हिंदी खबर
The Supreme Court of India
The Supreme Court of India

ECIR cannot be equated with FIR, ED officers are not police officers: SC

ANI | Updated: Jul 27, 2022 19:19 IST

New Delhi [India], July 27 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Wednesday said that Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) cannot be equated with the First Information Report (FIR) and ED officers are not police officers.
A bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar said that the authorities under PMLA are not police officers as such.
"ECIR cannot be equated with an FIR. ECIR is an internal document of ED," the bench said adding that supplying ECIR is not mandatory.
The observation came while upholding the validity of various provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) which empowers the ED for making arrests, conducting search and seizures, and attaching the proceeds of crime.
However, the top court also said that the question of enactment of amendments to the PMLA Act as a Money Bill has to be decided by a larger bench of seven judges, who are already dealing with this issue.
The court disposed of various pleas challenging the various provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) on Wednesday.
On July 15, the Supreme Court said that its judgement on the pleas challenging the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) was almost ready.

On March 15, the top court reserved its order on a batch of petitions challenging certain provisions of the PMLA. Prominent names like Karti Chidambaram and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti were among the petitioners in the case.
Their petitions raised multiple issues including the absence of a procedure to commence investigation and summoning, while the accused was not made aware of the contents of the Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR).
"Supply of a copy of ECIR in every case to the person concerned is not mandatory, it is enough if ED-- at the time of arrest-- discloses the grounds of the arrest," the top court said.
"In view of the special mechanism envisaged by the 2002 Act, ECIR cannot be equated with an FIR under the 1973 Code. ECIR is an internal document of the ED and the fact that FIR in respect of the scheduled offence has not been recorded does not come in the way of the authorities referred to in Section 48 to commence inquiry/investigation for initiating 'civil action' of 'provisional attachment' of the property in proceeds of crime," the court said.
However, the Centre had justified the constitutional validity of the provisions of PMLA.
The Centre has apprised the court that around 4,700 cases are being investigated by the Directorate of Enforcement.
The Centre also said that PMLA is not a conventional penal statute but is a statute which is aimed at necessarily preventing money laundering, regulating certain activities relatable to money laundering, aims at confiscating the "proceeds of crime" and the property derived
therefrom and also requires offenders to be punished by the competent court after the filing of the complaint.
The Centre further submitted that India and its version of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, is merely a cog in this international vehicle. "India, as a signatory to the treaties and an important participant in the international process and the fight against money-laundering, is bound legally and morally, to adopt the global best practices and respond to the changing needs of the times," it submitted. (ANI)