The Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA): A Law Adrift

GS-2 Mains : 

Short Notes or Revision Notes 

Question : Evaluate the objectives and background of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) 2002, focusing on its initial aim to combat drug-related money laundering.

Objective and Background

  • PMLA was enacted in 2002 with the primary aim to combat the laundering of proceeds from drug trafficking.
  • The rampant flow of black money from international drug trade threatened global economies, leading to international efforts to curb money laundering.
  • Initiatives like the UN Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and the establishment of the FATF prompted countries to enact legislation to prevent money laundering.
  • India, in accordance with UN resolutions and FATF recommendations, formulated the PMLA to address drug money laundering.

Issues with the PMLA

  • Enacted under Article 253 of the Constitution, allowing Parliament to make laws for implementing international conventions, with a focus on the subject matter of the decision.
  • However, PMLA has deviated from its original objective and expanded its scope beyond drug-related offenses.
  • Provisions designed for combating drug trafficking now apply to a wide range of offenses, including those unrelated to generating proceeds that threaten the economy or sovereignty.
  • Addition of offenses like the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 to the PMLA’s schedule broadens its application to public servants, treating them akin to drug traffickers.
  • The PMLA operates on a presumption of guilt until innocence is proven, contrary to the usual legal principle of presumption of innocence.

Consequences and Concerns

  • Application of PMLA’s stringent provisions to non-drug-related offenses leads to disproportionate and draconian treatment.
  • Lack of differentiation between offenders of varying degrees of severity undermines the original intent of the law.
  • Denial of bail under PMLA, based on the presumption of guilt, infringes upon the fundamental right to personal liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.
  • The judiciary faces a significant responsibility in safeguarding individual rights and ensuring a fair balance between societal interests and personal freedoms.

Conclusion: Need for Reform

  • The deprivation of personal liberty through denial of bail under PMLA underscores the need for a careful, judicial approach.
  • The government and judiciary must collaborate to address the overreach and unintended consequences of the PMLA.
  • Revisiting the scope and application of the law is imperative to restore its original purpose while upholding constitutional principles.
  • Balancing the fight against money laundering with protecting individual rights requires a nuanced and judicious approach.



AI in Elections: Advancements and Concerns

GS-2 Mains 

Short Notes or Revision Notes 

Question : Discuss the current applications of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Indian elections, highlighting its impact on electoral strategies and campaigning methods.

Current Applications in India

  • India’s Lok Sabha elections see the use of AI for translating speeches into eight languages.
  • Over the past three decades, India’s electoral strategy has evolved with emerging technologies.
  • Social media platforms, notably WhatsApp, have become pivotal in political campaigns, allowing for targeted messaging and mobilization of party workers.

Global Concerns and Dangers

  • AI, particularly Generative AI and AGI, can facilitate the spread of disinformation and deepfake videos, undermining the integrity of elections.
  • Deepfake technology can create deceptive videos to tarnish opponents’ images and sway voter decisions.
  • The World Economic Forum highlights misinformation as a top risk, with AI enabling the creation of synthetic content at scale.
  • Inconsistencies and inaccuracies in AI models pose inherent dangers and ethical concerns regarding privacy and fairness.
  • Regulating AI in elections is challenging due to rapid technological advancements and the global nature of online platforms.

Changing Political Landscape

  • AI offers more than disinformation, providing real-time analytics and data-driven micro-targeting for effective campaigns.
  • GenAI technology is rapidly transforming the political landscape, presenting both potential and challenges.
  • The US government has banned AI-generated robocalls following incidents like the Biden robocall.
  • Concerns exist about last-minute attempts to deter voters or manipulate perceptions through AI-generated content.

Conclusion: Uncertainties and Preparations

  • AI’s efficiency in elections is expected to increase by 2029, but the world will also be more resilient and prepared to counter deceptive effects.
  • The current landscape is characterized by unknowable unknowns, emphasizing the need for ongoing vigilance and adaptation to emerging challenges.


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