Burden of Proof | The Last Word


It is trite to refer to tenets laid down in Palermo and Vienna Conventions. There has been a consensus, acquisition-possession-use-concealing or disguising illicit origin of illegitimately obtained money to evade legal consequences would be money-laundering. However, growth of jurisprudence in this law did not stop or end…   

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We hold, Section 24 of The Prevention of Money-Laundering Act, 2002 has a reasonable nexus with purposes and objects sought to be achieved.

Our attention is invited to several other statutes providing for shifting of burden of proof, constitutional validity of which has been upheld by this Court from time to time [Section 57A of The (Kerala) Abkari Act, I of 1077; Sections 105, 106, 113A and 113B of The Indian Evidence Act, 1872; Section 139 of The Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881; Section 9 of The Opium Act, 1878; Section 9B of The Explosives Act 1884; Section 7 of The Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954; Section 10C of The Essential Commodities Act, 1955; Section 138A of The Customs Act, 1962; Section 43E of The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967; Section 98-B of The Gold (Control) Act, 1968; Section 57 of The Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972; Section 18 of The Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1973; Sections 35 and 54 of The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985; Sections 3C and 3D of The Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897; Section 21 of The Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, 1987; Section 20 of The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988; and Sections 29 and 30 of The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012]. Seema Silk & Sarees v. Directorate of Enforcement, (2008) 5 SCC 580 restated, a legal provision does not become unconstitutional only because it provides for a reverse burden.

Section 24(a) of The Prevention of Money-Laundering Act, 2002 by no standards can be said to be unreasonable much less manifestly arbitrary and unconstitutional. More or less, same logic as noted with Section 24(a) would apply even to Section 24(b).  

Hon’ble Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, Vijay Madanlal Choudhary v. Union of India, [Special Leave Petition (Criminal) No. 4634 of 2014].



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