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The Supreme Court today issued notice to the Law Commission, Ministry of Law and Justice and Ministry of Finance in a petition praying that sentence imposed in cases relating to terrorism, separatism, and corruption be consecutive and not concurrent.
The petition filed by Advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay was heard by a Bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta today.
The petitioner has sought a declaration from the Court stating that the sentences awarded under Special Laws relating to terrorism, separatism, and corruption must run consecutively and not concurrently. Some of the Special laws specified by the petitioner are the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, 1988, the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010, the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015, the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018. (consecutive sentence)
It is averred in the petition that “cash transactions are the root cause of many evils” and unlawful cash transactions and money laundering is associated with many crimes such as extortion, trafficking, and terrorism. (consecutive sentence)
“Money Laundering is not an independent crime and depends upon a predicate offence, the proceeds of which are the subject matter of the crime in money laundering. Corruption is an insidious plague that has a wide range of corrosive effects on our country. It undermines democracy and rule of law, leads to violations of human rights, distorts markets, erodes the quality of life and allows terrorism, naxalism, smuggling, money laundering and extortion and other threats to human security, to flourish.”
The petitioner has invoked the example of the recent terror attack in Pulwama, along with various instances of terror attacks across India. The instances of cross-border terrorism as well as activities of insurgent groups have also seen a surge in the recent past. This, the petitioner, says is one of the biggest challenges for our country. This problem can be minimized through stricter punishments, the petition avers.
The petition states that legislation like the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) were not designed to address grave issues like terrorism. Therefore, special laws for the same were enacted. India, thus, needs stringent laws to end terror activities, the petition states.
Further, the petitioner delves into the jurisprudence of consecutive and concurrent sentencing in India and submits that the Supreme Court has, in the past, stressed the importance of awarding consecutive jail terms in grave crimes.
Based on the above grounds, the petitioner has prayed for a declaration that sentence for a conviction under special laws relating to corruption, separatism, and terrorism be consecutive.
Read the Petition: