The Centre today moved the Supreme Court seeking transfer of all public interest litigations which have challenged the validity of demonetization filed in various High Courts to the apex court or to one single High Court.
Mentioning the matter before a bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur and informing of the filing of the transfer petition, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said the centre wanted “all petitions ne either transferred to the supreme court which is already seized of the issue or it be shifted to a High Court”.
The CJI-led bench assured the AG that the matter would be heard on November 23. Meanwhile the main matter challenging the constitutional validity of demonetization is listed for November 25.
On November 18 the court had said public seemed to be frantic due to the currency crunch following the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes and asked centre to take all measures to alleviate the sufferings of people.
It had refused to transfer petitions pending in various High Courts to the Supreme Court saying “we cannot shut out out people from approaching high courts also and HCs are more aware of magnitude of problem in each state"
The bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur had however asked the Attorney General to file a transfer petition and said the matter will be taken up at a later date.
“We can consider transferring all petitions to the Delhi High Court ..anyways you file a transfer petition”, the CJI told Rohatgi.
“The supreme court is already examining the issues and passing orders and therefore the high courts and lower courts needed to be restrained from hearing pleas to prevent confusion”, the AG had said adding such a step was taken in 2G and coal scam matters.
AG said PILs on the issue was pending in Mumbai, Andhra, Karnataka, Chennai, Calcutta and Kerala.
On November 15 the Supreme Court had refused to interfere with the central government's decision to demonetise Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 currency notes but sought an affidavit as to what urgent extra measures can be taken to put an end to the severe inconvenience people faced.
WHAT HCs SAID
The Calcutta High Court had on Friday, the same day when SC said people were frantic and there could be riots” had slammed the Centre saying though it cannot change the government policy, there was a lot lacking in the implementation of the move.
Hearing a PIL filed by an advocate, Ramaprasad Sarkar, the High Court had said, “The Centre is asking people to open bank accounts and deposit the money. Do you even know how much harassment a person has to face while opening a bank account? A person’s income which does not fall under the taxable bracket is facing trouble. What is the Centre doing for the common man?” asked the court.
The Karnataka High Court has already dismissed a plea by a lawyer against demonetisation of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 currency notes, observing that though there are initial problems, those would not be perennial. A bench, in its order on a PIL filed by one Mohammed Haroon Rasheed just couple of days after the government announced the move, said it had no reason to doubt the bona fide of the Central government for implementing demonetisation.