What is Section 45 of PMLA? Understanding Section 45 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act


Section 45 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) delineates the conditions pertaining to bail, stipulating that no accused individual shall be granted bail unless certain criteria are met. It mandates that the Court must be convinced of two key factors before granting bail: firstly, there must be reasonable grounds to believe that the accused is innocent of the offense; and secondly, there should be confidence that the individual is not likely to engage in any further unlawful activities while on bail.

What is Section 45 of PMLA? Understanding Section 45 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act

Supreme Court’s Scrutiny and Observations

Recently, a Supreme Court bench directed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to evaluate the potential implications of the Court’s remarks on their case should bail be granted under Section 45 of PMLA. Additionally, the bench remarked that the testimony provided by Dinesh Arora, a former accused turned approver, failed to implicate Sanjay Singh.

Interpretation and Legal Arguments

The interpretation of Section 45 of the PMLA becomes crucial in determining bail for money laundering accused. It necessitates prima facie satisfaction of the accused’s innocence and their unlikely engagement in further criminal activities while on bail. Further legal arguments ensued, with Additional Solicitor General SV Raju invoking Section 436A of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), which suggests that an undertrial must serve at least 50% of the maximum sentence to seek bail due to procedural delays. However, Justice Khanna disagreed, asserting that Section 436A serves as an enabling provision rather than a restrictive one.

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Proceedings and Court’s Directive

Despite initial inclination towards granting interim bail, the bench adjourned the hearing for a month at the request of the Additional Solicitor General to closely monitor trial progress. The Trial Court was directed to expedite the trial proceedings, ideally conducting them on a daily basis.

Objective of the PMLA

Enacted with the aim to combat money laundering, the PMLA establishes a higher threshold for bail compared to the standard procedure outlined in the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). Section 45(1) of the PMLA necessitates that before granting bail or bond, the public prosecutor must be given an opportunity to oppose the application. Subsequently, if opposition arises, the court must be convinced of the accused’s innocence and their non-inclination towards further criminal activities while on bail.

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