The Hindu Business Line
Supreme Court refers demonetisation issue to 5-judge Constitution Bench
Refuses to interfere with Centre’s policy of doing away with high value currency notes
The Supreme Court on Friday refused to tinker with the move to do away with the use of the nowdefunct high-value currency notes for public utilities, in government hospitals and for rail tickets, but referred to a Constitution Bench the issue of validity of the government’s demonetisation decision.
Nine issues for adjudication
The apex court, which framed nine issues for adjudication by a five-judge Constitution Bench for authoritative pronouncement on the government’s demonetisation decision, also refrained from making any amendment to the directive to limit weekly withdrawal at ₹24,000.
It hoped that the government will “fulfil this commitment” to the extent possible keeping in mind the “hardships and sufferings” faced by the general public.
A three-judge Bench headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur, which declined to extend the exemptions on the demonetised currency notes of ₹1,000 and ₹500, left it to the judgment of the government to review it hoping that it would be responsible and sensitive in dealing with it.
“Whether the use of demonetised currency notes would be extended or not, it is on the government of the day as it is the best judge. We hope that the government would be responsible and sensitive in dealing with it,” the Bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, said.
While examining the plea for passing directions to ease the inconvenience of the people on the contentions that banks were not allowing withdrawal of ₹24,000 a week, the bench took note of the submissions of Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi that 50 days time of streamlining cash inflow has not been exhausted.
It also took into account the submission of the government that 40 per cent of the demonetised currency has been replaced with the pumping of new currency notes of ₹2,000 and ₹500.