A provision in the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) dealing with bail conditions was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. The condition mandated that an accused shall not be granted bail until the court is satisfied that he is not guilty of the offence and is not likely to commit further crimes.
The SC while annulling the provision said that the drastic provision turns on its head the presumption of innocence, which is fundamental to a person accused of any offence. It held that Section 45 of the PMLA violated the fundamental rights to equality and liberty guaranteed under the Constitution. It traced the provision of bail to 'Magna Carta' of 1215, the most celebrated document in history, upholding the rights of citizens against detention.
"We must be doubly sure that such (a) provision furthers a compelling state interest for tackling serious crime(s). Absent any such compelling state interest, the indiscriminate application of the provisions of Section 45 will certainly violate Article 21 of the Constitution," a bench of Justices R F Nariman and Sanjay Kishan Kaul said.