Supreme Court To review demonetization move, asks centre, RBI to submit affidavit

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By Suraj Bediya

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court (SC) decided to revisit the Center’s 2016 decision to implement demonetization. The Modi government’s decision-making process has been called into question in a multitude of petitions, prompting the Apex Court to decide to investigate the situation right away.

Now, the case is anticipated to be heard in November by a five-judge Constitution bench presided over by Justice SA Nazeer. The bench even requested the Centre and Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to submit thorough affidavits on the subject in order to speed up the hearing.

The bench noted that it was aware of the “Lakshman Rekha” on judicial review of government policy decisions while indicating its willingness to consider the petitions contesting the demonetization of the Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes. However, it went on to say that it was crucial to study the demonetization decision in order to determine whether the matter had merely become an “academic exercise.” Furthermore, the bench argues, it was its responsibility to respond to questions brought before a constitution bench.

Attorney General R. Venkataramani stated the government’s position on the lawsuit, claiming that unless the High Denomination Bank Notes (Demonetisation) Act, 1978 is properly challenged, the matter is likely to remain mostly “academic.” The SC bench further stated that it had to conduct an investigation before deciding if the issue was scholarly or frivolous.

“The PM stated it on air at 8 o’clock. Within a day, all of this was decided. Can such a big decision be made so quickly? Since the matter is continuing, the government should at the very least present all pertinent documents to this court since the letter that was sent on November 7 is not even on record ”

Chidambaram further said “Demonetization affected notes worth Rs. 15 lakh and 44 thousand crores. There was a line of 11 crore people waiting every day. It was prohibited for district cooperative banks to swap notes. Farmers lacked the money to buy seeds or fertiliser. No wages were given. The economy had collapsed. The hurry with which decisions were made may be seen in the fact that the ATM machines lacked the requisite technology to dispense the Rs 2,000 currency notes.”

In 2016, the Modi administration made the 500 and 1000 rupee notes illegal in a matter of hours. Although the main goal of the decision was to eradicate black money from the market, it has attracted a lot of criticism throughout the years, particularly from an economic standpoint.

The court stated that it will first examine the major legal issue before addressing any of the smaller ones.