Exchanging Old Notes Still A Possibility

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Centre and Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to provide an opportunity for people who were unable to submit demonetised bank notes before the December 30, 2016 deadline.

The demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes in November 2016 had caused a cash crunch in the country as the bills had made up almost 86% of the currency in circulation then.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his address on demonetisation on November 8 previous year, had said that those who couldn't deposit or exchange the scrapped Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes during the 50-day window would be allowed to do so till March 31, 2017 at specified offices of the RBI.

"You cannot trash a person's genuine hard-earned money and let it go waste like this. you had promised them a window, now you can't go back on your word to those who had genuine difficulty", the Supreme Court said.

The Indian Express reported a bench comprising Chief Justice JS Khehar and Justices DY Chandrachud and SK Kaul said the matters be fixed for hearing after the summer vacation.

"If you are not giving a person, who could not deposit their money for genuine reasons, another chance, then it raises a serious issue".

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a televised address to the nation on 8 November, said Rs500 and Rs1,000 banknotes will cease to be legal tender as part of a crackdown on black money, counterfeit currency notes and terrorist finance.

The last date for depositing scrapped currency notes of Rs1,000 and Rs500 denominations was 30 December. You can not trash a person's genuine money to go waste like this, the court also observed.

The apex court has given the Centre two weeks time to respond.

Read |SC to Centre: Why was deadline for depositing demonetised notes changed?

Third, even if the Supreme Court has its way and the government offers another window to the citizens to deposit their old notes, it is likely to be a hard task even to the honest cash holder to explain why he or his family could not do so by 30 December.

The Centre had come out with the Ordinance making possession of a large number of scrapped notes a penal offence attracting a monetary fine.

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