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

Henrietta Brewer
July 17, 2017

The central government told the Supreme Court today that no exceptions will be allowed in depositing old currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 that were demonetized in November past year. It may be recalled that the Supreme Court had earlier this month asked the central government to help some people who had genuine reasons for not being able to exchange or deposit their old currency notes.

Centre refused to allow another opportunity to exchange old high denomination notes worth Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 that were demonetised previous year.

Any number of "benami" transactions and proxy users for the objective of producing and depositing the old notes would then arise and the departments would have great difficulty in deciding any genuine case from the numerous bogus ones, it said, and sought dismissal of petitions seeking another chance. But an ordinance was brought in that declared possession of old notes illegal, which the government said was done to plug the malpractices and irregularities noticed during the first three weeks after demonetisation. Government further told the apex court that the time-period provided between November 10 to December 30 was sufficient for the people to exchange, or deposit their old currencies in the banks.

The Supreme Court today refused to pass any direction on a plea filed by a man seeking a direction to exchange over Rs 14 lakh, which were found in his bank locker of his late mother. "You can not be allowed to deprive a person of his money", a bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar had told solicitor general Ranjit Kumar.

The undisclosed income detected in the above actions was of more than Rs 5,400 crore, the government said.

The SC-bench led by Chief Justice of India JS Khehar said government would be acting in an unjustified manner, it it disallows those who were "genuinely unable to meet the December 30 deadline". Even some educational institutions were found to have accepted fees in old currency notes after midnight of November 8.

The Prime Minister's address to the nation on the evening of November 8 a year ago on demonetization and subsequent notifications of the federal bank that the devalued currency notes can be exchanged at RBI offices even up to March 31, 2017 were valid assurances which stood breached by the ordinance, the counsel for petitioner Sudha Mishra had said.

The government had assured the people that demonetised currency notes could be exchanged at banks, post offices and RBI branches till December 30, 2016.

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