Restrain HCs From Hearing Demonetisation PILs: Centre To SC; Decision Tomorrow

Restrain HCs From Hearing Demonetisation PILs: Centre To SC; Decision Tomorrow

The Centre today urged the Supreme Court to bar the High Courts from entertaining public interest litigations pertaining to demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currencies and wanted a stay on all pending proceedings before High Courts across the country.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi mentioned the matter before a bench headed by justice A R Dave as Chief Justice T S Thakur was presiding over a constitution bench.

Justive Dave led bench then assured Rohatgi that the matter will be listed for urgent hearing tomorrow before the regular bench  headed by Chief Justice Thakur.

Rohatgi was of the view that parallel hearings will result in confusion and chaos on the issue.

“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 unnecessary confusion and chaos”, he submitted.

On November  15 the Supreme Court 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.

The bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur asked the Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi who appeared for Centre if steps like enhancing the withdrawal cap, asking more authorities to accept old currency till an extended date, more speedy replenishment of ATMs could be taken.

"We are not interfering. Only looking into if more measures can be taken to ease the situation. People should not suffer at any cost", the bench had told AG seeking an affidavit by November 25.

Senior lawyer Kapil Sibal had appeared for the four petitioners (including two Delhi-based lawyers) in the PILs which sought quashing of the scheme on the grounds that it infringed citizens' right to life and trade among others.

Sibal argued that the centre did not have power under section 26(2) for blanket removal of currency notes of certain denomination but only to cancel a particular series which Rohatgi contested. "We are challenging the constitutional validity of the notification" Sibal argued but the bench refused to be much drawn into it.

TWO MORE PILS AFTER THAT

Two more PILs were filed in the Bombay High Court on Tuesday highlighting the common man’s problems post-demonetisation. Although neither petitions sought any writ against the government’s decision, suggestions were made by one of the petitioners Anil Chitre.

Chitre, a 30-year old businessman from Mumbai, alleged that “black money hoarders, in a bid to secure their unaccounted cash which was presumably in high denomination notes, made desperate attempts to exchange the stashed cash for available change in the market”. As a result, there is a dearth of “change” in the market.

The other petition alleged that since no advertisements are allowed on denominations that are legal tenders, the Swachh Bharat logo on the new Rs 2,000 note was illegal, hence, the circulation of these notes should be “stayed immediately”.

Madras High Court has already dismissed a public interest litigation on the issue.

This article has been made possible because of financial support from Independent and Public-Spirited Media Foundation.