SUPREME COURT STAYS MONEY LAUNDERING PANEL

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The Supreme Court has stayed a notification related to the constitution of a tribunal to deal with money laundering cases in the country.

A bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan while asking the Centre to reply to a public interest litigation (PIL) stayed the selection process for the appointment of a chairperson and member of the adjudicating authority and appellate tribunal constituted under the Prevention of Money Laundering (Amendment Act), 2005.

The Act had been introduced to prevent and punish the offence of money laundering and to constitute an appellate authority.

Advocate Pareena Swarup in her petition urged the court to quash the provisions of the Act — notified on August 1 — that were allegedly inconsistent with the separation of powers and interfered with the judicial functioning of the tribunal.

Challenging the constitution of the selection committee, Swarup alleged that the selection process is in violation of the Constitution that stipulates an independent judiciary.

Under the present rules of the Act, a selection committee headed by the Revenue secretary is responsible for the selection of chairperson and three members of the appellate tribunal and the same committee was also empowered to appoint the chairperson of the adjudicating authority and its two members.

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