SC to hear petitions challenging demonetisation on 2 December

Supreme Court said it will hear the pleas together with a petition by the centre that all cases across high courts against demonetisation be transferred to one forum

A file photo of Supreme Court. Photo: Mint
A file photo of Supreme Court. Photo: Mint

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday said it would hear next week a bunch of petitions challenging the demonetisation of high-value currency notes.

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur said it will hear the pleas together with a plea by the centre that all cases across high courts against the scrapping of Rs1,000 and Rs500 notes be transferred to one forum. The matter will be heard next on 2 December.

Attorney general Mukul Rohatgi said parties to all the petitions brought before high courts challenging the 8 November move should make their case in the apex court at the next hearing.

This was opposed by Kapil Sibal, the counsel appearing for the petitioners who have approached the Supreme Court challenging the demonetisation. A consolidated hearing would be impossible since different aspects of demonetisation were being challenged in different cases, he said.

He also sought an earlier hearing and told the court that he was prepared with all the specific data from authorities like the Reserve Bank of India which would aid the court.

“It is not a good idea to have all parties together. The court should first decide the question of constitutional validity of the scheme as the ancillary issues would also depend on that.” Sibal added.

Rohatgi had earlier told the court that the situation following the 8 November demonetisation move, which led to a cash crunch and long queues forming outside banks and ATM kiosks was improving.

An affidavit submitted by the Centre on 24 November said that the RBI and the finance ministry were constantly monitoring the distribution of all denominations of bank notes to ease the inconvenience being experienced the by public.

The court has made it clear that while it will not interfere with the government’s economic policy, inconvenience caused to the people will be monitored by the court. At least four public interest litigation cases have been filed before the apex court.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a televised address to the nation on 8 November, said Rs500 and Rs1,000 banknotes will cease to be legal tender as part of a crackdown on black money, and counterfeit currency notes that go towards funding terrorist groups.

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