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SC Seeks Centre's Reply On Jairam Ramesh's Plea Against Amendments To PMLA By Money Bills

PTI
2 July 2019 12:03 PM GMT
SC Seeks Centres Reply On Jairam Rameshs Plea Against Amendments To PMLA By Money Bills
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The Supreme Court Tuesday sought response from the Centre on a plea by Congress MP Jairam Ramesh challenging the amendments made to the money laundering law, PMLA, through money bills since 2015 on the ground that they violated the Constitution.A bench comprising Justices S A Bobde and B R Gavai issued notice to the Centre on the appeal filed by Ramesh who has challenged the Delhi High...

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The Supreme Court Tuesday sought response from the Centre on a plea by Congress MP Jairam Ramesh challenging the amendments made to the money laundering law, PMLA, through money bills since 2015 on the ground that they violated the Constitution.

A bench comprising Justices S A Bobde and B R Gavai issued notice to the Centre on the appeal filed by Ramesh who has challenged the Delhi High Court's February 28 order dismissing his similar plea.

Senior advocate P Chidambaram, appearing for Ramesh, told the bench that amendments to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) have been passed through money bills since 2015.

Amendments PMLA were passed through ordinary bills till 2013 but from 2015 to 2018, they were passed as money bills in violation of the Constitution, said the plea.

A money bill is a piece of legislation which can be introduced only in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha cannot amend or reject it. The Upper House can only make recommendations which may or may not be accepted by the Lower House.

Chidambaram told the apex court that Ramesh was also one of the petitioners in the Aadhaar case and had challenged the passing of the Aadhaar Act as a money bill.

On September 26 last year, a five-judge Constitution bench of the apex court declared the Centre's flagship Aadhaar scheme as constitutionally valid but had struck down some of its provisions including its linking with bank accounts, mobile phones and school admissions.

The court had however upheld the passage of the Aadhaar Bill as a money bill by the Lok Sabha.

While one of the judges of the constitution bench had said that Lok Sabha Speaker's decision to certify the Aadhaar Bill 2016 as a money bill was not immune from judicial review, another judge had said that Aadhaar Act "could not have been passed as money bill".

The high court had rejected Ramesh's plea on PMLA amendments saying he has not been able to justify the delay in filing the petition.

The Congress leader said he had come to know about the amendments being through money bills only recently.

The plea had alleged that the amendments made to PMLA were "unconstitutional" and "illegal" as they have no relation to the money bill provisions enumerated in Article 110 of the Constitution.

"Passing the impugned amendments by way of a Money Bill is grossly illegal and is expressly ultra vires the Constitution of India. Such action bypasses the authority of the Upper House and is a desecration of bicameralism which forms an invaluable part of the basic structure of the Constitution," he had said in his petition in the high court.

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