New Delhi, May 29
The Delhi High Court on Monday dismissed a PIL challenging the notifications issued by the Reserve Bank of India and State Bank of India permitting the exchange of Rs 2,000 banknotes without obtaining any requisition slip and identity proof, saying it was a policy decision taken to avoid inconvenience to citizens.
Dismissing the petition filed by BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, a Division Bench of Justice SC Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad said courts should not sit as an appellate authority over the decision taken by the government.
Rejecting the petitioner’s allegation that the decision was arbitrary and irrational, the Bench said it cannot be said that the government’s decision was perverse or arbitrary or it encouraged black money, money laundering, profiteering or abets corruption.
Upadhyay had alleged that a large amount of currency notes has reached either an individual’s locker or has been hoarded by separatists, terrorists, Maoists, drug smugglers, mining mafias and corrupt people even as he clarified that he was not challenging the decision to withdraw Rs 2,000 banknote but assailed the exchange of the currency without any slip or identity proof.
Terming the PIL as being “devoid of merits”, the high court, however, said the government’s decision was only to withdraw Rs 2,000 denomination banknotes from circulation for the reason that the purpose of issuing these notes has been achieved, which was to meet the currency requirement of the economy in an expeditious manner in November, 2016 when all Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denomination banknotes ceased to remain legal tender.
To meet the situation at that point of time, the government took a decision to bring banknotes of Rs 2,000 denomination to ensure adequate supply of money to meet the day-to-day requirements of the people, it said.
On May 19, the RBI had announced withdrawal of Rs 2,000 currency notes from circulation, and said existing notes in circulation can either be deposited in bank accounts or exchanged by September 30. The notes of Rs 2,000 denomination will, however, continue to be a legal tender, the RBI had said.
RBI defended its notification, saying it’s not demonetization but a statutory exercise and it was taken to allow exchange of Rs 2,000 denomination currency notes for operational convenience and the court cannot interfere in such matters. (With PTI inputs)
PIL ‘devoid of merit’
Terming the PIL as being “devoid of merits”, a Division Bench of Justice SC Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad said the government’s decision was only to withdraw Rs 2,000 denomination banknotes from circulation for the reason that the purpose of issuing these notes has been achieved
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