The opposition has collectively decided to move the Supreme Court with a review petition against the recent Supreme Court verdict upholding the amendments to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The Opposition’s demand will be to nullify the amendments to the Act made in 2019 through the money Bill route.
Briefing reporters after the two-day central committee meeting of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) here on Monday, the party’s general secretary Sitaram Yechury said Opposition parties will jointly take up the issue with the Supreme Court. He said the judgment must be reviewed and all amendments made in 2019 should be nullified. “It is a collective decision by the opposition,” Mr. Yechury said. A joint statement of the opposition on the matter is expected on Tuesday.
The CPI(M) leader said the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) are increasingly functioning as a political arm of the Modi government in destabilising democratically elected State governments and targeting opposition leaders. “The recent judgment of the Supreme Court Bench headed by a judge who retired shortly thereafter, upheld all the 2019 amendments to the PMLA, lethally arming the ED further. This is a grievous assault on democracy,” he added.
Mr. Yechury said the Modi government is carrying out unprecedented assaults on Parliament with its refusal to discuss any substantial motion on burning people’s issues such as price rise, unemployment, etc. Twenty-seven Members of Parliament have been suspended for this session, he noted. “This is unprecedented in Independent India,” the former MP said.
He also condemned the manner in which activist Teesta Setalvad was arrested. “This was facilitated by an SC verdict by a Bench headed, again, by the same judge,” Mr. Yechury said. He demanded the immediate release of Ms. Setalvad, former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer R.B. Sreekumar, and the release of the Bhima Koregaon detainees, and others who have been detained over political issues.
‘Tax the rich’
Mr. Yechury said the Centre should tax the super-rich to address the economic situation of the country. He said the listed companies in the Bombay Stock Exchange made huge profits of about ₹7 lakh crore during the pandemic, which is the highest in a decade. He said, on the other hand, the unprecedented price rise, with both the WPI (Wholesale Price Index) and the CPI (Consumer Price Index) at record highs, was destroying people’s livelihoods, reducing their purchasing capacity, and leading to further lowering of the levels of demand in the economy. “The shrinkage of domestic demand is pushing down manufacturing activity leading to further slowing down of the economy, and job losses,” Mr. Yechury said.