After a week of the announcement to ban Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency note, the Supreme Court today has sought Centre’s affidavit on the issue of PIL filed by various petitioner challenging government’s demonetisation decision on the grounds that it infringed citizens’ right to life and trade among others. SC asked the Centre to file the affidavit with all the steps it had taken to ease the inconvenience faced by the people due to the currency ban.
Taking note of the difficulties faced by the common people, the apex court asked the Centre about the steps it took in this regard. “What more steps are you exploring and considering in relation to inconvenience caused to people?”, Supreme court asked the Centre.
The court also refused to stay the Centre’s notification demonetising the old high-value currency notes and further asked it to consider limits of cash withdrawal. “We will not be granting any stay,” a bench comprising Chief Justice TS Thakur and DY Chandrachud said.
Four PILs were reportedly filed in the issue, out of which two PILs have been filed by Delhi-based lawyers Vivek Narayan Sharma and Sangam Lal Pandey respectively. Two other pleas have been filed by individuals, S Muthukumar and Adil Alvi, on the demonetisation issue. SC had agreed to hear the pleas today. Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi appeared for Union while Kapil Sibal and Kamini Jaiswal appeared for PIL petitioners in Writ Petition Number 916 in Court 1, Item 30 on the day.
During the hearing, Sibal said they are not praying for a stay of the notification regarding demonetisation but he put some major points in the issue. Referring Section 26 of RBI act that a recommendation from Board of Directors of RBI is mandatory, he said that in this demonetisation case this was not complied with by the government. He further said some provisions of RBI Act allow the government to remove certain series of notes but not entire denominations.
Sibal also argued that there should be no withdrawal limit when a citizen is seeking to withdraw his own tax paid money from a bank, based on the principle that banks are merely trustees of the account holders money and withdrawal limit is causing untold hardships to common man.
The bench asked AG to file an affidavit about the measures already undertaken by the government and the Reserve Bank of India to minimize public inconvenience and also the steps likely to be undertaken in future.
The next date of hearing on the matter is November 25.