The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought the Centre’s response to a plea by Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, challenging the amendments made to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act since 2015, PTI reported. Ramesh claimed that amendments to the PMLA by way of money bills were a violation of the Constitution.
A money bill can be introduced only in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha cannot amend or reject it. The Narendra Modi-led government had amended the PMLA by way of the Finance Acts of 2015, 2016 and 2018.
A bench headed by Justice SA Bobde on Tuesday issued a notice to the central government and sought its stand on Ramesh’s petition. The Delhi High Court had in February dismissed the same plea by Ramesh, saying that he has been unable to justify the delay in filing the petition.
Congress leader and senior advocate P Chidambaram and advocate Abhishek Jebraj, who represented Ramesh, had 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 had 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 had said that only affected parties can move the court in such matters.