Mon, 25 Sep 2023

New Delhi [India], March 28 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notice on petitions challenging Section 50 and Section 63 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 and summons issued against Congress leader Govind Singh.

A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah and Justice Aravind Kumar issued notice to the Centre and Enforcement Directorate on the plea filed by Congress leader Govind Singh.

"Issue notice on the Special Leave Petition as well as on interim relief," the court said adding that the counter affidavit should be filed within four weeks.

The court has directed them to list them immediately after six weeks.

Govind Singh, in his plea, has sought to declare Section 50 and Section 63 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 as ultra vires to the Constitution of India. He also urged the top court to quash the summons dated January 13, 2023, issued under Section 50 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 by the Directorate of Enforcement against him.

The petitioner was represented by Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal and the plea was filed through the advocate on record Sumeer Sodhi.

The petitioner Govind Singh is a member of the Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly from the Lahar constituency since 1990 having been returned to the Assembly seven consecutive times and the vice-president of the Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee. Currently, Govind Singh is also discharging duties and responsibilities as the Leader of the Opposition in the Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly.

In his plea, Govind Singh also mentioned that assembly elections are due in the State of Madhya Pradesh in the coming months.

The Petitioner has been constrained to approach the top court under Article 32 of the Constitution of India challenging vires of Section 50 and Section 63 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (hereinafter, PMLA). Primarily the challenge is based upon the premise that the provisions of the PMLA allowing an officer of the Directorate of Enforcement to summon any person to record his statement under Section 50 of the act and requiring that person to speak the truth in such words is violative of Article 20(3) and 21 of the Constitution of India, the petitioner said.

"The Petitioner is conscious of the recent judgment of this Court whereby a challenge to vires of Section 50 of the PMLA has been turned down in the case of Vijay Madanial Choudhary. However, the Petitioner being an informed citizen of this Country has certain grounds to urge as to why the said Judgment in Vijay Madanlal (supra) deserves to be held as per incuriam and the issues raised in the present petition deserve to be settled by a larger constitutional bench in terms of Article 145(3) of the Constitution of India," the petition said.

The petitioner said that being the leader of the opposition in the Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly, the Petitioner is vocal in bringing to the fore the shortcomings, and failures on part of the current ruling Government in the State of Madhya Pradesh. He further said that ED summons against him is a direct threat to the fundamental right of free speech.

He further said that Summon has been issued in abject misuse of the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 to silence the voice of opposition in the Country and is in complete contrast to the objective behind the enactment of the Act.

He further said that he is a prominent leader of the Indian National Congress, and has been in receipt of a number of accolades during his public service. He alleged Centre Government for abusing the State machinery out of pure political vendetta. (ANI)

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