India: Communication Of "Reasons To Believe" Under PMLA (Prevention Of Money Laundering Act)

Last Updated: 12 April 2018
Article by Vijay Pal Dalmia, Partner

*Vijay Pal Dalmia, Advocate
Supreme Court of India and High Court of Delhi
Email: vpdalmia@vaishlaw.com Mobile: +919810081079

The original judgment can be accessed from:

http://lobis.nic.in/ddir/dhc/SMD/judgement/11-01-2018/SMD11012018CW53202017.pdf

In a bunch of writs decided by a Bench of Delhi High court, it has been held that

  1. The second proviso to Section 5(1) PMLA is not violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India.
  2. The expression 'reasons to believe' has to meet the safeguards inbuilt in the second proviso to Section 5(1) PMLA read with Section 5(1) PMLA.
  3. The expression 'reasons to believe' in Section 8(1) PMLA, has to satisfy the requirement of law.
  4. There has to be a communication of the 'reasons to believe' at every stage to the noticee under Section 8(1) PMLA.
  5. The noticee under Section 8(1) PMLA is entitled access to the materials on record that constituted the basis for 'reasons to believe' subject to redaction in the manner explained hereinbefore, for reasons to be recorded in writing.
  6. If there is a violation of the legal requirements outlined hereinbefore, the order of the provisional attachment would be rendered illegal.
  7. There can be single-member benches of the Adjudicating Authority and the Appellate Tribunal under the PMLA.

The Court, with regard to the constitutionality of the second proviso to Section 5 (1) PMLA, held as under:

  1. Although the second proviso to Section 5(1) states that the property has to be involved in money-laundering and Section 5(1) states that mere possession of proceeds of crime is sufficient, the Court does not see any conflict in these expressions. When the definition in Section 3 PMLA is read with Section 2(1)(v) and the Explanation thereto, it becomes clear that the property which constitutes "proceeds of crime' is the property involved in money-laundering.
  2. The reasons to believe at every stage must be noted down by the officer in the file.
  3. While the reasons to believe recorded at the stage of passing the order of provisional attachment under Section 5(1) PMLA may not be forthwith at that stage communicated to the person adversely affected thereby, the reasons as recorded in the file have to accompany the complaint filed by such officer within 30 days before the ADJUDICATING AUTHORITY under Section 5(5) PMLA.
  4. A copy of such complaint accompanied by the reasons, as found in the file, must be served by the ADJUDICATING AUTHORITY upon the person affected by such attachment after the ADJUDICATING AUTHORITY adds its own reasons why he prima facie thinks that the provisional attachment should continue.

In the above case one of the major issue before the court was, What should constitute the reasons to believe' that are to be recorded?

In the above context, it has to be seen that even for the exercise of power under Section 5(1), the Director/Deputy Director/Authorized Officer has to record his reasons to believe in writing. That is the expression that is used in the second proviso to Section 5(1) PMLA as well. It is the same expression that is used even as far as the powers exercised by the ADJUDICATING AUTHORITY under Section 8(1) PMLA are concerned.

The expression reasons to believe' under Section 26 IPC is understood in the sense of sufficient cause to believe that thing but not otherwise'.

In Phool Chand Bajrang Lal v. ITO [1993] 203 ITR 456 (SC), the Supreme Court in the context of the Income Tax Act, 1961 explained the expression as under:

Since, the belief is that of the Income-tax Officer, the sufficiency of reasons for forming the belief, is not for the Court to judge but it is open to an assessee to establish that there in fact existed no belief or that the belief was not at all a bona fide one or was based on vague, irrelevant and non-specific information. To that limited extent, the Court may look into the conclusion arrived at by the Income-tax Officer and examine whether there was any material available on the record from which the requisite belief could be formed by the Income-tax Officer and further whether that material had any rational connection or a live link for the formation of the requisite belief.‖

In Income Tax Officer v. Lakhmani Mewaldas 1976 (3) SCR 956, the Supreme Court held that there should be a live link or close nexus, between the material before the ITO and the formation of his belief that income had escaped assessment. In Aslam Mohd Merchant v. Competent Authority (2008) 14 SCC 186, the entire legal position has been explained elaborately by the Supreme Court as under:

"28. It is, however, beyond any doubt or dispute that a proper application of mind on the part of the competent authority is imperative before a show cause notice is issued. Section 68-H of the Act provides for two statutory requirements on the part of the authority viz: (i) he has to form an opinion in regard to his `reason to believe'; and (ii) he must record reasons therefor. Both the statutory elements, namely, `reason to believe' and `recording of reasons' must be premised on the materials produced before him. Such materials must have been gathered during the investigation carried out in terms of Section 68-E or otherwise. Indisputably therefore, he must have some materials before him. If no such material had been placed before him, he cannot initiate a proceeding. He cannot issue a show cause notice on his own ipse dixit. A roving enquiry is not contemplated under the said Act as properties sought to be forfeited must have a direct nexus with the properties illegally acquired."

It is now a trite law that whenever a statute provides for `reason to believe', either the reasons should appear on the face of the notice or they must be available on the materials which had been placed before him. We have noticed hereinbefore that when the authority was called upon to disclose the reasons, it was stated that all the reasons were contained in the show cause notices themselves. They, however, in our opinion, do not contain any reason so as to satisfy the requirements of sub-section (1) of Section 68H of the Act.

*The author, Vijay Pal Dalmia, Advocate Email: vpdalmia@vaishlaw.com Mobile: +919810081079, is a practicing lawyer in Supreme Court of India and High Court of Delhi with a standing of 32 years and also specializes in Anti Money Laundering laws (AML), White collar crimes, Cryptocurrency / Virtual currency laws.

© 2018, Vaish Associates Advocates,
All rights reserved
Advocates, 1st & 11th Floors, Mohan Dev Building 13, Tolstoy Marg New Delhi-110001 (India).

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist professional advice should be sought about your specific circumstances. The views expressed in this article are solely of the authors of this article.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Vijay Pal Dalmia, Partner
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
 
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Mondaq Sign Up
Gain free access to lawyers expertise from more than 250 countries.
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Industry
Mondaq Newsalert
Select Topics
Select Regions
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions