The Supreme Court last week refused to entertain Amnesty International India’s petition challenging the Enforcement Directorate’s attachment of its bank accounts, in view of the fact that the PMLA Adjudicating Authority passed a provisional attachment order on October 7, 2022.

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.

As per the order dated 07.10.2022 of the Adjudicating Authority, three bank accounts of the Organization having balance of Rs.1,54,03,992.30/- (Rupees One Crore Fifty-Four Lakhs Three Thousand Nine Hundred Ninety-Two Only) along with accrued interest was provisionally attached in terms of Section 5(1) of the PMLA. The order prohibited the transfer, removal or disposal of the amounts attached. This order of attachment will be effective for a period of 180 days and its further continuation will be subject to the confirmation order passed by the Authority.

The special leave petition was filed by the India wing of the international human rights organization against the orders of the Karnataka High Court.

A single bench of the High Court, on December 16, 2020, had given partial relief to Amnesty India by allowing them to withdraw Rupees 60 lakhs to meet the expenses. Aggrieved with the refusal of the single bench to go into the substantive points of challenge raised against the attachment order,Amnesty approached the division bench. On April 8, 2021, the division bench disposed of the appeal observing that the grounds of challenge against the provisional attachment order are to be raised before the PMLA Adjudicating Authority.

Amnesty India had 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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