Delhi High Court today asked the government to decide on the issue of surcharges levied on transactions done through debit and credit cards across the country.
A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra passed the direction on a plea which claimed that such charges were “unlawful” and “discriminatory” and credit or debit card transactions should be incentivised.
“We direct respondents (Ministry of Finance and Reserve Bank of India) to decide the issue raised in the writ petition in a reasonable amount of time.
They will also consider the present writ petition as a representation and pass an order,” the court said.
While disposing of the plea, it further said the decision should be communicated to petitioner, advocate Amit Sahni.
The lawyer had moved the court seeking direction to frame guidelines in order to prevent “unlawful” and “discriminatory” surcharges being levied on debit and credit card transactions.
Maintaining that India was one of the most cash-intensive economies in the world, he said there was an urgent need to incentivise credit or debit card transactions and dis- incentivise cash transactions.
Sahni, in his PIL, said the “unlawful, unequal and arbitrary treatment is visible on the payment of petrol charges through credit and debit cards”.
The petitioner had also said the ministry and RBI were “responsible for making rules/guidelines and for monitoring banks across the country”.
He also claimed that the surcharge was not only illegal, but was discriminatory too as it also promoted circulation of black money as surcharges were not imposed on cash payments.
“The petitioner has noticed that illegal, unequal and arbitrary treatment is seen across the country on transactions being done through credit and debit cards by levying surcharge at the rate of 2.5 per cent or more, while such surcharge is not levied when the payment of such transaction is done by making cash payment in that regard…,” the plea had said.