” the normal functioning of non-BJP state governments.

Congress leader, Bhupesh Baghel filed the original suit challenging the law under Article 131 of the Constitution that empowers a state to move the Supreme Court directly in matters of dispute with the Centre or any other state.

The state of Chhattisgarh has become the first state to challenge the money laundering act and its provisions. Earlier, private individuals and parties had challenged the law on various grounds.

“It is imperative to state that this is not the first occasion wherein the ED (Enforcement Directorate) has resorted to an illegal modus operandi. On multiple occasions, the approach has been employed concerning various states that hold a political stance opposite to the one in power at the Centre.

“Such conduct amounts to a severe misappropriation and arbitrary use of power, which goes against the constitutional mandate. Investigative agencies are expected to be entirely independent and uninfluenced,” it said.

A bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha was earlier told by senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi and advocate Sumeer Sodhi, appearing for the Chhattisgarh government, that the issue is of constitutional importance and requires an urgent hearing.

The suit, filed through Sodhi, said the “present case is a perfect example of how the central investigation agencies are being misused by those in power in order to intimidate, harass and disturb the normal functioning of an opposition government in the state of Chhattisgarh”.

It said Chhattisgarh is seeking interference of the court under its original jurisdiction bestowed by virtue of Article 131 of the Constitution in light of a dispute that has arisen between the state and the defendants — Union of India, the state of Karnataka and the Directorate of Enforcement — involving questions of law and facts that affect the legal and constitutional rights of the state.

 

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