The Karnataka High Court held that the prosecution initiated under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002 and confiscation proceedings resorted are not based on ex post facto law.
Facts of the case:-
The batch of petitions has questioned the correctness and legality of the proceedings initiated against them under sections 3, 4 and 8(5) of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.
The petitioners raised the issue whether, in the context of the provisions of the PML Act, prosecution initiated against the petitioners under section 3 of the PML Act and the confiscation proceedings resorted by the respondent under sections 5 and 8 of the PML Act are based on ex post facto law and hit by the prohibition contained under Article 20(1) of the Constitution of India.
The Petitioners put forward the plea of post facto law on the premise that the acts constituting the offences alleged against them were perpetrated prior to the amendment of the schedule to the PML Act and therefore, the action initiated against them falls within the mischief of Article 20(1) of the Constitution of India. The Schedule to the PML Act was amended by Act 21 of 2009 and the various offences specified therein came to be included therein with effect from June 1, 2009.
The Single Judge Bench of Justice Jhon Michael Chuna held that the factual setting of the case, is totally misplaced and misconceived and appears to have been canvassed by misconstruing the provisions of sections 3, 2(1)(u) and the Schedule appended to the PML Act. The court further noted that in all the cases, the prosecution under section 3 of the PML Act and adjudication proceedings under section 5 of the PML Act have been initiated against the petitioners subsequent to June 1, 2009. Therefore, the contention urged by the counsel appearing for the petitioners that the petitioners are sought to be prosecuted on the basis of ex post facto laws is factually incorrect.