New Delhi, July 17: After being recommended by the Supreme Court to provide the people with a “window of opportunity” to deposit their old currency notes, Centre said the move would defeat the purpose of the demonetisation drive. Government further told the apex court that the time-period provided between November 10 to December 30 was sufficient for the people to exchange, or deposit their old currencies in the banks.
“If opportunity is given it would defeat the purpose of demonetisation and elimination of black money,” Centre said in its affidavit to the top court, reported NDTV. The Supreme Court, on July 5, asked the Reserve Bank of India to come up with a policy to allow people, with genuine reasons, to deposit the old 500 and 1000-rupee notes.
The SC-bench led by Chief Justice of India JS Khehar said government would be acting in an unjustified manner, it it disallows those who were “genuinely unable to meet the December 30 deadline.”
“What if someone is terminally ill and could not deposit the money… You cannot deny him the opportunity to deposit the money,” the CJI said. He further warned Centre of issuing a court order if a policy is not introduced to provide the window of opportunity to the people.
The demonetisation of high denomination notes was announced on November 8. Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the move as a “bold measure in fight against corruption and eliminating black money”.
Opposition, however, continues to question the purpose of the note ban exercise, calling it a move which “dealt vicious blow on the unorganised sector”. According to Left’s Sitaram Yechury, the demonetisation drive is one of the major contributors to the agrarian crisis in the nation. “It was a mindless move which broke the backbone of farmers and labourers in the nation,” Yechury had said last month, demanding the government to release the figures of black money recovered through the exercise.
The RBI is yet to release the official figures of the demonetised currency which was deposited in banks between November 10 to December 30. According to several reports, the amount of currency which was turned into non-legal tender amounted to Rs 15.5 crore on November 8 midnight. In the next 50 days, roughly Rs 15 crore was deposited in the banks, the reports added, virtually questioning the rationale behind the demonetisation drive.
As per the figures released by central bank in mid-December, a total of Rs 12.5 crore was deposited in the banks. On being asked by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance to reveal the amount of demonetised currency which was deposited between November 8 to December 30, RBI Governor Urjit Patel said the counting is still underway. The remarks of Patel drew flak from the Opposition, with Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi advising the government to hire a math tutor for the RBI.