Can't afford another window to deposit banned notes: Centre tells Supreme Court

BT Online   New Delhi     Last Updated: July 17, 2017  | 20:11 IST
Can't afford another window to deposit banned notes: Centre tells Supreme Court

Centre refused to allow another opportunity to exchange old high denomination notes worth Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 that were demonetised last year. According to the NDTV, government told the Supreme Court of India that one such window will defeat the very purpose of demonetisation to curb black money from the system.

In a statement earlier this month, the Supreme Court had said the government can't deny citizens, who have valid reasons, the right to swap the scrapped notes.

The Supreme Court referred to people, like those in prisons, cannot be stopped from exchanging the old notes. The apex Court has also asked the government to explain how it would help such people by the 17th of this month.

According to reports, the Chief Justice of India JS Khehar was concerned about the honest citizens and said, "If these genuine people are not given a chance, then it is a serious issue."

In response to this, the government responded that such a chance would open doors for 'any number of benami transactions', making it difficult for the departments to separate 'genuine cash from bogus ones', the report stated. Government referred to the earlier instances of misuse of extensions given for submitting demonetised notes.

There have been instances earlier when the Chief Justice has asked the government to help genuine citizens. Earlier in March, when the government passed an ordinance to help people who were abroad, a bench led by Chief Justice of India JS Khehar said: "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 further said that the discretion vested in the government by the ordinance had been exercised arbitrarily to allow one category only when the law permits the government to extend the relief to other categories too.

Last year on November 8, Prime Minister Narendra Modi scrapped old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes and asked people to deposit the same in banks till December 30, 2016. However, the deadline for non-resident Indians or NRIs was 31 March, 2017 which was later extended through an ordinance till Jun 30.

A few days ago, Reserve Bank of India Governor Urjit Patel told a parliamentary panel that lack of machines and infrastructure has resulted in the delay of counting the demonetised currency in the system.

Patel, at the meeting, is believed to have said that the RBI hadn't arrived at the final figure just because the counting was still in progress. Patel did share some data but did not discuss the exact figures at the meet.

The parliamentary standing committee on finance is supposed to table the report on demonetisation in the monsoon session that started today. The committee has given the RBI chief 15 days time to submit data on deposits of the defunct Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 bank notes.

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