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Delhi High Court Expresses Displeasure Over Centre's Vague Affidavit In Plea For Making PMLA Appellate Tribunal Functional

Nupur Thapliyal
14 Sep 2021 11:15 AM GMT
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The Delhi High Court on Tuesday expressed its displeasure on Centre's affidavit failing to set out the timeline as to when the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) Appellate Tribunal would become functional.

The Court was dealing with a petition seeking a direction on Centre to appoint Chairperson to the Appellate Tribunal, PMLA in order to get an expeditious decision on petitioner's pending appeal.

Perusing the status report filed by the Centre, Justice Rekha Palli said:

"Though a status report has been filed by the Union of India, the same unfortunately, except for saying that the Rules in terms of Section 3 of the Tribunals Reforms Act are in advance stage of formation and the process of filling up the post of chairman and members after new rules are implemented, neither gives a time frame nor indicates a timeline or the respondent's seriousness of making the Tribunal functional at the earliest."

The development came after the Court had said that it expects the Centre to ensure that the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) Appellate Tribunal becomes functional by September 14.

During the course of hearing today, Manish Mohan representing the Central Government apprised the Court that the process of making the Tribunal operational is ongoing and that framing of Rules for the same is at an advance stage.

"What we have stated is that the 2021 ordinance was challenged in the Supreme Court. Thereafter the Tribunal Reforms Act was enacted wherein under Section 3 of the said Act, new Rules are being framed and it's at an advance stage," Mohan submitted.

Hearing this, Justice Palli said:

"What is this? Is this the kind of status report to be filed? It reads nothing! Who is the person who has filed this? It only talks about the Rules. It does not say what you're doing. When are you appointing? Whom are you appointing? That is what is meant to be a status report, not this."

"When are your Rules getting framed that also you don't say. What is this?" she added.

However in the interest of justice, the Court granted further two weeks time to the Centre to file a fresh status report clearly stating the time frame within which it proposes to notify the Rules as also filling up of posts for Chairman and members of the tribunal.

The matter has been adjourned to October 7.

Earlier, the Court had noted that it was flooded with various writ petitions assailing Tribunal orders, due to non-functioning of the Appellate Tribunal.

Case Title: FULLERTON INDIA CREDIT COMPANY LIMITED v. UNION OF INDIA & ORS

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