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5th January 2024 (8 Topics)

Refusal of Enforcement Directorate summons

Context

Delhi Chief Minister and Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren have declined Enforcement Directorate (ED) summonses in separate cases, citing various reasons. The ED, in response, faces legal intricacies regarding the nature of the summonses and the consequences of non-compliance.

Examination of Refusal and ED Summons in Focus

  • Delhi CM in relation to the Delhi excise policy case, points to the ED's 'non-disclosure' and 'non-response' approach, along with the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections and Republic Day celebrations. Similarly, Hemant Soren (CM Jharkhand) has refused seven summonses in a money laundering case.

Provisions of Summons and Powers of ED:

  • The summonses are issued under Section 50 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), empowering ED officials to inspect, enforce attendance, compel record production, and receive evidence.
  • The provision specifies that the summoned individuals must attend in person or through authorized agents.

Refusal Consequences:

  • Refusing to appear may result in penalties under Section 63 (2) (C) of the PMLA, ranging from Rs 500 to Rs 10,000.
  • Non-cooperation can also lead to proceedings under Section 174 of the Indian Penal Code, stipulating a jail term of one month and/or a fine of Rs 500.

Arrest Possibilities:

  • While arrest under Section 63 of the PMLA is a potential consequence, it is a complex process requiring a fresh case under Section 174 of the IPC, followed by a trial.
  • Courts have emphasized that Section 50 does not grant ED the power to arrest a summoned person directly.

Court Interpretations:

  • The Delhi High Court clarified that ED's power to issue summonses (Section 50) does not inherently include the authority to arrest (Section 19).
  • The court emphasized the distinctiveness of these provisions and highlighted that the apprehension of arrest does not justify resistance to summons.

    In navigating the complexities of ED summonses, legal interpretations, and potential consequences, the Kejriwal and Soren cases shed light on the delicate balance between investigative powers and individual rights, prompting a closer examination of legal frameworks and due process.

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