Government has given “relaxation” wherever necessary on the demonetisation issue, Delhi High Court said on Monday as it reserved its verdict for tomorrow on a petition seeking relaxation of the Rs 2.5 lakh withdrawal limit for marriages. “Relaxation has already been given wherever it is necessary,” a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal told the counsel appearing for the petitioner who has also sought a direction to accept old currency notes of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 for paying fines and court fees till December end.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain, appearing for the Centre, opposed the plea and said the government has already given certain exemptions but some conditions were needed so that nobody can misuse it. “We cannot have an unmeasured and uncanalised situation. We have given exemptions. For weddings, if we will not put conditions, anybody can get a marriage card printed and go to the bank to withdraw Rs 2.5 lakh,” the ASG told the bench.
In his plea, petitioner Birender Sangwan has alleged that the guidelines, which seeks detailed list of persons to whom the cash withdrawn is proposed to be paid for marriage and declaration from them that they do not have a bank account, were “arbitrary”.
The counsel said the cap of Rs 2.5 lakh withdrawal for marriages should be relaxed as there were various “customary donations” which one gives during the wedding ceremony.
“Liberty must be given for marriages so that one can pay as per the customs. How can somebody give such an undertaking? As per the guidelines, even the priest who performs marriages has to give undertaking of not having a bank account. The parents of the bride and groom should be allowed to withdraw money from their accounts without such arbitrary conditions,” his counsel said.
When he raised the issue of payment of court fees, the bench asked the ASG “what do you say about the cost or fines imposed by courts? Can’t it be paid in cash in old currency notes?”
In response, the ASG said “old currency notes are accepted for paying court fees” and the government has given various relaxation on issues concerning common people. He said that new currency note of Rs 500 was in circulation and Rs 100 and Rs 500 could also be used for paying the court fees.