New Window For Exchange Of Demonetised Notes?
New Delhi: Giving relief to people who could not deposit their demonetised Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 currency notes for “compelling reasons”, the Supreme Court on Tuesday granted the Centre and Reserve Bank of India (RBI) two weeks to consider the option of granting a window.
A two-judge bench, comprising Chief Justice JS Khehar and Justice DY Chandrachud, asked Solicitor General, Ranjit Kumar, representing the Centre, to take instructions on the issue. “There can be a situation where a person has lost his/her money for no fault. Suppose a person was in jail during the period… We want to know as to why you chose to bar such persons,” the bench said.
The bench was hearing a batch of petitions, including one filed by Sudha Mishra, seeking directions to authorities to allow her to deposit demonetised notes, as she could not do so during the period specified by the government and RBI.
The Solicitor General then sought time to seek instructions for granting an opportunity to persons to deposit their money on a case-by-case basis.
It is known that the Central Government had announced last year that Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes would be no longer legal tender from November 9, 2016. At that time, it also assured people that they can exchange the demonetised currency notes at banks, post offices and RBI branches till December 30, 2016. People who failed to deposit them by that day were permitted to do so until March 31, 2017, at RBI branches after complying with certain formalities.
Counsel for petitioner Sudha Mishra said the Prime Minister’s address to the nation on the evening of November 8 last year on demonetisation and the following notification of RBI that banned notes can be exchanged at RBI offices even up to March 31, 2017, were valid assurance; but they were breached by the Specified Bank Notes Cessation of Liabilities Ordinance. This ordinance makes possession of a large number of demonetised notes a penal offence attracting a fine.