Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday moved the Delhi High Court against the Enforcement Directorate’s summons to her in an alleged money laundering case, Bar and Bench reported. She was asked to appear before the agency on March 15.
Mufti’s plea also challenged the constitutional validity of Section 50 and other provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA).
Mufti said that Section 50 of the Act empowers the authority to summon any person to provide evidence on produced records. She contended that those summoned were bound to answer questions and to produce the documents to the Enforcement Directorate, failing which they can be penalised under the Act, reported Live Law.
Further, Section 66 of the PMLA provides that information, including compelled statements, can be shared with other agencies. This means that such a statement may be used for offences under other laws, while being treated as evidence, and hence countering the right to protection against self-incrimination under Article 20(3) of the Constitution, according to Live Law.
Mufti argued that none of the protections against compelled self-incrimination, whether it is under the Constitution or any other statutes, govern Section 50 of the PMLA. This makes the section arbitrary and discriminatory, she claimed.
The PDP chief has sought an interim stay on the summons till the question in relation to the constitutionality of Section 50 of the Act was decided, reported PTI.
Mufti, who was the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister, was summoned under Section 50(2) and (3) of the Act by the central agency for “evidence” in a case filed by it.
The politician claimed that she received an email from the Enforcement Directorate on March 5 that referred to an annexure which was not sent to her, so she was unaware of its contents.
In her plea, the PDP chief also contended that she was not informed if she was summoned as a witness or an accused.
Mufti was released from detention after over a year on October 13. She had been in detention under the Public Safety Act since August 5, 2019 – the day the Centre revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, and bifurcated it into Union Territories.