The Supreme Court Monday said it would hear on January 25 the arguments on a batch of petitions which have raised issues concerning interpretation of certain provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The apex court, which was scheduled to hear the pleas on Tuesday, deferred the hearing after senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Mukul Rohatgi, who are representing some of the petitioners, mentioned the matter and requested the bench to defer it for some time citing problems faced due to the rise in COVID-19 cases.
Sibal told a bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and C T Ravikumar that they are ready with the matter but the problem is that their juniors are down with COVID. “This is a matter in which juniors will have to come to the office. With the rising numbers, we don’t want to be exposed. But, what can I say to your lordships, that’s the only problem,” he said.
While endorsing Sibal’s request, Rohatgi said as there are several petitions in this matter and files will have to be arranged but his juniors are not able to come to the office due to COVID problems. Rohatgi urged the bench that these pleas could be taken up for hearing after four or six weeks. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the bench that there are over 200 petitions in the matter and there is stay in several serious cases. “We are not saying that we are not ready with the matter. But we need to be assisted. Our juniors are down with COVID,” Sibal said.
The bench observed that it would give time to the lawyers to organise themselves for arguing the matter. “You can organise yourself, whatever way you want. If you want, we can start on January 18 or at best, on January 25,” the bench said. The apex court said the Solicitor General has pointed out that interim reliefs have been given in some of these matters and their grievance is that investigations have been affected. “January 25 is fine. Hopefully, things will settle down by then,” Sibal said. The bench, which acceded to the request made by Sibal and Rohatgi, deferred the hearing scheduled for Tuesday and said it would come up on January 25. Some of these petitions have challenged the validity of certain provisions of the PMLA.
-With PTI Inputs