Delhi HC asks Centre to expedite process of filling up vacancies of PMLA Adjudicating Authority

The High Court also asked the Central Government it to consider increasing the strength of the Adjudicating Authority observing the pending work before it.

The Delhi High Court has directed the Centre to expedite the process of filling up vacancies in the Adjudicating Authority under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and asked it to consider increasing its strength while observing the pending work before it.

“Considering the fact that benches of the Adjudicating Authority hold hearings, and the quantum of cases is considerable, it is not sufficient to merely fill up the vacancies as they exist today, but there is also a need to increase the manpower within the Adjudicating Authority, in order to enable the authority to function in an efficient manner,” Justice Prathiba M Singh said in an order, while seeking a status report within two months.

The Adjudicating Authority is currently functioning with an acting chairperson. The posts of two member positions, administrative officer and registrar are also vacant. Court masters and other staff have also been retained on a contractual basis. The Centre told the court that the selection for the chairperson is underway.

The court also directed the Centre to take steps for filling up the posts of member (administration) and member (law) within three months. Regarding other positions, it said that if the vacancies cannot be filled up through fresh recruitment, the Union Ministry of Finance shall take steps to fill them up through alternate means — like posting of some officials from other departments to meet the exigency — within one month.

During the hearing of various matters pertaining to PMLA proceedings, the court, last month, had sought details about vacancies at the Adjudicating Authority. “Considering the strict timelines that are prescribed under the PMLA for various steps to be taken and orders to be passed, the vacancies ought to be filled up immediately,” the court had noted after being told about the staff strength.

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