The Delhi High Court on Thursday rejected a petition submitted by Congress MP Jairam Ramesh against the amendments to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, through the Finance Acts of 2015, 2016 and 2018. Ramesh had alleged that the Bharatiya Janta Party-led government had made the amendments in violation of the Constitution.
The court rejected the petition after first reserving its order on Wednesday. Ramesh had said that the amendments were enacted as Money Bills instead of Ordinary Bills. A Money Bill can be introduced only in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha cannot amend or reject it.
Congress leader and senior advocate P Chidambaram and advocate Abhishek Jebraj, who represented Ramesh, said the amendments were illegal. “Passing the impugned amendments by way of a Money Bill is grossly illegal and is expressly ultra vires the Constitution of India,” Ramesh’s petition said.
Additional Solicitor General Maninder Acharya and the Centre’s representative Amit Mahajan questioned Ramesh’s stake in the matter while claiming that it does not merit public interest. They asked Ramesh if his petition was submitted on behalf of people accused of money laundering as the Congress lawmaker was not directly affected by the amendments. Acharya said that only affected parties can move the court in such matters.
The Division Bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and V Kameswar Rao said, “We do not think that it is a case where this court should exercise its extraordinary jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.”
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s husband Robert Vadra is being investigated under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. Priyanka Gandhi is also the sister of Congress President Rahul Gandhi.