SC questions Govt on cash hauls, Mukul Rohatgi cites ‘revolution’

The bench led by Chief Justice of India T S Thakur was hearing a bunch of petitions challenging the demonetisation of old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi | Published:December 16, 2016 2:06 am
 demonetisation, cash haul, cash crunch, new currency haul, new notes haul, supreme court, withdrawal limit, Mukul Rohatgi, new cash, cash seizure, indian express news, india news, demonetisation news Replying that “the government cannot sit in every bank”, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said people should bear “70 days” of discomfort as a “revolution” was taking place in the country after 70 years.

THE SUPREME Court on Thursday asked the Centre how “crores in new currency” were being seized “every day”, even as banks have expressed their inability to dispense Rs 24,000 to each account holder — the weekly withdrawal limit set after demonetisation.

Replying that “the government cannot sit in every bank”, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said people should bear “70 days” of discomfort as a “revolution” was taking place in the country after 70 years.

The bench led by Chief Justice of India T S Thakur was hearing a bunch of petitions challenging the demonetisation of old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.

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“Tell us, how are crores in new currency being seized every day when you have been citing cash crunch… you yourself have been arguing that banks are not able to give even Rs 24,000 to every person, which has been set as the limit for weekly withdrawal,” the bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, asked Rohatgi.

“The Government of India cannot sit in every bank… bank managers have done this fraud and they are being nabbed,” replied Rohatgi. He said two Axis Bank managers have been arrested so far, and the authorities have begun a crackdown. “We cannot be blamed if the bank managers have done it,” he said.

“Has your Rs 5 lakh crore (new currency notes) gone the same way? We are asking you this because people are complaining they have not been able to see this money,” the bench asked Rohatgi. The court said it seemed to be a problem of extremes. “Some have plenty (of new currency), and there are some who have nothing,” it said.

Rohatgi said a total of Rs 7.5 lakh crore, including Rs 5 lakh crore in new currency notes, was available for transaction, and the cash problem should be resolved soon. “Seventy years of change would need at least 70 days. It is a revolution that we are talking about. It will deal with terrorism, black money, counterfeit and many such evils. This has to be a gigantic exercise,” he said.

The bench also asked the AG why the exemption on use of old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes at hospitals and other places could not be extended. “Till the time you are unable to give new currency, let this continue. What could be your problem if government hospitals are allowed to accept old notes? These are your hospitals and they give proper receipts,” it said.

Citing an example, Rohatgi said petrol pumps deposited mostly Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes in banks when the exemptions were allowed. He said the government had reason to believe that the old notes were exchanged at a premium. “Besides, it cannot be a matter of judicial review as to which exemptions should continue. After all, these are issues of executive policy,” asserted the AG.

The court reserved its order on issuing interim directives in the matter. It is likely to pronounce its order in the first week of January.

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  1. K
    Kalidas
    Dec 15, 2016 at 11:25 pm
    And, why does court need to wait until first week of January when the matter of critical national importance need immediate intervention, relief and judgement. Looks like those sitting on bench do not want to antagonize the people on top, lest the promotion chances are affected.
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    1. K
      Kalidas
      Dec 15, 2016 at 11:16 pm
      When millions of people are not getting new Notes, how could they meet emergency medical expenses ? The court poser is a good one - why not let Government hospitals to accept old notes from patients in the meanwhile"? lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;As per original scheme, they wanted 50 days, now they ask for 70 days to make the scheme work.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;It is unacceptable to accept the govt plea “Besides, it cannot be a matter of judicial review as to which exemptions should continue. After all, these are issues of executive policy,” erted the AG. lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;When the executive actions are not fair and inequitable, the court may intervene for proper dispensation of justice.
      Reply
      1. A
        Anonymus
        Dec 16, 2016 at 7:18 am
        Read how Indira became PM. That will allow to clear some of your misconception. She was compromise candidate when she became PM first time.
        Reply
        1. G
          gopal
          Dec 16, 2016 at 4:59 am
          SC should not interfere in policy decisions. Payment via cheques, plastic money and other digital pay apps are not blocked..people prefer to use cash merely to avoid tax and ensure there is no audit trail..this system cannot continue for long..progressively the cash in circulation has to be reduced for the overall welfare of the nation.
          Reply
          1. K
            Kalyan K.Janakiraman
            Dec 16, 2016 at 10:48 am
            For once SC needs to answer the question, it is asking the government. Why is there so many crooks SC?
            Reply
            1. K
              Kalyan K.Janakiraman
              Dec 16, 2016 at 10:06 am
              SC judges could realise they live in iñdia too not behave are unaware. After 70 years, hardly anyone was left clean after all.
              Reply
              1. K
                krishna
                Dec 16, 2016 at 9:27 am
                So, the Courts will tell how to run the Government, or in other words, the Courts will run the Government. We thought we were a democracy and the governments will be formed as Vox Populi; that is ,as the Voice of the People, got through Elections. The Appointments of judges is done by a collegium of the persons appointed by the same process, not by an open process, by which a common person can find appointment in HC and SC. It is not unlikely that there may be children of politicians, relatives of former judges and bureaucrats or monied persons appointed as judges , who later may get elevated to supreme court. Corruption in Indian courts is not unknown. To what level it has reached is anybody's guess. How many politicians have been prosecuted and penalised so far ? They all go scot- free from the Courts.Overreach of courts in all matters, even to the extent of ordering what offensive or defensive means the Armed Forces may adopt, is not in the interest of Democracy in India. .
                Reply
                1. R
                  Ravindran Kokkaramath K V
                  Dec 16, 2016 at 8:06 am
                  Which govt in the past has made people stand in endless queues like beggars to withdraw their own money for weeks? It is bakwas only.
                  Reply
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