The Supreme Court has asked central government why it chose not to create a separate category for those who couldn’t deposit demonetised notes by December 30, 2016 unlike the NRIs and people who were abroad.
Asking government to file an affidavit by April 11 explaining the reason why the window was not created for the people having difficulty to deposit prior to Dec 30, 2016, the SC also sought to know whether Centre intends to give a chance to those category of people with genuine reasons to deposit demonetised currency.
A bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar said that the Prime Minister, in his November 8 address, had said that those with valid reasons could deposit the demonetised currency even after December 30, 2016, till March 31, 2017.
“Prime Minister in his address had said that people with genuine difficulties can deposit the demonetised currency even after December 30, 2016, till March 31, 2017 with the RBI branches. Give us the reasons why despite having powers under the law, you did not create a category for those people who couldn’t deposit the demonetised notes before December 30, 2016” the bench said.
The apex court bench also comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and SK Kaul said that the PM’s address had given hope that those in difficulty would get a chance, till March 31, 2017, after giving valid reasons.
The Supreme Court is hearing a petition against tweaking of rules on exchange of demonetised currency. It had on March 6 sought the responses of the Centre and the Reserve Bank of India as to why demonetised notes were not accepted till March 31 as was promised.
The plea has alleged that the Prime Minister and the RBI had assured the people at large that demonetised currency notes can be exchanged at banks, post offices and RBI branches till December 30, 2016 and if people are unable to deposit them by that day then they can do so till March 31, 2017 at RBI branches after complying with some formalities.
The petitioner has referred to the Specified Bank Notes Cessation of Liabilities Ordinance and said it had breached the assurance.
The Ordinance said that only those who were abroad, the armed forces personnel posted in remote areas or others who can give valid reasons for not being able to deposit the cancelled notes at banks, can deposit the demonetised currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes till March 31 this year after the deadline expired on December 30, 2016.
(With inputs from the PTI)