High court of Delhi directs centre to provide ‘Firm Timeline’ For Appointments To PMLA Appellate Tribunal:
On Thursday, The Delhi High Court asked the Central Government to file an affidavit indicating the status of appointments at the Appellate Tribunal, PMLA.
The Single Bench of Justice Prathiba M. Singh has asked Union of India, represented by Standing Counsel Amit Mahajan, to provide a “firm timeline” for the appointments to be finalized.
The order has been passed in a writ petition filed by Phoenix Arc Private Limited through Advocate Sanjeev Singh, apprising the Court that only one member is functioning in the Appellate Tribunal and as consequence hearings are not taking place.
The Petitioner, also represented by Advocates Prashant Tripathi, Sampanna Pani, and Dhruv Malhotra, had filed an appeal before the Tribunal but the same could not be taken up due to incomplete quorum.
The Bench observed, Needless to emphasize the fact that the PMLA Appellate Tribunal is a Tribunal of great significance and immediate appointments to the said Tribunal would be necessary and important inasmuch as several petitions and cases are pending before the said Tribunal. Any delay in appointments would result in holding up hundreds of matters. It is, therefore, directed that “The affidavit by the UOI will not merely give the status of appointments but also provide a firm timeline for the appointments to be finalized.”
Significantly, Section 27 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act stipulates the Coram for the Appellate Tribunal. However, the same was omitted by the Finance Act, 2016 June 1, 2016. Thus, at present, there is no provision in the Act or any of the Rules made thereunder providing for the composition of the Appellate Tribunal. Presently, the Appellate Tribunal consists of only the Acting Chairman, Mr. GC Mishra.