A plea was filed in the Supreme Court on Tuesday, challenging the RBI’s latest decision to restrict deposits exceeding R5,000 using demonetised R500 and R1,000 currency notes. The circular came 11 days before the window to deposit the withdrawn banknotes is to close on December 30.
According to the application filed by advocate Sangam Lal Pandey, it is ‘very unfortunate’ that once the apex court has directed the government to ease the hardships caused to the general public, the government has chosen to fix a limit for depositing the withdrawn notes.
“No law in the country can fix a limit on the bank account holder to deposit the money in their accounts, thus the RBI’s Monday circular is illegal, improper and against the Constitutional provisions,” he said, seeking a direction to the government to withdraw the circular and allow the public to deposit the demonetised currency notes without any restrictions.
According to the latest RBI data, R12.44 lakh crore worth of old notes has been deposited back into the banking system as of December 10. The total value of the old R500 and R1,000 currency notes in circulation as on November 8 was R15.44 lakh crore.
Observing that the government was “responsive and sensitive enough” to do whatever is possible to ease “hardships and sufferings” caused to the general public, the Supreme Court last week had refused to interfere with the government’s demonetisation move, including decisions related to amending the mandated R24,000 withdrawal limit or extending the exemptions granted to the use of demonetised notes at public utilities, government hospital and railway ticket counters.
“In our opinion, whether the exemption period should be extended or not must be best left to the judgment of the government of the day with a hope that the government will be responsive and sensitive to the problems encountered by the common man. Accordingly, we decline to issue any interim direction to the government in the matter of extending the period of exemption and leave it open to the government to take appropriate decision in that behalf, “ the SC said.
While examining the plea for issuing directions to ease the inconvenience of the people on the contentions that banks were not allowing withdrawal of R24,000 a week, the court said no direction was required to be given to the government, but asked it to honour the commitment to allow the withdrawal of R24,000 per week to the possible extent and review it periodically.
“We may commend to the authorities to fulfil their commitment made in terms of the stated notification permitting withdrawal of R24,000 per account holder of the bank per week to the extent possible and review that decision periodically and take necessary corrective measures in that behalf,” the CJI had said.