Sunday, February 25, 2024

SC declines interim order on demonetisation

The Supreme Court on Friday refused to pass any interim order extending the deadline until which the scrapped currency notes could be used for essential services, including in hospitals and medical stores, and left it to the government to take the call.
The court said that no direction was required to be given to the government on this count, but asked it to honour the commitment to allow the withdrawal of Rs 24,000 per week to the possible extent. Observing that the government was “responsive and sensitive enough” to the situation, a bench of Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said the government will consider and take appropriate decision from time to time to ease the hardships being faced by the people.
Referring to the statement by Attorney Genertal Mukul Rohatgi that things would get streamlined in next 15 days — that is up to December 31 deadline — the court said that the time has not yet been exhausted and the government is working to the best of its abilities.
Asking the government to periodically review its decisions, the court noted that 40 per cent of the demonetised currency has already been replaced by the new Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 notes as Rohatgi put it.
On Thursday Rohatgi told the apex court that new currency notes worth Rs 5 lakh crore had been injected and coupled with existing smaller-denomination currency notes, there were Rs 7.5 lakh crore in circulation. Refusing to pass any interim order, the apex court referred to a larger bench of five judges the matter of a batch of petitions challenging the November 8 demonetisation decision of the government and the issues arising out of it.
The court has framed nine questions to be considered by the five-judge bench that inclines validity of the demonetisation decision, whether restrictions could be imposed on the withdrawal of money by the account holders and can courts adjudicate on fiscal policy.
The Supreme Court also stayed proceedings before various high courts and subordinate courts on the petitions arising out of the demonetisation, and directed that, henceforth, any petition challenging the November 8 decision or issues related to it could only be moved before the apex court, thus barring all courts in the country from entertaining any petition challenging demonetisation.

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