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. .
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                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.
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                  1. M
                    madhav
                    Dec 16, 2016 at 6:05 am
                    When the administration fails to the common man, only judiciary is the last hope. And in recent past Judiciary has shown the way, Curtailing rampant corruption in BCCI is an example.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;The administration failed on totality and our AG started singing in the same tune of of Bhakt. 70 70 years of change needs 70 days to correct. Yes to correct it only, you were chosen. But if you fails, that is your incompetence and do not cry foul. lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;There was no need for punishing every citizen in the name of change. Even all raids and seizure of currency is taking place because of intelligence in puts, which was always there. Bankers are reporting each and every high volume transactions, but you started shifting the blame on bankers.
                    Reply
                    1. M
                      Mahender Goriganti
                      Dec 16, 2016 at 2:54 am
                      Yah!! the judges too are trying to convert their black money I guess, in the name of Am Admi; the new Buzz word, for all including the media. .
                      Reply
                      1. N
                        Niladrinath Mohanty
                        Dec 16, 2016 at 3:34 am
                        I am feeling that lawlessness is wide spread. This is due to the failure of the administration mostly controlled by corrupt politicians. The job of administration is being carried out by the judiciary. The judiciary is loving to do it. The administration is also happy because they can take shelter behind the judicial order in case of unpleasant outcome. The judiciary is not doing the job of delivering justice to the needy and poor and entertaining so called public interest cases. Pending cases are mounting. I was told by a senior retired judicial officer that it is less taxing to deal with PIL cases compared to civil suits. For example the recent judgement on banning liquor shops on the high way. The administration should have done it based on the statistics and cause of accident and the Supreme Court does it. It is not without a flaw. Locating a liquor shop 500 meters away from the highway is not going to reduce the liquor consumption because 500 meters is not such an impediment or deterrent. The liquor dealer will provide free and quick transport to his shop located only 500 meters away from the highway for his lucrative business to continue.
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                        1. C
                          chandrakanth
                          Dec 16, 2016 at 2:35 am
                          It is the general knowledge, that the supreme court and high court judges have shown their inefficiencies and contradictory judgements on the same issues, understandably, citing archaic Indian laws and still stranger arguments. Evidently, all of them use the same old processes in the administration of the court proceedings. This scenario has increased the backlog of cases and they p the blame to the government. It is heard that the judgements are sometimes written by defence lawyers. They are safe, as no one wants to talk about them because they have a weapon ‘ defamation of courts’ and other harments. Now they think that they can understand proactive executive functions such as demonetisation. Next they will advise police/ soldiers how to control mobs, how to catch thief, how to fight a war. Our CJ was crying that he has to have more judges and now they prefer to accept frivolous cases and waste time. They should have speeded up their functions and modernized their working long back. They should avoid giving extensions/adjournments endlessly. Let their operations be made just and quick. They have a lot of operational freedom, they do not need any additional legislations. Smart lawyers make use of not so smart judges. They, being part of the same Indian society, they have same indian views of not changing anything and maintain status quo. Other offices have changed but courts have not.This is my view and I have not mentioned this to hurt anyone’s sentiments.
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                          1. K
                            K.S.Narayanan
                            Dec 16, 2016 at 5:53 pm
                            So in Rohatgi;s view, because the "revolution" as he calls it was taking place after 70 years is an inescapable reason that the country should put with at least 70 days of "discomfort".Why only 70 days and why not some other arbitrary number of days? We can agree that there will be some discomfort. But insisting on some arbitrary length of time mainly cover up for utter lack of adequate forethought compounded by incompetence and inefficiency is not intellectual brilliance. It is also galling when Rohatgi presumes to educate the court about policy being the exclusive domain of legislative branch. There will be no need for judicial review if the executive policy reflected intelligent forethought and competent preparation and implementation in the first place.
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                            1. P
                              PURUSHOTTAM
                              Dec 16, 2016 at 3:26 am
                              RBI is in the process of locating the source banks on the basis of serial numbers. Topmost of the 34 lakh tax invaders with Rs 100 Cr are at present on the radar. Poorest of the poor like Rahul, Maya, Mamta, Kejariwal etc. are facing great difficulty so it is but natural that they are levelling new charges daily. Even Supreme Court lawyers like Jethmalani ran away from court yesterday and flew away abroad. Now Modi should step down or Rahul will behead him.
                              Reply
                              1. S
                                Srinivas
                                Dec 16, 2016 at 3:51 am
                                50 days has now become 70 days ??? 70 years of Independence ?? What bakwas.
                                Reply
                                1. R
                                  Rahul
                                  Dec 16, 2016 at 4:14 am
                                  When the country was being roundedly looted by different generation of the same family, did you ever feel it was bakwas?
                                  Reply
                                  1. R
                                    ram
                                    Dec 16, 2016 at 8:56 am
                                    Supreme court was right. It should dig more. Out of the 16 lakh crore in circulation, 13 lakh crore has come back to RBI. By End of December all the notes would have come back. Now where is the Black Money that was supposed to be extinguished by this exercise? Is the real purpose of this exercise is to convert Black to White? Why should a common man suffer when no tangible benefit will accrue to him? Where is the promised extinguishing of black money? Why no raids were conducted on any politician? Above all, Mr Modi has promised to resign if the scheme fails. It has already failed. Why is Mr Modi not resigning?
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                                    1. B
                                      B.V.SHENOY
                                      Dec 16, 2016 at 1:05 am
                                      One of the many economic reforms that Modi ji had promised, demonetisation has the potential of setting the country on the highway of allround development, if only the people, who have borne the brunt of hardship, bear the same a little more. After all, as the AG said, 70m years of mismanagement, loot, and huge scams cannot be set right by the supreme court ordering its own ides to be implemented.
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