A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking directions to fill the vacancies of Chairman, Member and other administrative staff at Appellate Tribunal, Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 on utmost priority in the interest of justice.
The petition has been filed by Advocate Amit Sahni who has submitted that the RTI filed by him revealed that out of the composition of 1 Chairman and 4 members, the tribunal is functioning only with one member i.e. G.C. Mishra, who is also functioning as Acting Chairman. Hence, sufficient number of matters is not being taken up in natural course and litigants, lawyers and public at large are suffering due to it.
Moreover as per the RTI reply the petitioner was informed that 2822 cases of PMLA, 66 cases of SAFEMA, 270 cases of NDPS, 1077 cases of FEMA and 1134 cases of PBPT are pending before the Tribunal.
It has further been submitted that various media reports in August 2019 showed that Justice Sunil Gaur, Former Judge of Delhi High Court was appointed as chairperson of the Appellate Tribunal for the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (ATPMLA) following the retirement of incumbent Justice Manmohan Singh in September but the said appointment was not notified. The Office of Chairman, ATPMLA is lying vacant since September 2019.
The petitioner has also stated that he had filed a representation dated 26-12-2020 to the Union government for reliefs sought in the present petition but no action has been taken upon the same to the knowledge of the petitioner and considering the urgency, the petitioner had no other option but to approach the Supreme Court.