Justice Bela M Trivedi of the Supreme Court and Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal engaged in a heated exchange during the hearing on the validity of provisions in the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Justice Trivedi questioned Sibal, who was arguing against the law, about his political affiliation when the PMLA was enacted in 2002 and enforced in 2005 during the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance's tenure as reported by Bar and Bench.
Sibal, previously associated with the ruling coalition, emphasised the extensive impact of the law on the country's polity and its potentially dangerous powers.
Sibal stated, "I have been a legislator for 35 years, even in Opposition...Have never seen such a law,"
"In 2002, (2005) you were in Opposition?" asked Justice Trivedi.
"It may have been enacted and amended by one party, but we never envisioned it would be enforced in this way. What my ladyship is asking is moot," Sibal replied.
"Only asking if you were in Opposition that year..." Justice Trivedi persisted.
"The impact is enormous. It affects the polity of our country because of the extensive powers it grants, it is dangerous," Sibal maintained.
The exchange revolved around Section 50 of the PMLA, with Justice Trivedi probing the violation of Article 21 in summoning individuals, while Sibal argued for clarity on the reasons for summons to protect constitutional rights.
The bench, including Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Sanjiv Khanna, heard a batch of petitions challenging PMLA provisions, revisiting a controversial 2022 ruling that upheld the law's validity and triggered criticism.
The hearing brought new challenges to PMLA provisions before the Supreme Court.
Bhuvan Krishna is Staff Writer at Swarajya.
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