Nikesh Tarachand Shah vs Union of India
Nikesh Tarachand Shah vs Union of India - Supreme Court Important Judgment 2017 -
On 23rd November, 2017, in the case of Nikesh Tarachand Shah v. Union of India & Anr. [Writ Petition (Criminal) No. 67 of 2017], the Supreme Court examined the constitutional validity of Section 45 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 which imposed two conditions for grant of bail where an offence punishable for a term of imprisonment of more than 3 years under Part A of the Schedule to the Act was involved. The conditions were that the Public Prosecutor must be given an opportunity to oppose any application for release on bail and the Court must be satisfied, where the Public Prosecutor opposes the application, that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the accused is not guilty of such offence, and that he is not likely to commit any offence while on bail.
It was held that Section 45(1) of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, insofar as it imposes two further conditions for release on bail, was “unconstitutional as it violates Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India.” The Supreme Court observed that “Section 45 is a drastic provision which turns on its head the presumption of innocence which is fundamental to a person accused of any offence” and that “indiscriminate application of the provisions of Section 45 will certainly violate Article 21 of the Constitution”.