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NEW DELHI: Hearing petitions which were filed after the deadline to deposit old notes was abruptly shortened, the Supreme Court told the 15 petitioners on Friday to await the verdict of a Constitution bench on the validity of demonetisation.
For close to six months, the SC offered sympathetic observations and asked the Centre to consider opening a window as those in genuine difficulty could not be forced to see their hard-earned money becoming trash. The SC had observed that each individual case should be examined for genuineness of difficulty before permitting the scrapped currency notes to be redeemed.
The Centre has not been amenable to such suggestions, arguing that the objective of demonetisation would be defeated. The government has been wary of the alleged misuse of windows, such as the daily exchange facility, petrol pump payments and exceptions for the northeast during notebandi.
On Friday, a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud told the petitioners to withdraw their pleas and intervene in the case pending before a five-judge Constitution bench, which will commence hearing to decide the validity of demonetisation soon. This drew protests from the petitioners, who said they had not challenged the validity of demonetisation.
“All we want is the government or RBI to examine the genuineness of difficulty we had in approaching banks between November 9 and December 30 last year and permit us to redeem the scrapped currencies in our possession, which is our hard-earned money,” they said.
“Depending on the result of the scrutiny by the five-judge bench for deciding validity of demonetisation, petitioners can present their grievance before the court,” it said. Advocate Sanjay Parikh, appearing for a petitioner, said Centre had made it a criminal offence to hold scrapped currency notes at which AG K K Venugopal assured petitioners that they will not face coercive action under law till the Constitution bench gives its verdict.”