SC Dismisses Amnesty International’s Challenge Against ED’s Freeze on Bank Accounts

Amnesty International Law Insider

Bhuvana Marni

Published on: October 28, 2022 at 20:17 IST

Given that the PMLA Adjudicating Authority issued a provisional attachment order on October 7, 2022, the Supreme Court last week refused to hear Amnesty International India’s petition contesting the Enforcement Directorate’s seizure of its bank accounts.

Reserving the right of Amnesty to challenge the provisional attachment order, the Court dismissed the Special Leave Petition.

“We, however, reserve the rights of the petitioner to challenge the aforestated order dated 07.10.2022 in accordance with law and dismissal of this Special Leave Petition shall not be taken to be a reflection on merits or demerits of rival contentions”, the bench led by Chief Justice of India stated in the order”.

Three bank accounts belonging to the Organization that had a balance of Rs. 1,54,03,992.30 (Rupees One Crore Fifty-four Lakhs Three Thousand Nine Hundred Ninety-Two Only) and accrued interest were provisionally attached in attached with Section 5(1) of the PMLA, according to the Adjudicating Authority‘s order dated October 7, 2022.

The order prohibited the attachments’ transfer, removal, or destruction. This attachment order will be in force for 180 days, after which its continuance will be subject to the Authority’s confirmation order.

The international human rights organization’s India branch filed a special leave petition against the Karnataka High Court’s orders.

On December 16, 2020, a Single High Court bench granted Amnesty India by partial relief by allowing them to withdraw Rupees 60 lakhs to cover the expenses.

Amnesty addressed the division bench in protest at the single bench’s refusal to address the substantive issues brought forward against the attachment order.

On April 8, 2021, the division bench dismissed the appeal, noting that the PMLA Adjudicating Authority should be consulted on any grounds for contesting the temporary attachment order.

Amnesty India stopped its operations in India following the attachment of its bank accounts.

Case Title: M/s Indians for Amnesty International Trust versus Union of India and Others, SLP(Crl) 2541/2022

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