Delhi Court Rebukes Enforcement Directorate: 'You Are Not Above the Law'

Delhi court criticizes Enforcement Directorate for misuse of power against innocent doctors under PMLA Section 50, emphasizing citizens' rights.

Special Judge (PC Act) Vishal Gogne of the Rouse Avenue Courts criticized the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for subjecting ordinary citizens, specifically doctors, to the stringent process of Section 50 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The judge emphasized that without any allegation of nexus between the doctors and the money laundering accusations, such actions were unjustified.

“In a democracy like India, citizens possess rights while the State has certain duties. This fundamental relationship cannot be inverted to invoke an authoritarian argument that the State has certain rights against the citizens who are expected to reciprocate by submission through their duties," stated Judge Gogne.

He further added, “Not only would the acceptance of such an argument be an inversion of the social contract on which every liberal democracy is based but also a violation of the constitutional scheme and constitutional morality. As an agency answerable to the law and the courts, the ED cannot arrogate powers unto itself."

Judge Gogne cautioned against the misuse of power by strong leaders, laws, and agencies, highlighting that such actions often harm the very citizens they aim to protect. He noted that laws, once wielded against specific targets, are frequently alleged to be employed against average citizens.

“The use of section 50, PMLA by the ED against the law-abiding doctors of private hospitals is a contemporary contribution to this perception. Such negation of the intended purpose of strict legislations is required to be avoided by the investigation agencies and consciously monitored by the courts,” emphasized the judge.

According to the Court, citizens' rights against being subjected to invalid processes should outweigh any overreach of the law by the ED.