The Supreme Court on Wednesday told the Enforcement Directorate that indiscriminate use of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act will dilute the relevance of the legislation, Live Law reported.
A bench of Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Justice AS Bopanna and Justice Hima Kohli made the observation while hearing two cases by petitioners who had been named as accused under the PMLA.
The first case pertains to a man named Narender Kumar Patel, the director of a company named Jay Ambe Gowri Chem Limited, who is facing money laundering proceedings in relation to a bank fraud case.
The second case was a petition filed by a company named Usha Martin Limited. The firm challenged an order of the Jharkhand High Court that declined to grant it relief in relation to summons under the PMLA.
Chief Justice Ramana told Additional Solicitor General SV Raju that the law needed to be used reasonably. “If you start using it as a weapon against 10,000 rupees case and 100 case, what will happen?” he said. “You can’t put all people behind bars.”
The court on Wednesday issued notice to the respondents and granted protection from coercive action till further orders to Usha Martin Limited.
The company contended that the entire case against it was based on the premise that it engaged in the export of iron ore fines, thus violating a lease agreement with the Jharkhand government, according to Bar and Bench.
Usha Martin Limited pointed to a previous judgement of the Jharkhand High Court that held the Mines Conservation and Development Rules do not bar the sale of iron ore fine if it is shown that the accumulation of the substance pollutes water bodies and causes environmental pollution.