SC notice to Centre, RBI over plea on old currency deposits

Regolare Commento Stampare

On December 31, the RBI had asked its five offices in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Nagpur to exchange old currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000, after the 50-day demonetisation period that ended a day earlier.

Chief Justice JS Khehar, however, said that the ordinance or executive order which outlaws the old notes "has overtaken the PM's speech without any notice to the people".

The Supreme Court on March 10 sought replies from the Centre and the RBI on the plea against tweaking of rules on exchange of demonetised currency.

People, however, will still have time to exchange the currency notes at designated Reserve Bank of India (RBI) counters till 31 March after giving valid reasons for not depositing defunct notes in their accounts by 30 December.

The next hearing in the case will be held on April 11.

"PM's speech gave hope that those in difficulty will get a chance to deposit by Dec 31 and would get another chance till Mar 31 after explaining difficulty, but things have changed", the SC bench observed.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a notice to the Centre, asking it to file a reply within two weeks on the PIL filed by a person named Sharad Mishra, claiming that people are not being allowed to deposit their old currency notes till March 31 as promised by the ruling dispensation.

The petitioner has referred to the Specified Bank Notes Cessation of Liabilities Ordinance and said it had breached the assurance.

The Ordinance said that only those who were overseas, the armed forces personnel posted in remote areas or others who can give valid reasons for not being able to deposit the cancelled notes at banks can deposit the demonetised currency notes till March 31 at RBI counters.

The government had allowed the deposit of demonetised currency notes till December 30 past year. Currently, only those who were overseas during this period and unable to avail of this window can deposit old notes.