On Friday, the Supreme Court declined to give any relief to those who are still stuck with the old notes. The apex court added that a five-judge Constitution bench that will decide the validity of the demonetisation process will also deal with the question. The decision was taken by a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud that disposed of 14 petitions, which said the old currency could not be deposited during the window period provided by Reserve Bank of India due to compelling reasons.
The bench also asked the petitioners to file interlocutory pleas in the pending petition to be dealt with by the constitution bench. “We think it appropriate that the writ petitioners shall file interlocutory pleas in the pending writ petition…before the Constitution bench,” the bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, said. The Court added that it has not opined on the merits of the validity of the ordinance or on the demonetisation decision, which would be dealt with by the larger bench along with the individual grievances.
Attorney General K K Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, said the persons, who have approached the court for depositing scrapped notes, would not be prosecuted with regard to the amount specifically mentioned in their petitions. Some petitioners had claimed that they have not challenged the constitutional validity of either the provisions of the RBI Act or the Centre’ notification, but they want to deposit their demonetised currency notes.
“Our hard-earned money has been confiscated without due process of law and without granting fair opportunity,” lawyer Pranav Sachdeva, appearing for one of the petitioners, said, adding that the constitution bench should be constituted as expeditiously as possible.
This decision was taken when the bench was hearing a batch of petitions, including one filed by one Sudha Mishra seeking a direction to authorities to allow her to deposit demonetised notes as she could not do so during the period specified by the Centre and the RBI.