THE SUPREME Court, which is seized of petitions challenging the demonetisation exercise by the central government in 2016, on Wednesday wondered if anything survived in the issue after all these years and said it will first examine whether the matter has become merely academic.
“The first question we examine is whether the issue has become academic and if it can be heard at all,” Justice S Abdul Nazeer heading a five-judge Constitution bench hearing petitions challenging the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes said while fixing it for hearing on October 12.
The bench also comprising justices B R Gavai, A S Bopanna, V Ramasubramanian and B V Nagarathna, which took up a clutch of petitions on the issue, asked at the very outset: “Does this survive any more?”
A counsel appearing for some of the petitioners said the validity of the government decision and individual claims relating to hardships need to be examined.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, said that “for all practical purposes, the issues do not survive” and added that he was willing to assist if the bench wants to consider it for academic purposes.
Jutice Gavai asked if “five judges should spend time on academic issues when there is large pendency? Is there time for deciding academic issues?”
Mehta agreed that there are other matters involving rights of citizens following which the court said it will first examine if it has become academic before proceeding further.