A day after approving an ordinance that declares the possession of demonetised currency notes a punishable offence, the Narendra Modi government on Thursday clarified that there will be no jail term but there will be fine of minimum Rs 10,000. The ordinance named The Specified Bank Notes Cessation of Liabilities Ordinance to penalise holders of old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes will be presented to President Pranab Mukherjee shortly and it will be effective from December 31, said the sources from the Ministry of Finance.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced on November 8 the demonetisation of the two high-value currency notes with the aim to combat black money, corruption and fake currency from the economy besides encouraging digital India. He gave a time period up to December 30 to either exchange or deposit the scrapped notes from banks. With just two days left for the deposit or exchange of banned currency notes following the implementation of the demonetisation policy, the cabinet had on Wednesday cleared the ordinance stating the possession of these currency notes of large amounts after march 31 a penal offence which will be punishable with monetary fines. However, it is yet to be cleared if the penal provisions will apply to holding the junked currency after the 50-day window to deposit them at banks ends on December 30 or after March 31, till which time deposit of old currency notes at specified branches of the Reserve Bank after submitting a declaration form is open.
As the deadline for the deposit of old currency in bank or post office accounts expires on Friday, time till March 31 is available for doing so with RBI with stiff conditions by people who were abroad, armed forces personnel posted in remote areas or others who can give valid reasons for not being able to deposit the cancelled notes at banks before December 30.