Don't summon Kavitha till November 20: SC tells ED

HYDERABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Enforcement Directorate not to issue summons to BRS MLA K. Kavitha for appearance in the Delhi liquor scam, till November 20.

A division bench of the apex court comprising Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia passed the order on a petition that Kavitha had filed in March 2023, challenging the summons issued by the ED asking women to report at its office.

On Tuesday, senior advocate Vikram Chaudhary, appearing for Kavitha, requested the court to direct the ED to not take any coercive steps against her till the court delivers its decision on her petition. He said a similar protection had been given to Nalini Chidambaram in another case that the ED was probing.

Counsel mentioned the statutory relaxation given to the women in the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

The Bench observed, “You cannot say that a woman cannot be called for questioning at all, as a witness or in whatever capacity. Yes, there has to be some safeguards.”

It said appropriate preliminary steps should be taken when women were involved. The issue would be decided later and scheduled the hearing on November 20. “Don't call her in the meantime,” the bench directed the ED.

Justice Kaul informed the lawyers that Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud has constituted a special bench comprising him and Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Bela M. Trivedi to hear review petitions challenging a July 27, 2022, verdict that had upheld the constitutional validity of the PMLA and the ED's power of arrest under the law.

He said the special bench will sit on October 18 and issue procedural directions with regard to the pleading.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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