New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the central government and the RBI on a batch of PILs alleging that people are not being allowed to deposit old Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes till March 31, as promised by the government.
A bench of Chief Justice J.S. Khehar, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice S.K. Kaul sought response from the Union Finance Ministry and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on the pleas and posted the matter for hearing on March 10.
During the hearing, the bench observed: “Despite postulations, no individual has been permitted to deposit after December 31, 2016.”
The petitions alleged that the government was breaching the promises Prime Minister Narendra Modi made on November 8, 2016, before declaring the high-value currency notes “legally not valid”.
“Prime Minister’s speech and the subsequent notification on demonetisation had assured that a person shall be able to deposit the notes in special circumstances till March 31, 2017, but in its Ordinance in December 2016, the government has failed to mention it,” one of the petitioners told the bench.
A woman said she could not deposit the old currency notes as she was pregnant at that time and that she intended to do so after giving birth to her child.
She said: “The confusion regarding the old notes and its validity as a legal tender amongst the respondents (government) is a definite example of ‘bad governance’, which is resulting in harassment of the common people at large.”
She said that the government and the RBI took away that opportunity from her by subsequently restricting the grace period until March 30 to only NRIs and Indians who were abroad in November and December.
Several petitions were filed by companies and individuals over the government going back on its decision to extend the date of depositing demonetised notes till March 31.