NEW DELHI: Giving relief to relief to people who were not able to exchange their old notes due to compelling reasons at the time of demonetization, Supreme Court on Tuesday pulled up the government for not providing them window for depositing old notes with the RBI now.
A bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and D Y Chandrachud said, “You (Government) can’t be allowed to deprive a person of his money if he couldn’t deposit it due to genuine problems. Give a window to a genuine problem.”
“If he is able to prove that it is his legitimate money then how can you deprive him of his money? You cannot take his money away,” the bench observed.
Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar who appeared for Centre tried to justify government’s stand that it was done to do away with malpractices of buying gold and doing high deposits but was warned by the bench and said, “Don’t force us to pass a three line order and quash your December 30 notification.”
SG also informed the court that government is ready to examine such cases on individual basis but court should not open the window for public at large.
The court gave Centre and RBI two weeks time to reply as to what options can be explored and slated the hearing to July 18.
The court was hearing batch of petitions challenging the scrapping of the March 31 deadline to deposit demonetised notes with RBI.
Last year on November 8, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his address on demonetisation had said that those who couldn’t deposit or exchange the scrapped Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes during the 50-day window would be allowed to do so till March 31, 2017 at specified offices of the RBI. The notification issued also stated the same.
However, on December 30, Centre came out with the Specified Bank Notes (Cessation of Liability) Ordinance, 2016, by which the right to deposit demonetised notes with RBI till March 31 was restricted to non-resident Indians. This has been challenged by the petitioners.