Regulators

SC refuses to stay demonetisation

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MUMBAI: The Supreme Court of India on Tuesday refused to stay the Central Government's notification demonetising Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes but asked it to enlist the measures to minimise public inconvenience. It asked the Centre to take immediate steps to alleviate the hardships of the common man. “Discontinuing of higher denomination notes appears to be carpet bombing, and not a surgical strike,” the court said.

The apex court was hearing a bunch of petitions demanding the rollback of the decision to scrap old notes. Without issuing any notice to the RBI or the Centre, the apex court posted the matter for further hearing on 25 November. "We will not be granting any stay," a bench comprising Chief Justice TS Thakur and DY Chandrachud said. The remarks were made after some advocates insisted on a stay.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, however, said he was not seeking a stay on the notification but seeking answers from the government about the steps taken to lessen public inconvenience. The bench asked attorney-general Mukul Rohatgi to file an affidavit about the measures already undertaken by the government and the Reserve Bank of India to minimise public inconvenience and the steps likely to be taken in future.

The Centre, which had filed a caveat in the matter, sought dismissal of the petitions challenging demonetisation on several grounds including that they were "misconceived". Rohatgi outlined the idea behind demonetisation and said large number of counterfeit currency has been used to finance terrorism in various parts of the country including in Jammu and Kashmir and northeastern states.

Rohatgi informed the bench that Rs 3.25 lakh crore were deposited in the banks since 10 November, and Rs 11 lakh crore would be added in the next few days. He also said there were as many as 24 crore bank accounts including 22 crore opened under the 'Jan Dhan Scheme', and the Centre was hopeful to "ramp up" the outflow of the cash to banks, post offices and two lakh ATMs across the country.

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