New Delhi, Mar 21: The Supreme Court of India on Tuesday asked the Narendra Modi government to decide within two weeks whether the people who failed to deposit the 500 and 1000 rupee banned currency can be granted another opportunity to exchange their currency. The Supreme Court further pointed that on November 8, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated that people could deposit the banned currencies by March 31 but later the deadline was changed to December 30.

After preponing the deposition of currency to December 30, the government stated that citizens travelling abroad during the demonetisation period will be only allowed to deposit the banned currency in the RBI office with the subject to verification. A bench led by Chief Justice of India J S Khehar questioned why the government did not create a “separate category for those who couldn’t deposit demonetised notes by December 30.”

On March 6, the Supreme Court issued notices to the RBI and Centre pointing out that the people were not allowed to deposit the banned currency despite the government promising the people to deposit the amount by March 31. The Centre had then stated that it would argue the matter directly rather than filing a reply.

The Supreme Court hearing was on a number of PILs filed challenging RBI’s decision of not accepting the banned currency after December.

During the hearing, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi stated that “If the PM has made a statement that  deposit can be done till March-end but the law says one can’t do so, the law will prevail.” Reacting to Mukul Rohatgi’s statement, Chief Justice JS Khehar said that the executive orders “has overtaken the PM’s speech without any notice to the people. You can’t prejudge people’s inability to deposit without giving them an opportunity.”

The next hearing in the case will be held on April 11.