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In what may give the opposition parties further ammunition to target Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Madras High Court has questioned the ruling dispensation on what authority it has printed ‘Devanagari’ numerals on the new Rs 2000 currency notes along with the regular English numerical.
On Monday, the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court had posed this question to the Centre while hearing a PIL filed by KPT Ganesan, a Madurai resident. He had also demanded a reply from the Finance Ministry on the same.
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Citing Article 343 of the Constitution, the petitioner argued that only international form of Indian numerals can be used for official purposes of the Union. He also contended that the usage of ‘Devanagari’ numerals is against the Indian Constitution and, therefore, asked the court to declare the newly-introduced Rs 2,000 notes as ‘invalid’.
According to Ganesan, the Official Languages Act, 1963 doesn’t allow any provision for the use of Devanagiri numerals. He also pointed out that even the President didn’t give the nod for any such usage of Devanagiri.
The newly introduced higher currency notes should also be deemed invalid as the Centre hadn’t passed any law in Parliament to allow the usage of Devanagiri script on the new notes, the petitioner further contended.
In fact, the new Rs 500 notes too have the same script.
PM Modi’s sudden announcement to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes in circulation, though welcomed by people across the country, has left many in the lurch and utter state of confusion. The Centre has, however, insisted that the move is aimed at rooting out the menace of black money, a promise which they had vigorously made before forming the government two years back.