The Delhi High Court has directed filling up all the vacant posts, especially, Member (Administration), Member (Law) and Member (Finance or Accountancy) in Adjudicatory Authority under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) on an expeditious basis and in any case within a period of four months.
Justice Pratibha M Singh added that regarding the posts of Administrative Officer and Registrar, steps shall also be taken to fill the said posts on an expeditious basis.
While a batch of petitions challenging freezing orders passed by the Directorate of Enforcement were disposed of by the Court in October last year, the present case was kept pending in order to receive the status report qua the issue of appointments and vacancies in the Adjudicatory Authority under the PMLA.
Accordingly, an affidavit was filed by Director-HQ-Department of Revenue dated 31st May, 2022 highlighting the latest status of appointments.
Perusing the same, the Court took note of the fact that as far as the posts of Member (Administration) and Member (Law) were concerned, vacancies had been advertised and the meeting of the Selection Committee was to be held.
The counsel appearing for the Centre apprised the Court that the meeting is likely to be held shortly and that the Union of India was also interested in filling up these posts on an expeditious basis.
"The posts of Administrative Officer and Registrar are still vacant. However, two officials from other Departments have been posted on these posts. Insofar as the post of Member (Finance or Accountancy) is concerned, the said position has also fallen vacant due to the fact that Shri. Vinodanand Jha, who was earlier holding the said position has been appointed as Chairperson, AA-PMLA," the Court noted.
The Court also noted that as per the affidavit, the post of Registrar had fallen under the category of 'abolished'. Furthermore, it also noted that an application was moved by the Department of Expenditure with the UPSC for revival of the proposal for the said post.
"If the post of the Registrar is required in the AA-PMLA, an application shall be moved again for the revival of the said post within a period of four months from today," the Court ordered.
The Court thus placed the order before a Division Bench currently dealing with the lead matter in the batch matters.
Case Title: ALOK INDUSTRIES LIMITED v. ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, ENFORCEMENT DIRECTORATE