Delhi High Court has issued notice to the Central Government in a PIL challenging validity of provisions in certain statutes that prohibit victims from prosecuting offences laid down therein.
Moved by an NGO titled India Awake for Transparency, the plea mentions that the following 8 statutes have restrictions on initiation of prosecution by persons other than the designated agencies of the Union:
a. Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (section 236)
b. SEBI Act, 1992 (section 26)
c. Insurance Act, 1938 (section 109)
d. Banking Regulation Act, 1949 (section 47)
e. National Housing Bank Act, 1987 (section 51)
f. Securities Contracts (Regulation) Act, 1956 (section 26)
g. The Payments and Settlement Systems Act, 2007 (section 28)
h. Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (section 45)
The plea submits that provisions of these statutes that bar victims from initiating prosecutions, is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution as it's unreasonable and arbitrary.
It is also averred that due to low conviction rates and the rising phenomena of victims knocking at the doors of the High Court to even get the complaints registered, such provisions defeat the purpose of 'Self-Help'.
The petition goes on to argue that when right to prosecute solely rests on the designated agency, such agency acquirers enormous power to pick and choose the targets for prosecuting and not prosecuting, leaving the victim with almost no remedy.
It is also mentioned that barring exceptional cases, such as ones attracting section 195 or 197 of CrPC, victims should not be restricted from setting the wheels of justice in motion. Moreover, it is submitted that the same principle was followed in striking down section 47 of the Aadhar Act.
Therefore, the petition has sought for directions to declare the above-mentioned sections of the said 8 statutes as ultra vires of constitution.
The Petitioner was represented by Mr R Subramanian, Mr. Shailesh Poddar and Mr. Arnav Dash