Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a PIL seeking compensation for people who had allegedly died due to various reasons during the demonetisation period. Since the demonetisation drive was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8, many PILs were filed in the apex court questioning the government’s rationale and modus operandi behind the implementation of the drive as it was not based on the grounds of public interest.
Family of Siya Ram who died while standing in a bank queue in Uttar Pradesh had filed a plea which was heard by the Supreme Court recently. The plea was again seeking compensation for his death. Siya Ram was 70-years old and a daily wager by profession. He died due to brain haemorrhage while standing in a bank queue on November 17. Kanhaiya Lal, Ram’s son filed a petition which stated that his father was standing in a queue for three days to exchange his currency.
Lal’s petition also stated that 40 ATMs in the city of five lakh residents are not even dispensing cash regularly. Over 50 people had reportedly lost their lives in incidents related to demonetisation, most being cases concerned with the serpentine ATM queues and lack of cash in banks.
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But it was not the first time that demonetisation was challenged in the apex court. In 1996, Demonetisation Acr 1978 was challenged a 5-judge bench upheld the act. It was the Jayantilal Ratanchand Shah vs Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and others’ case. According to the plentiff the Demonetisation Act 1978 was violating Ratanchand Shah’s fundamental rights as stated in Articles 19 (1) (f) and 31 of the Constitution and demonetisation was not done on the grounds of public interest.
When the Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes were scrapped by the NDA government. Many had to stand in queues outside ATMs which were not dispensing much cash till a long time after the drive was announced. Opposition leaders joined hands to protest against the move. There were several disruptions in the Winter Session of the Parliament over the issue.