9 Jun 2023 6:16 AM GMT
The Supreme Court on Friday rejected a third mentioning made by Advocate Ashwini Upadhyay seeking urgent listing for his his petition challenging Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and State Bank of India's (SBI) notifications that permit exchange of Rs. 2000 currency notes without requirement of any identity proof.A Vacation Bench comprising Justice Aniruddha Bose and Justice Rajesh Bindal pointed...
The Supreme Court on Friday rejected a third mentioning made by Advocate Ashwini Upadhyay seeking urgent listing for his his petition challenging Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and State Bank of India's (SBI) notifications that permit exchange of Rs. 2000 currency notes without requirement of any identity proof.
A Vacation Bench comprising Justice Aniruddha Bose and Justice Rajesh Bindal pointed out that last week, another bench had already passed an order refusing urgent listing of the matter during vacations. The present bench said that it cannot modify the order passed by a coordinate bench.
Seeking urgent listing, Upadhyaya said :
"RBI Governor said that there was 1.8 lakh crores exchanged in 10 days...This is all without identity proof...entire black money of criminals, naxals, mafias will be exchanged
However, the bench, reminded him that since the coordinate bench had already asked him to mention this before a regular bench, the vacation bench could not hear the matter now. Justice Bose said–
"We perused the report of the registrar. In our opinion, the direction of the vacation bench cannot be varied by us. Let the matter be placed before CJI after summer vacations."
On June 1 2023, Upadhyay had mentioned the same matter before the Supreme Court vacation bench comprising Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia and Justice KV Viswanathan. The bench had refused to entertain his urgent mentioning stating that it would not take up such matters during the vacations and allowed Upadhyay to mention the matter once the Apex Court had resumed post the summer vacations. On June 7 2023, when he mentioned the matter before Justice Aniruddha Bose and Justice Rajesh Bindal, the bench had asked him how he could approach the court again when his matter was already declined to be listed before a vacation bench. However, when he insisted that the court had not declined to hear it in vacations, the bench decided to peruse the report of the Registrar on the same.
Insisting upon the urgency of the matter Upadhyay argued–
"This is violating the rights of the taxpayers, 10 crore people who pay taxes."
To this, Justice Bose said–
"Everyone pays taxes."
When Upadhyay argued that it was only 10 crore people who paid taxes, Justice Bose corrected him and remarked–
"That's income tax. GST and other such taxes everyone pays."
Continuing his argument Upadhyay said–
"A matter less important than this- when the Allahabad High Court passed that mangalik order, a suo moto cognisance was taken for that."
Upadhyay was referring to the Supreme Court's stay of an order passed by the Allahabad High Court which directed the Head of Astrology Department, Lucknow University to determine if an alleged rape victim is a Mangali/Mangalik by examining her Kundali.
At this juncture, Justice Bindal interjected and said that–
"The issue is that a bench has already passed an order in this."
"Registrar can be asked to seek directions from the CJI."
However, the bench had made its decision. Justice Bose remarked–
"We appreciate your concern but we can't do anything. Sorry."
Justice Bindal added–
"Matter has to end somewhere. Sorry."
Upadhyay's plea was dismissed by the Delhi High Court's division bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad. While dismissing the plea, the Delhi High Court had observed that the purpose of issuing the denominations of Rs 2000, which was to meet the currency requirement of the economy in an expeditious manner in November 2016 when all Rs. 500 and Rs.1000 denomination banknotes were declared to be not legal tender, had been achieved. Thus, the Government's decision not to insist upon requirement of identity proof for exchange of Rs. 2000 denominations banknotes could not be considered as perverse, arbitrary or something which encouraged black money, money laundering, profiteering etc.
Post the dismissal, Upadhyay moved the Supreme Court in appeal of the said judgement.
Through his plea, Upadhyay had also prayed that RBI and SBI be directed to ensure that the Rs. 2000 currency notes were deposited in respective bank accounts only, so that the no one could deposit the money in other accounts. As per the plea, this would ensure that people having black money and disproportionate assets could be identified easily. He had also sought a direction for appropriate steps against the black money and disproportionate asset holders in order to “weed out corruption, benami transaction, and secure fundamental rights of citizens.”
“Recently, it was announced by the Centre that every family has AADHAAR Card and Bank Account. Therefore, why RBI is permitting to exchange Rs. 2000 banknotes without obtaining identity proof. It is also necessary to state that 80 Crore BPL families receive free grains. It means 80 crore Indians rarely use Rs. 2,000/- banknotes. Therefore, petitioner also seeks direction to RBI and SBI to take steps to ensure that Rs. 2000 banknotes are deposited in bank account only,” the plea stated.
The RBI had recently announced its decision to withdraw Rs. 2000 notes from circulation. However, it added that the currency will continue as Legal Tender. It permitted people to deposit Rs 2000 banknotes into their bank accounts and/or exchange them into banknotes of other denominations at any bank branch.
“In order to ensure operational convenience and to avoid disruption of regular activities of bank branches, exchange of ₹2000 banknotes into banknotes of other denominations can be made upto a limit of ₹20,000/- at a time at any bank starting from May 23, 2023," a press note issued by RBI had said.
Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay Vs Union Of India [Slp No.12034/2023]
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