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Supreme Court's Big Ruling On PMLA Arrest

Supreme Court's Big Ruling On PMLA Arrest

The Supreme Court ruled that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) cannot arrest an accused under Section 19 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) if they respond to a summons from a special court. The ED must first seek the court's approval for any arrest after cognisance of the complaint has been taken.

"After cognisance is taken of the offence, the ED and its officers are powerless to exercise powers under Section 19 to arrest the person shown as accused in the complaint," the court stated. Section 19 of the PMLA allows ED officers to arrest an individual based on material possession and written reason to believe that the person is guilty. They must inform the individual of the grounds for arrest "as soon as may be."

If an accused was not arrested before the ED filed its complaint, they could not be arrested later. The special court must issue a summons, and if the accused complies, they are not considered 'in custody'. The ED must apply to the court for custody, which can only be granted if the court deems custodial interrogation necessary.

An arrest warrant under Section 70 of the Code of Criminal Procedure can be issued only if the accused fails to answer the summons and must initially be a bailable warrant. The court emphasized protection against arbitrary arrests, stating that accused individuals not arrested before responding to a court summons need not meet the stringent 'twin test' for bail under the PMLA. This test requires the court to be satisfied that the individual is not guilty and unlikely to commit further crimes on bail.

This ruling stemmed from a money laundering case where the accused had appeared before a special court as summoned. The Supreme Court had earlier reserved its judgment on April 30 and reaffirmed the need for written grounds for arrest without exception.

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Supreme Court's Big Ruling On PMLA Arrest

Supreme Court's Big Ruling On PMLA Arrest

The Supreme Court ruled that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) cannot arrest an accused under Section 19 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) if they respond to a summons from a special court. The ED must first seek the court's approval for any arrest after cognisance of the complaint has been taken.

"After cognisance is taken of the offence, the ED and its officers are powerless to exercise powers under Section 19 to arrest the person shown as accused in the complaint," the court stated. Section 19 of the PMLA allows ED officers to arrest an individual based on material possession and written reason to believe that the person is guilty. They must inform the individual of the grounds for arrest "as soon as may be."

If an accused was not arrested before the ED filed its complaint, they could not be arrested later. The special court must issue a summons, and if the accused complies, they are not considered 'in custody'. The ED must apply to the court for custody, which can only be granted if the court deems custodial interrogation necessary.

An arrest warrant under Section 70 of the Code of Criminal Procedure can be issued only if the accused fails to answer the summons and must initially be a bailable warrant. The court emphasized protection against arbitrary arrests, stating that accused individuals not arrested before responding to a court summons need not meet the stringent 'twin test' for bail under the PMLA. This test requires the court to be satisfied that the individual is not guilty and unlikely to commit further crimes on bail.

This ruling stemmed from a money laundering case where the accused had appeared before a special court as summoned. The Supreme Court had earlier reserved its judgment on April 30 and reaffirmed the need for written grounds for arrest without exception.

 
 

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