Stating that India was not ready for a cashless economy yet, Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday wrote to the Chief Justices of India and Punjab and Haryana High Court demanding a “review” of demonetisation scheme while terming its implementation a “total fiasco”. Amarinder has urged the justices to treat his letter as a public interest petition.
The former CM, in his letter, has mentioned the “violence triggered by demonetisation, coupled with deaths, suicides and other tragic losses, in various parts of the country”. He has said the demonetisation was not achieving its objective of curbing black money as huge sums of money in new currency were being recovered.
“People have no access to even banks, leave alone credit and debit cards. In Punjab alone, as many as 7,000 villages have no local bank branch,” he has said in the letter.
Stating that the new currency notes were reduced to “publicity leaflets” for the BJP-led central government’s “Swachch Bharat” scheme in violation of all political, electoral and economic norms, Amarinder called it a serious abuse of official powers and against all norms of electoral propriety.
“The demonetisation order lacked legal backing and is subject to judicial scrutiny since it was a mere notification. It is a violation of the people’s right to use their property (bank account being property) under Article 31 of the Constitution of India. It was violative of the fundamental rights under Articles 19 and 21 as it deprived people of their right to business, profession, travel and access to health care,” the letter says. In the context of Punjab, Captain Amarinder said the agriculture sector, which was largely dependent on cash transactions, had been hit hard, along with the informal sector.
The letter further says that “no law passed by this country can be so done unilaterally by a majority government in power, much less by a few persons in government”.
Questioning the secrecy behind the whole affair, and the assessment preceding the move, Amarinder has said, “It was not a question of a little inconvenience as the Modi government was trying to project. People have died, committed suicide, lives destroyed, medical attention refused, marriages broken and hopes dashed. The situation had now escalated to a travesty of justice and begging intercession and remedy by your Court.”