While hearing a batch of petitions challenging the scrapping of March 31 deadline to deposit old currency with the Reserve Bank of India, the Supreme Court on July 4 made some harsh remarks and questioned the Centre’s move.
“It is harsh if you close all options of exchange for genuine persons who were unable to deposit their (demonetised) notes within the stipulated period,” said a bench of Chief Justice JS Khehar and Justice DY Chandrachud.
The bench also said that the Centre cannot close all options for genuine persons who have hard earned money and asked the Centre and the Reserve Bank of India to consider the option of granting a window to those who could not deposit their demonetised Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes for a compelling reason and reply withing two weeks.
“If I am terminally ill and could not deposit my money. I should be given an opportunity now to approach you and establish my facts… You can’t just deprive me of my money because I am terminally ill,” Chief Justice Khehar addressed Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar who appeared for the Centre.
“You are taking away my money because I am terminally ill? Citizens are facing problems and you are there to solve them. If not, serious problems will arise… and you provision is at risk,” Chief Justice Khehar orally observed.
“There can be a situation where a person has lost his/her money for no fault. Suppose a person was in jail during the period… We want to know as to why you chose to bar such persons,” the bench said.
“But you should have opened a window for genuine persons to approach you… But you do not want to… we want to know why you want to debar genuine persons… why you want to deprive them of their property?” asked Chief Justice Khehar.
In a sudden move on November 8 last year, the Central government had announced that Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes would no longer be legal tender from November 9.