1 Jun 2023 6:34 AM GMT
The Supreme Court vacation bench comprising Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia and Justice KV Viswanathan on Thursday refused to entertain an urgent mentioning by Advocate Ashwini Upadhyay 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. The bench stated that it would not take...
The Supreme Court vacation bench comprising Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia and Justice KV Viswanathan on Thursday refused to entertain an urgent mentioning by Advocate Ashwini Upadhyay 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. The bench stated 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.
Just two days ago, 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. Seeking an urgent listing, he argued–
"There is a notification about RBI and SBI that 2000 Rs note can be exchanged without identity proof. This is manifest arbitrariness. All the black money by kidnappers, drug mafias, mining mafia is being exchanged. No requisition slip is required. Media reports show that Rs 50,000 crores has been exchanged."
However, the bench expressed its disinclination towards taking up the matter. Justice Dhulia remarked–
"We're not taking such matters before the vacation bench. You can mention before the CJI."
Despite his insistence, the bench refused to entertain the matter, post which Upadhyay sought liberty to mention his appeal post vacations before the Supreme Court. The same was granted.
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.