SC asks govt if demonetisation was confidential; to judge if policy unconstitutional

The Supreme Court on Friday resumed hearing on the pleas filed against government's demonetisation drive and sought to know from the government if the policy was confidential when it was being made.

Updated: Dec 09, 2016, 15:19 PM IST
SC asks govt if demonetisation was confidential; to judge if policy unconstitutional

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday resumed hearing on the pleas filed against government's demonetisation drive and asked the Centre if the policy was confidential when it was being made.

The apex court has framed 9 questions for adjudication to judge if the government's move to ban Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes was unconstitutional. 

The Chief Justice of India T S Thakur also sought to know why was the withdrawal limit of Rs 24,000 per day to a person was not being implemented in toto.

"If you had fixed the withdrawal limit of Rs 24000 per week per account then it should not be denied by banks, asked the apex court. Defending the government, the AG replied that Rs 24,000 is the upper limit of withdrawal from a savings account on which CJI TS Thakaur questioned why not fix a limit of minimum amount, for example Rs 10,000, which must be adhered to by the banks.

Lawyer Prashant Bhushan, appearing on behalf of a petitioner, told the top court that government was caught unprepared and unable to deal with the situations that followed the demonetisation drive.

“There was no cash in ATMs, recalibration was not done well and cooperative banks were being discriminated against,” Bhushan said

The Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi defended the note ban and said that the Centre has taken all the necessary measures to ease the inconveniences faced by the general public. The Attorney General told the Supreme Court that currency crunch will ease in 15-20 days.

A batch of PILs seeking quashing of the government’s decision to demonetise Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 currency notes on the grounds that it infringed citizens’ right to life and trade among others were filed in Supreme Court.

Replying to the plea, the Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said that the demonetisation is a part of the Centre's Monetary Policy and the Court should not interfere. Supreme Court asked the government to ensure supply of at least eligible cash to public.

The Supreme Court also sought response of the Centre on the issues including whether the district cooperative banks can be allowed to accept deposits with certain conditions and can there be a minimum assured withdrawal from banks.

SC is to resume the hearing of the demonetisation matter on December 14, 2016.

The Centre had submitted an affidavit last week on the demonetisation move in the Supreme Court, saying it is an attempt to unearth black money stashed over the last seven decades.