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SC strikes down stringent bail condition in PMLA cases

NEW DELHI: Holding the stringent bail provision under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) as arbitrary and unconstitutional, the Supreme Court on Thursday struck down Section 45 of the Act, paving the way for accused to get out on bail as per the provision applicable to other offences.
A bench of Justices R F Nariman and Sanjay Kishan Kaul said that the drastic provision which imposes two conditions for grant of bail—that the Public Prosecutor must be given an opportunity to oppose bail plea and the court must be satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the accused is not guilty of such offence and that he is not likely to commit any offence while on bail—were violative of constitutional provisions by providing a procedure which was not fair or just. The bench said that the twin conditions set down in Section 45 were a much higher threshold bar than any of the conditions laid down by the apex court in its earlier verdicts.
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