Demonetisation: Supreme Court says Centre can't ban people from depositing old notes

05 July, 2017, 00:33 | Author: Franklin Nunez
  • The apex court has given two weeks time to the Centre and Reserve
Bank of India to decide on giving more time to people with genuine reasons to deposit the now out of use Rs 1000 500 notes

The Supreme Court on Tuesday thrashed the Centre for closing the note exchange window and asked the Center for a response whether the government can open another window to exchange or deposit demonetised notes.

In his November 8 speech, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that those facing genuine difficulty in depositing demonetised notes by December 30 would get a chance to deposit them till March 31.

"There can be a situation where a person has lost his/her money for no fault".

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"If you are not giving a person, who could not deposit their money for genuine reasons, another chance, then it raises a serious issue". It had said it was not legally bound to come out with a fresh notification to grant grace period or window for depositing scrapped currency notes. The Supreme Court has given two weeks time to the Centre and the RBI to take a decision and inform the Court. "We believe that those who failed to deposit the money due to genuine and valid reasons should be given a window". If people were unable to deposit them by that day, they could do so till March 31, 2017 at RBI branches after complying with certain formalities.

However, on December 30 past year, the Centre came out with the Specified Bank Notes (Cessation of Liability) Ordinance, 2016, by which the right to deposit demonetised notes with RBI till March 31 was restricted to non-resident Indians.

While people were given time till December 30, 2016, to exchange the notes at post offices and banks, the deadline to deposit them at the Reserve Bank of India was March-end.

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For one, the government stands on a strong legal ground here, after the passage of the Specified Bank Notes Bill in February, which ended the liability of these currency denominations between the RBI and the government.

The apex court was hearing a petition filed by advocate Sudha Mishra and others seeking a direction from it in connection with the deposit of old currency notes of Rs. 500 and 1,000.

Naturally, it's not possible for those who are old and infirm, those who are away from the country, those who are indisposed, or simply far removed to have received the government communication, to exchange the old notes by the stipulated deadline.

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