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The Apex Court recently pronounced a judgement in the case titled Rana Ayyub vs. Directorate of Enforcement through its Assistant Director” dated 07.02.23 wherein the petitioner had challenged a summoning order issued by the Court of the Special Judge, Anti Corruption, CBI Court No.1, Ghaziabad, (Special Court) based on a complaint lodged by the respondent u/s 45 r/w Section 44 of the PMLA, which was regarding the offences triable by Special Courts under PMLA, the provisions of which is provided in Section 44 of the PMLA, The present article shall discuss the aspects covered in the case which majorly focuses on the Offences Triable by Special Courts under PMLA to provide clarity on the same.
Table of Contents
While dealing with the first issue, the Apex Court analysed Section 43, which provides for the provision of the constitution of courts for hearing cases under PMLA and Section 44, dealing with the provision of territorial jurisdiction of the courts constituted under Section 43 of the PMLA and their power of taking cognizance of offences under the PMLA. The Apex Court discussed two broad distinctions in that Section 44 contemplated cases.
Section 44, i.e. Offences Triable by Special Courts under PMLA, used the terms “offence” and “scheduled offence” with very clear intent so as to avoid them from being used interchangeably.
On the basis of the reading of Sec – 44, the Apex Court observed that the “scheduled offence” would be required to follow the “offence” of money laundering, and therefore, as far as the territorial jurisdiction is concerned, the court taking the cognizance of the PMLA offence must be the court taking cognizance of the scheduled offence, and not vice versa.
The Apex Court further observed the general provisions of the CrPC, 1973 would be applicable to the proceedings under the PMLA, except in cases wherein they were specifically excluded, such as in Section 44 of the PMLA. The CrPC, which would otherwise ascertain the territorial jurisdiction of criminal courts, would have to yield to the provisions of the PMLA.
With regard to the 2nd issue, the Apex Court discussed the 6 circumstances wherein the criminal court could exercise territorial jurisdiction
The Apex Court compared this with the circumstances u/s 3 of the PMLA that held money laundering occurred in
The Apex Court held that the mere existence of a bank account at Navi Mumbai wouldn’t alone suffice for ascertaining the commission of the offence under PMLA since the other actions discussed above could have been held at any other place, including within the jurisdiction of the Special Court.
The Apex Court was particularly persuaded by the fact that the petitioner was running the crowd-funding campaigns through an online platform, and the issues of possession, acquisition and use should be matters to be ascertained by the Special Court consequential to the same and couldn’t be decided summarily in proceedings before it, considering there were factual issues regarding the location of the commission of the offence under the PMLA.
Consequently, the Apex Court dismissed the petition along with directing the petitioner to raise these contentions before the Special Judge.
This judgement clearly explains the issue of Offences Triable by Special Courts under PMLA along with broadly explaining the scope of commencement of a proceeding under the PMLA, thereby opening up the possibilities of a case being filed in a place even prior to the determination of the offence being committed in that location.
Also Read:Provisions of Bail under PMLAPML Act 2002: Special Courts, Role of Police, Duty of other Departments
Shubhangi has completed her B. A.LLB (H) with specialization in Business Laws from Amity University. She is particularly interested in legal research and writing and wishes to utilize her knowledge to create informative legal content. She has prior experience in corporate and criminal litigation and has great drafting skills. She has also published various research papers in reputed journals.
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