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The Hindu Editorial Analysis | PDF Download

Date: 24 May 2019

MoU signed between DBT and DAE on Cancer Research.

  • The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) under Ministry of Science and Technology and Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), under Prime Minister of India has signed an memorandum of understanding (MoU) for supporting a joint collaborative research programmes in area of Cancer.

Pak. test-fires ballistic missile Shaheen II

  • ISLAMABAD
  • Pakistan announced on Wednesday that that it had conducted a training launch of a Shaheen II surface-to-surface ballistic missile, which it said is capable of delivering conventional and nuclear weapons at a range of up to 1,500 km .
  • “Shaheen II ... fully meets Pakistan’s strategic needs towards maintenance of deterrence stability in the region,” its military said. Reuters

MCQ

  • About Assam Rifles :
  1. It is India’s youngest Para Military Force.
  2. It has 46 Battalions deployed at Indo-Myanmar border and for countering the insurgency in north east states.
  • Choose correct

(A) Only 1

(B) Only 2

(C) Both

(D) None

  • The Director Generals of Assam Rifles and Indian Coast Guard signed a ‘Affiliation Charter’ between 3rd (Naga Hills) Battalion of Assam Rifles and Indian Coast Guard (ICG) Ship ‘Shaurya’ at a ceremony held at Laitkor, Shillong. It aims to enhance inter-armed forces cooperation between two and utilise each other’s assets for training and sports.
  • Significance: This affiliation charted will facilitate the ‘Sentinels of the North East’ (Assam Rifles) to interact with ‘Sentinels of the Seas’ (Indian Coast Guard) on professional as well as social platforms and share their rich experiences and best practices.
  • 3rd (Naga Hills) Battalion Assam Rifles: is oldest battalion of the Para Military force.

MCQ

  1. CCI is a statutory body which was established under the provisions of Competition Act, 2002. It was established in 2003.
  2. It works for the higher Export capability and making Indian trade strong for international competition
  • Choose correct

(A) Only 1

(B) Only 2

(C) Both

(D) None

Supreme Court gets full strength of Judges.

  • Supreme Court has reached its full sanctioned strength of 31 with appointment of 4 new judges to the apex court. The total sanctioned strength of of Supreme Court is 31 (30 + 1), which includes 30 Supreme Court Judges and 1 Chief Justice of India (CJI). The length of their term is from their joining till they retire at the age of 65

  • The Centre has cleared the four names recommended by five-member Supreme Court Collegium headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, for elevation as judges of the apex court. The law ministry issued notification regarding appointment after President of India Ram Nath Kovind signed their warrants of appointment.

PMLA prevails over Bankruptcy Act and Insolvency Code: Delhi HC

  • The Delhi High Court has ruled that Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) prevails over the Bankruptcy Act and insolvency code when it comes to attachment of properties obtained as ‘proceeds of crime’. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had challenged the orders of PMLA appellate tribunal on the pleas of various banks. PMLA Tribunal had held that third parties, banks in this case, which have legitimately created rights such as a charge, lien or other encumbrances, have a superior claim over such properties.

  • Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted by the NDA government to prevent money-laundering and to provide for confiscation of property derived from money-laundering.
  • PMLA and the Rules notified there under came into force with effect from July 1, 2005. The Act and Rules notified there under impose obligation on banking companies, financial institutions and intermediaries to verify identity of clients, maintain records and furnish information in prescribed form to Financial Intelligence Unit - India (FIU-IND).
  • The act was amended in the year 2005, 2009 and 2012.
  • On 24 Nov 2017, In a ruling in favour of citizens' liberty, the Supreme Court has set aside a clause in the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, which made it virtually impossible for a person convicted to more than three years in jail to get bail if the public prosecutor opposed it.
  • (Section 45 of the PMLA Act, 2002, provides that no person can be granted bail for any offence under the Act unless the public prosecutor, appointed by the government, gets a chance to oppose his bail. And should the public prosecutor choose to oppose bail, the court has to be convinced that the accused was not guilty of the crime and additionally that he/she was not likely to commit any offence while out on bail- a tall order by any count.) (It observed that the provision violates Articles 14 and 21 of the Indian Constitution)

Objectives

  • The PMLA seeks to combat money laundering in India and has three main objectives:
  • To prevent and control money laundering
  • To confiscate and seize the property obtained from the laundered money; and
  • To deal with any other issue connected with money laundering in India

Key definitions

  • Attachment: Prohibition of transfer, conversion, disposition or movement of property by an appropriate legal order.
  • Proceeds of crime: Any property derived or obtained, directly or indirectly, by any person as a result of criminal activity relating to a scheduled offence.
  • Money-laundering: Whosoever directly or indirectly attempts to indulge or assist other person or actually involved in any activity connected with the proceeds of crime and projecting it as untainted property.
  • Payment System: A system that enables payment to be effected between a payer and a beneficiary, involving clearing, payment or settlement service or all of them. It includes the systems enabling credit card, debit card, smart card, money transfer or similar operations

Salient features

  • Punishment for money-laundering
  • The act prescribes that any person found guilty of money-laundering shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment from three years to seven years and where the proceeds of crime involved relate to any offence under paragraph 2 of Part A of the Schedule (Offences under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance Act, 1985), the maximum punishment may extend to 10 years instead of 7 years.
  • Powers of attachment of tainted property
  • Appropriate authorities, appointed by the Govt of India, can provisionally attach property believed to be "proceeds of crime" for 180 days. Such an order is required to be confirmed by an independent Adjudicating Authority.
  • Adjudicating Authority
  • The Adjudicating Authority is the authority appointed by the central government through notification to exercise jurisdiction, powers and authority conferred under PMLA. It decides whether any of the property attached or seized is involved in money laundering.
  • The Adjudicating Authority shall not be bound by the procedure laid down by the Code of Civil Procedure,1908, but shall be guided by the principles of natural justice and subject to the other provisions of PMLA. The Adjudicating Authority shall have powers to regulate its own procedure.
  • Presumption in inter-connected transactions
  • Where money laundering involves two or more inter-connected transactions and one or more such transactions is or are proved to be involved in money laundering, then for the purposes of adjudication or confiscation, it shall presumed that the remaining transactions form part of such inter-connected transactions.

Burden of proof

  • A person, who is accused of having committed the offence of money laundering, has to prove that alleged proceeds of crime are in fact lawful property.

Appellate Tribunal

  • An Appellate Tribunal is the body appointed by Govt of India. It is given the power to hear appeals against the orders of the Adjudicating Authority and any other authority under the Act. Orders of the tribunal can be appealed in appropriate High Court (for that jurisdiction) and finally to the Supreme Court

Special Court

  • Section 43 of Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) says that the Central Government, in consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court, shall, for trial of offence punishable under Section 4, by notification, designate one or more Courts of Session as Special Court or Special Courts for such area or areas or for such case or class or group of cases as may be specified in the notification.

FIU-IND

  • Financial Intelligence Unit – India (FIU-IND) was set by the Government of India on 18 November 2004 as the central national agency responsible for receiving, processing, analyzing and disseminating information relating to suspect financial transactions. FIU-IND is also responsible for coordinating and strengthening efforts of national and international intelligence, investigation and enforcement agencies in pursuing the global efforts against money laundering and related crimes. FIU-IND is an independent body reporting directly to the Economic Intelligence Council (EIC) headed by the Finance Minister.

RTI Act supersedes Official Secrets Law

  • Delivering a separate judgment in the Rafale case, Justice K.M. Joseph has made the following observations:
  • The Right to Information Act confers on ordinary citizens the ‘priceless right’ to demand information even in matters affecting national security and relations with a foreign state.
  • Justice Joseph’s judgment countered the claim made by the government for privilege over Rafale purchase documents under the Official Secrets Act (OSA), saying it affected national security and relations with France. Justice Joseph said the Right to Information (RTI) Act overawes the OSA. Under Section 8(2) of the RTI Act, the government cannot refuse information if disclosure in public interest overshadows certain ‘protected interests.’
  • About Official Secrets Act:
  • The law meant for ensuring secrecy and confidentiality in governance, mostly on national security and espionage issues.
  • The Indian Official Secrets Act, 1904 was enacted during the time of Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India from 1899 to 1905.
  • One of the main purposes of the Act was to muzzle the voice of nationalist publications.
  • The Indian Official Secrets Act (Act No XIX of 1923) replaced the earlier Act, and was extended to all matters of secrecy and confidentiality in governance in the country.
  • Ambit of the Act:
  • The secrecy law broadly deals with two aspects — spying or espionage, which is dealt with in Section 3 of the Act, and disclosure of other secret information of the government, which is dealt with in Section 5.
  • The secret information can be any official code, password, sketch, plan, model, article, note, document or information.
  • Need for review:
  • Since the classification of secret information is so broad, it is argued that the colonial law is in direct conflict with the Right to Information Act.
  • Under Section 5, both the person communicating the information, and the person receiving the information, can be punished by the prosecuting agency.
  • The SARC report states that as the OSA’s background is the colonial climate of mistrust of people and the primacy of public officials in dealing with the citizens, it created a culture of secrecy.
  • Another contentious issue with the law is that its Section 5, which deals with potential breaches of national security, is often misinterpreted. The Section makes it a punishable offence to share information that may help an enemy state. The Section comes in handy to book journalists when they publicise information that may cause embarrassment to the government or the armed forces.

Mains Question

  • It is often argued that the Official Secrets Act (OSA) which is of 1923 vintage and a complicated piece of legislation has no reason to remain on our statute books after the Right to Information Act of 2005.
  • In the light of leak of important information from key ministries of the union government, critically comment.(300 words)