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Demonetisation case: SC seeks affidavits from Centre, RBI

Demonetisation case; The Supreme Court said on Wednesday that it will examine how Narendra Modi's government carried out

By Ground report
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The Supreme Court said on Wednesday that it will examine how Narendra Modi's government carried out the demonetisation exercise in 2016. The SC constitutional tribunal asked the Center and Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to file affidavits on the decision to demonetise the 500 and 1,000 rupee notes, saying it would investigate whether the government had the authority to do so under Section 26 of the RBI Act.

Noting that when an issue arises before a constitutional court, it is their duty to respond, a five-judge tribunal headed by Justice S.A. Nazeer ordered the Union government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to file a full affidavit on petitions challenging the demonetisation of 500 and 1,000 rupees notes.

Attorney General R. Venkataramani stated that unless the Demonetisation Act is challenged from a proper perspective, the issue will remain essentially academic.

The Large Denomination Bank Notes (Demonetisation) Act was passed in 1978 to provide in the public interest for the demonetisation of certain large denomination bank notes in order to control the illicit transfer of economically damaging money facilitated by such notes.

The high court said that in order to declare whether the exercise is academic or has become unsuccessful, it must examine the matter as both parties disagree.

“In order to respond to that problem, we will have to listen and respond, whether it be academic, non-academic, or beyond the scope of judicial review. The issue in the case is the government's policy and wisdom, which is one aspect of the matter.

“We always know where the Lakshman Rekha is, but the manner in which it was done has to be examined. We have to hear the counsel to decide that,” the bench, also comprising Justices B.R. Gavai, A.S. Bopanna, V. Ramasubramanian, and B.V. Nagarathna said.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Union government, said the court’s time should not be “wasted” on academic issues.

Objecting to Mehta’s submission, senior lawyer Shyam Divan, representing petitioner Vivek Narayan Sharma, said he was surprised at the words “waste of constitutional bench’s time” as the earlier bench had said these cases must be placed before a constitution bench.

The high court set November 9 as the next date for the hearing.

On November 8, 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a televised address to the nation, declared that high-denomination 500 and 1,000 rupees notes will no longer be legal tender after midnight. He said that the central government has declared a "decisive war" against black money and corruption.

The high court constitutional court today issued a notice on all interim applications and new petitions challenging the Center's demonetisation decision.

The high court, which was hearing 58 pleadings challenging demonetisation, asked the Center and the Reserve Bank of India to submit detailed affidavits.


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