Supreme Court Ruling on Non-Cooperation with ED Susmmon
The case titled Pankaj Bansal v. Union of India SLP (Crl) No. 9220-9221/2023, Basant Bansal v. Union of India SLP (Crl) No. 9275-9276/2023 involved two directors of real estate firm M3M, Pankaj Bansal and Basant Bansal.
Provisions of Law Involved
Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002 (PMLA)
Section 50 of the PMLA empowers the authorities to summon any person to give evidence or produce records.
Section 19 of PMLA gives ED officers the power to arrest.
Constitution of India
Article 20 (3)
Article 20 (3) states that no person accused of any offence shall be compelled to be a witness against himself.
Article 22(1) states that no person who is arrested shall be detained in custody without being informed, as soon as may be, of the grounds for such arrest.
Important Observations by the Court on non-cooperation with ED
The Supreme Court ruled that mere non-cooperation with a summons under Section 50 does not render a person liable to be arrested under Section 19. This means that if a person does not answer the ED’s questions or produce documents as required, it does not automatically mean they can be arrested.
The court also noted that it is not open to the ED to expect an admission of guilt from the person summoned for interrogation and assert that anything short of such admission would be an ‘evasive reply’.
Another important point in this case is that the ED must inform the grounds of arrest to the accused in writing. This is a fundamental right of an accused person and is crucial for ensuring transparency and fairness in the legal process.
Conclusion for non-cooperation with ED
This judgment has clarified important aspects of how non-cooperation with ED summons should be handled under the PMLA, and has emphasized the importance of following due process and respecting individuals’ constitutional rights. It forms a crucial part of the rule of law and due process in India.