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SC Asks the Centre to Place Before it “Relevant Documents” related to 2016 Demonetisation

SC Asks the Centre to Place Before it “Relevant Documents” related to 2016 Demonetisation

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NEW DELHI, Dec 7:  The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the Centre and the Reserve Bank of India to place on record all the “relevant records” relating to the government’s decision in November, 2016, to demonetise high value currency notes of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 for its perusal. The Attorney-General said the documents will be handed over in a sealed cover.

Reserving its verdict on a batch of pleas challenging the Centre’s decision, a five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Justice S.A. Nazeer heard the submissions from Attorney-General R. Venkataramani, RBI’s counsel, and the petitioners’ lawyers, including senior advocates P. Chidambaram and Shyam Divan.

Even as the centre’s through the attorney-general had pleaded with the court to keep off from reviewing the government’s economic policy decision, the court said it could not be expected to fold its hands and sit without judicially reviewing the procedure or manner in which the decision to demonetise ₹500 and ₹1,000 currency notes were withdrawn from legal tender. The apex court asked the government if would have brushed aside the RBI’s views if it had opposed the demonetisation move.

The government had announced demonetisation, not through a parliamentary statute, but by issuing a notification in the gazette. The petitioners had argued that such an important move should not have been made by way of a “delegated legislation” like a gazette notification. The petitioners had also argued that the RBI had been in the dark about the demonetisation move.

(Manas Dasgupta)

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