The Centre, in it's new affidavit filed before the Supreme Court on Monday made it clear that it cannot give more time to deposit old currency notes, as the same would defeat the very purpose of demonetisation, which was aimed at eliminating black money.
“Thus, going by the extent and enormity of the malpractices observed during post-demonetization period, it is apparent that in case a fresh opportunity is offered for exchange of SBNs, it would lead to rampant illegal trading of these SBNs (that is, the SBNs being traded at discounts) thereby defeating the very purpose of demonetization,” the Centre submitted.
It further explained, “…the very object of demonetisation and elimination of black money will be defeated if a window is opened for a further period as the persons in possession of the SBNs would have had sufficient time and opportunity to carefully plan the reasons and excuses for not depositing the SBNs within the permitted period that is before 30.12.2016. Any number of benami transactions and user proxies for the purpose of producing and depositing SBNs would then arise which the departments would have great difficulty in deciding any genuine case from the numerous bogus ones.”
The Centre’s submissions highlighted the malpractices during the demonetisation period, and the widespread misuse of the window for exchange of old notes.
It also compared the demonetisation drive carried out in the year 1978, pointing out that while the period available for exchange for the current drive was spread over 51 days, this period was restricted to 6 days in 1978.
“It is submitted that the period 09.11.2016 to 30.12.2016 was fairly a very long period during which any one can either himself or through his authorised agent/third person could have deposited/exchanged the specified bank notes subject to following the prescribed norms. In other words, what was permitted was exchange and or deposit of specified bank notes during a block period a period up to and including 30.12.2016 either in person or through authorised third person,” it, thereafter, submitted.
The Centre’s response was rendered after the Chief Justice of India, during the last hearing, urged it to consider giving some more time to people who were unable to visit banks for depositing money due to genuine reasons.
“What if someone is terminally ill and could not deposit the money. If someone has a genuine reason, you cannot deny him the opportunity to deposit the money. You cannot be allowed to deprive a person of his money,” the Bench headed by CJI Khehar had said, while hearing a bunch of Petitions filed by those who were denied permission by the RBI to deposit their money after the window for such exchange had expired.