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‘Stringent, higher standard’: SC upholds validity of PMLA provision on arrest



The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the validity of Section 19 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), which postulates the manner of arrest of a person involved in money laundering, saying that safeguards are provided in the Act and the preconditions to be fulfilled by the authorised officer before effecting arrest, are equally stringent and of higher standard.

A bench, headed by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and comprising Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and C.T. Ravikumar said: “We have no hesitation in upholding the validity of Section 19 of the 2002 Act. We reject the grounds pressed into service to declare Section 19 of the 2002 Act as unconstitutional.”

The bench added that such a provision has reasonable nexus with the purposes and objects sought to be achieved by the Act of prevention of money laundering and confiscation of proceeds of crime involved in money laundering, including to prosecute persons involved in the process or activity connected with the proceeds of crime.

The PMLA is a comprehensive legislation, not limited to provide for prosecution of persons involved in the offence of money laundering, but mainly intended to prevent money laundering activity and confiscate the proceeds of crime involved in money laundering, it said.

The bench added that this legislation is an amalgam of different facets including setting up of agencies and mechanisms for coordinating measures for combating money laundering.

“It is not as if after every inquiry, prosecution is launched against all persons found to be involved in the commission of offence of money laundering. It is also not unusual to provide for the arrest of a person during such inquiry before filing of a complaint for indulging in alleged criminal activity,” it noted.

The top court said it is, thus, obliging the person to be obedient to law. “The safeguards provided in the 2002 Act and the preconditions to be fulfilled by the authorised officer before effecting arrest, as contained in Section 19 of the 2002 Act, are equally stringent and of higher standard,” added the bench, in its 545-page judgment.

The top court said safeguards ensure that the authorised officers do not act arbitrarily, but make them accountable for their judgment about the necessity to arrest any person as being involved in the commission of offence of money laundering even before filing of the complaint before the special court under Section 44(1)(b) of the 2002 Act.

“Suffice it to observe that this power has been given to the high-ranking officials with further conditions to ensure that there is objectivity and their own accountability in resorting to arrest of a person even before a formal complaint is filed under Section 44(1)(b) of the 2002 Act.

“Investing of power in the high-ranking officials in this regard has stood the test of reasonableness.”

The top court clarified that the authorities under the 2002 Act are not police officers.

“Ex-consequenti, the statements recorded by authorities under the 2002 Act, of persons involved in the commission of the offence of money laundering or the witnesses for the purposes of inquiry/investigation, cannot be hit by the vice of Article 20(3) of the Constitution or for that matter, Article 21 being procedure established by law,” it added.

The bench noted that in a given case, whether the protection given to the accused who is being prosecuted for the offence of money laundering, of Section 25 of the Evidence Act is available or not, may have to be considered on a case-to-case basis being the rule of evidence.

The petitioners had argued that the procedure being followed under the PMLA is draconian as it violates the basic tenets of the criminal justice system and the rights enshrined in Part III of the Constitution, in particular Articles 14, 20 and 21.

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The poet who first called for complete independence, coined ‘Inquilab Zindabad’




 Syed Fazal-ul-Hasan, popularly known as Hasrat Mohani was born in 1875 in Mohan, a town in Unnao district of the United Provinces of British India. He proposed complete independence for the first time before the Congress in 1921. He also proposed the abolition of foreign goods, the idea which Gandhiji later developed into a movement.

Hasrat was his pen name under which he wrote Urdu poetry and his last name ‘Mohani’ refers to his birthplace Mohan. Hasrat Mohani received his initial education at home and earned his BA degree from Aligarh in 1903.

In 1904, Hasrat Mohani joined Indian National Congress and joined the national movement. In 1905, he also took part in the Swadeshi Tehreek run by Bal Gangadhar Tilak.

He was an active participant in the Khilafat movement of 1919. In 1921, he coined the slogan “Inquilab Zindabad”, and went on to participated in the Ahmedabad session of the Congress in the same year. The phrase “Inquilab Zindabad” was later popularised by Bhagat Singh.

Professor Ajay Tiwari, who retired from Delhi University, said: “Hasrat Mohani had proposed complete independence for the first time in the Congress in 1921, which was opposed by Mahatma Gandhi. The two were friends but there was also an ideological conflict between them. When Mahatma Gandhi started the Khaddar (Khadi) movement, Mohani opposed it. He believed that the indigenous industry would be ruined and the workers would be punished.”

When Mohani proposed to boycott foreign goods, Gandhiji eventually accepted the idea and 10 years later, the Swadeshi movement began. Gandhi mentioned this in his autobiography that due to Mohani’s insistence, he was “compelled”. He wrote: “I was compelled to include the non-cooperation movement in the Swadeshi movement.”

It is said about Hasrat Mohani that, when he went to study in Aligarh, he did not wear the kind of pajamas people there popularly wore, he used to wear a normal kurta and carried a paan daan with him and wrote poetry. The orthodox people of Aligarh were annoyed by his dressing and the way he walked.

Mohani came out with a newspaper (Urdu-e-Mualla) that he used for furthering the cause of freedom. This angered the British who imposed a fine of Rs. 3,000.

When Mohani got his property assessed to pay the fine, his possessions summed up to a value of 50 Rupees. Because of this he went to jail. After being released from jail, he kept writing against the British and was imprisoned repeatedly.

Hasrat Mohani opposed fundamentalists, irrespective of their religion. He was secular and such people were few in the freedom movement. While living in Aligarh, he opposed the ideas of Sir Syed. This was no minor thing.

When the Constituent Assembly of India was formed in 1946, he was elected as a member from the state of Uttar Pradesh. He opposed the partition of India in 1947 and preferred to stay in India.

Maulana Hasrat Mohani died on 13 May 1951 in Lucknow.

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AAP emerging as possible headache for both BJP, Cong in MP




 The Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections, to be held next year, are expected to be very interesting as there is a possibility of a close contest between the two major parties, the BJP and the Congress.

However, it is the emergence of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) which could be worrisome for both the parties.

There has always been a possibility of the BJP’s vote share getting shifted towards other political parties in the state. In the previous Assembly polls as well, candidates of the Gondwana Party, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Bharatiya Janshakti Party and Ajay Bharat Party have won.

But eventually, the strength of these third parties weakened. However, it is the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP which is now considered as a new player in Madhya Pradesh, after it made a splash in the urban local body polls.

In Singrauli Municipal Corporation, AAP’s mayor and 40 councillors were elected, which, in terms of numbers, may be small but has helped the party mark its emergence in the state.

In the 2018 Assembly elections, 114 candidates of the Congress were elected, while 109 BJP candidates won. However, the Congress government lasted for only a year and a half, due to the defection of MLAs, after which, the BJP returned to power.

In the urban body elections, the Congress got 5 mayors while the BJP had nine, which points towards Madhya Pradesh witnessing one of its most interesting Assembly polls in 2023.

The AAP has also started preparing for the election. It is currently doing volunteer mapping and is trying to have volunteers in every village.

Presently, the AAP’s emphasis is on proper organisation at the grassroots level, after which it will increase its political activities rapidly. Currently, the party is also excited about its big initial success in the urban body elections.

Senior AAP leader Akshay Hunka said that his party will fight the upcoming Assembly elections with full preparation and strength.

Political analysts believe that the entry of the AAP into the electoral fray will prove to be troublesome for both the BJP and the Congress, as there will be dissatisfaction among both the parties and the number of rebels will be more than in the last elections.

These rebels from both the parties could be fielded as AAP candidates which could be worrisome for both the Congress and the BJP.

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Mohan Bhagwat, RSS, Sangh leaders put Tricolour as DP on social media accounts




Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat, Sangh leaders and RSS have removed the display picture of their official social media accounts and replaced it with Tricolour.

The RSS on Saturday shared a 48 second video on its official Twitter account in which Bhagwat and other Sangh officials can be seen hoisting Tricolour on different occasions.

The move comes in the wake of questions being posed by Congress and other opposition leaders to RSS in context of the Tricolour.

On the occasion of 75th anniversary of the Independence, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had appealed to all countrymen to change their DP on social media and put Tricolour on it.

In line with the Prime Minister’s ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ campaign, the RSS has also urged the people to awaken self-respect and tweeted,” Celebrate the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav. Hoist the Tricolor in every house. Awaken the national self-respect.”

Making a big issue out of the appeal of the prime minister, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had said, “Har Ghar Tiranga campaign is being run by those, who (RSS) didn’t hoist Tricolour for 52 years.”

“They could not stop Congress from fighting for the freedom of the country, and they will not be able to stop it today too,” the Wayanad MP said.

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