Jail terms in graft, terror cases; SC seeks response

The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre to respond to a PIL seeking a direction for imposing consecutive sentences in case of conviction of a person under the special laws related to terrorism, corruption and separatism. DH file photo

The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre to respond to a PIL seeking a direction for imposing consecutive sentences in case of conviction of a person under the special laws related to terrorism, corruption and separatism.

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta issued a notice to the Union government's law and finance ministries as well as to the Law Commission on a petition filed by BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay.

The petitioner sought a direction that Section 31 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 shall not apply to the special laws relating to corruption, separatism and terrorism viz the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, 1988, the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010, the Black Money and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015, and the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018, etc.

Section 31(1) CrPC, allowed the court discretion in directing that the sentence for each offence may either run consecutively or concurrently.

Petitioner contended that India cannot move forward without clean and transparent governance, for which corruption-free society was a basic requirement.

“There is no country in top 50 of the Human Development Index, which has a significant amount of corruption and money laundering. There is a correlation between the welfare of state with appropriate attention to education and public health and absence of corruption and money laundering, so it is the obligation of state to take steps to curb corruption,” he said.

The petitioner contended money laundering was used in financing terrorism, Naxalism, separatism, radicalism, gambling, smuggling, money laundering, kidnapping, extortion, bribing and dowry. It inflated the price of crucial commodities as well as major assets like real estate, gold etc.

Among other prayers, the petitioner sought a direction to the central government to ascertain the feasibility of adopting the best laws and policies of America, Australia, Israel and Spain against corruption, separatism and terrorism.

In an alternative, he contended there should be a direction to the Law Commission to examine anti-corruption, anti-separatism and anti-terrorism laws and policies of America, Australia, Israel and Spain and make a report within three months.

He cited the example of Spaniard Lopez Tardon who was sent to prison for 150 years in Miami money-laundering case. Updhayay submitted in the US, the judge had authority to craft a prison term that effectively added up to life term.

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Jail terms in graft, terror cases; SC seeks response

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