An Arrestee Under PMLA is to Be Informed of the Grounds of His Arrest Within 24 Hrs of Arrest | SC

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  • Last Updated on 19 December, 2023


Case Details: Ram Kishor Arora v. Directorate of Enforcement - [2023] 157 363 (SC)

Judiciary and Counsel Details

    • Bela M. Trivedi & Satish Chandra Sharma, JJ.

Facts of the Case

In the instant case, an appeal was directed against the order of the High Court, Delhi whereby the High Court dismissed the said petition seeking a declaration that the arrest of the appellant by the respondent Directorate of Enforcement (hereinafter referred to as the ED) was illegal and violative of the fundamental rights guaranteed to the appellant under Articles 14, 20 and 21 of the Constitution of India.

The contravention centers around the interpretation of Section 19 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) which deals with the Power of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to arrest.

The Counsel appearing on behalf of the appellant placing heavy reliance on the recent decision of this Court in Pankaj Bansal vs. Union of India and Others, submitted that merely informing the accused orally about the grounds of arrest and making him read the same and obtaining his signature thereon, and not furnishing in writing the grounds of arrest to the accused has been held to do not comply with the provisions contained in Section 19(1) of the PMLA.

Supreme Court Held

The Supreme Court held that whereas the present case is concerned, it was not disputed that the appellant was handed over the document containing grounds of arrest when he was arrested, and he also put his signature below the said grounds of arrest, after making an endorsement that “I have been informed and have also read the above-mentioned grounds of arrest.

The appellant in the rejoinder filed by him has neither disputed the said endorsement nor his signature below the said endorsement. The only contention raised by the learned Senior Counsel, was that he was not furnished a copy of the document containing the grounds of arrest at the time of arrest.

Since the appellant was indisputably informed about the grounds of arrest and he also put his signature and the endorsement on the said document of having been informed, we hold that there was due compliance of the provisions contained in Section 19 of PMLA and his arrest could neither be said to be violative of the said provision nor of Article 22(1) of the Constitution of India.

The Court further held that if a person arrested by the ED is informed or made aware orally about the grounds of arrest at the time of his arrest and is furnished a written communication about the grounds of arrest as early as possible within reasonably convenient and requisite time of 24-hour of his arrest, that would be sufficient compliance of not only Section 19 (power of arrest) of PMLA but also of Article 22(1) (any person arrested must be informed of grounds of arrest) of the Constitution. Therefore, the said appeal was to be dismissed.

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