Adjudicating Authority Under PMLA

Imagine a world where crooks try to turn their stolen money into clean cash while avoiding the cops. Welcome to the secret world of money laundering, where shady deals happen in the dark corners of the banking system.

But how did we get here? Let’s examine this sneaky business and its adjudication in India.

Bare Act PDFs

What Is Money Laundering?

Money laundering is the practice of making unlawfully obtained money look lawful. The primary objective of money laundering is to conceal the proceeds of illegal activities to appear legal or “clean” by incorporating them into the legal financial system. Criminals move money via numerous transactions and financial institutions to conceal their illegal origins.

Related: What Are White-Collar Crimes?

What Is the Money Laundering Prevention Act, 2022?

In India, the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002, is the primary legislation regulating money laundering. The PMLA establishes a framework for preventing money laundering and offences related to it in India. It sets up significant rules for identifying and combating money laundering.

Adjudicating Authority Under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act

The Adjudicating Authority under the PMLA plays an important role in enforcing and executing the Act. It is responsible for adjudicating cases related to violations of its provisions.

The definition of an Adjudicating Authority was provided in the case of Pareena Swarup vs Union of India, 2002, as “the Adjudicating Authority is a body of experts from different fields to adjudicate on the issue of confirmation of provisional attachment of property involved in money laundering. The functions of Adjudicating Authority are civil in nature to the extent that it does not decide on the criminality of the offence nor does it have the power to levy penalties or impose punishment.”

Bare Act PDFs

Composition of Adjudicating Authority

The Adjudicating Authority consists of a Chairperson and two other members, each with legal expertise and experience in financial matters. The Central Government appoints them.

To be appointed as a member of the Adjudicating Authority in the field of law, a person must be qualified to be appointed as the District Judge or has been a member of the Indian Legal Service with a grade I post in the service.

Further, a person must possess the prescribed qualification to be appointed as a member of the Adjudicating Authority in the field of finance, accountancy or administration.

Term and Conditions of Office of Adjudicating Authority

The Chairperson and the other members of the Adjudicating Authority shall hold the office for five years from the date of entering the office or until attaining the age of 62 years, whichever is earlier. The Chairperson or any other member of the Adjudicating Authority may resign by writing to the Central Government.

If a vacancy arises in the Chairperson or any other member’s office for any reason other than a temporary absence, the Central Government will choose another person in accordance with the provisions of PMLA.

Further, if a vacancy in the Chairperson’s office arises due to death, resignation, or other reasons, the senior-most member will serve as the Chairperson of the Adjudicating Authority until a new Chairperson is appointed to the position.

When the Chairperson of the Adjudicating Authority is absent, ill, or unable to perform their duties for any other reason, the senior-most member will take over the Chairperson’s responsibilities until the Chairperson of the Adjudicating Authority returns to work.

Jurisdiction of Adjudicating Authority

The jurisdiction of the Adjudicating Authority is exercised by the benches. The Chairperson of the Adjudicating Authority forms a bench with one or two members as he deems fit. The Adjudicating Authority’s benches usually sit in New Delhi and other places as the central government may specify in consultation with the Chairperson. The central government is also authorised to determine the areas where each bench of the Adjudicating Authority will exercise its jurisdiction.

Powers of Adjudicating Authority

The Adjudicating Authority has powers similar to those of a civil court. Its primary role is to inquire into and adjudicate contraventions under the Act. It can summon and enforce any person’s attendance, examine them on oath, require the discovery and production of documents, receive evidence on affidavits, and issue commissions for examining witnesses or documents.


The Adjudicating Authority under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act is essential in implementing money laundering regulations in India. The body, composed of legal and financial professionals nominated by the Central Government, has substantial powers to adjudicate cases involving breaches of the Act.

Overall, the Adjudicating Authority plays a pivotal role in upholding the financial system’s integrity by ensuring compliance with anti-money laundering laws.

Subhashini Parihar
WritingLaw » Law Notes » Composition and Powers of Adjudicating Authority Under PMLA Law Study Material
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