The Centre on Monday told the Supreme Court that allowing people more time to deposit their demonetisation notes will defeat the point of its battle against black money, reported news agency PTI. It added that opening another window for exchanging Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes will result in “any number of benami transactions and make it difficult to identify genuine cases from the bogus ones”. Earlier this month, the apex court had asked the Centre to consider giving people, with genuine reasons, one last opportunity to deposit banned notes.
“The very object of demonetisation and elimination of black money will be defeated if a window is opened for a further period as the persons in possession of the specified bank notes will have had sufficient time and opportunity to carefully plan the reasons and excuses for not depositing the SBNs within the permitted period — before December 30, 2016,” the Ministry of Finance said in an affidavit.
The Centre was responding to Chief Justice of India JS Khehar, who had observed on July 5, “If there is a genuine person, he should have the opportunity if he has failed to deposit for a valid reason. You can’t take his money away, it is his money.” The top court is hearing several appeals from citizens, including one woman who said she could not give in her notes as she was delivering a baby.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced demonetisation of two currencies in November last year, and set a deadline of December 31 for people to deposit or exchange outlawed notes. The drive had resulted in the withdrawal of 86 per cent of India physical currency. The Centre later introduced a new Rs 500 note along with a Rs 2000 note. The aim of the drive was to eliminate black money.
Over six months after demonetised notes were collected by the Reserve Bank, its Governor Urjit Patel informed the Standing Committee on Finance that the “exact amount” of scrapped notes received could not be determined as they were still being counted. He had added that tenders for fresh Currency Verification Processing System (CVPS) machines had been issued to speed up the counting.