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  • On Wednesday, the Supreme Court upheld the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 that relate to the Enforcement Directorate's power of arrest, attachment, search, and seizure. 
  • The Court upheld the constitutionality of Sections 5, 8(4), 15, 17, and 19 of the PMLA, which deal with the ED's powers of arrest, attachment, search, and seizure. 
  • The Court also upheld the reverse burden of proof under Section 24 of the Act, finding it to have a "reasonable nexus" with the Act's objectives.
  • The Court also upheld the "twin-conditions" for bail in Section 45 of the PMLA Act, ruling that Parliament had the authority to amend the provision in 2018, despite the Supreme Court's decision in the Nikesh Tharachand Shah case (which had struck down the twin conditions). 
  • The bench stated that Parliament has the authority to amend Section 45 in its current form in order to correct the flaws identified in the Supreme Court decision. 
  • The Court also ruled that because ED officials are not "police officers," their statements recorded under Section 50 of the Act are not protected by Article 20(3) of the Constitution, which guarantees the fundamental right against self-incrimination.
  • A fine or arrest for providing false information cannot be interpreted as a compulsion to provide a statement. The Section 50 procedure is more akin to an inquiry than an investigation. 
  • The Court also ruled that an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) is not the same as a FIR and is only an internal document of the ED. As a result, the FIR provisions of the CrPC will not apply to ECIR. 
  • The Court also ordered that the vacancies in the PMLA Appellate Tribunal be filled. A Bench of Justices A.M. Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari, and C.T. Ravikumar handed down the decision in the case of Vijay Madanlal Choudhary v Union of India and 240 related petitions. 
  • The operative portions were read aloud by Justice Khanwilkar. The Court has left open the question of whether the 2019 amendments to the PMLA could have been brought through the Finance Act, leaving those issues to be decided by the 7-judge bench hearing the "money bill" issue.
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