Attorney general K.K Venugopal assured the court that no criminal action would be taken against the petitioners for possession of demonetised currency. Photo: Mint
Attorney general K.K Venugopal assured the court that no criminal action would be taken against the petitioners for possession of demonetised currency. Photo: Mint

SC refers individual cases against demonetisation to constitution bench

Supreme Court refers all individual cases against demonetisation to constitution bench that is to be set up for reviewing the validity, other aspects of last year's invalidation Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday said all individual cases against demonetisation would be heard by a constitution bench that is to be set up for reviewing the validity and other aspects of last year’s invalidation of high-value banknotes.

Attorney general K.K Venugopal assured the court that no criminal action would be taken against the petitioners for possession of demonetised currency.

The apex court had in December announced that a constitution bench would be set up to review the constitutionality of the demonetisation scheme, procedural irregularities in its implementation and violation of citizens’ rights by a cap placed on cash withdrawals. Hearings on the matter have not commenced.

The court was responding to a batch of petitions against demonetisation. One was filed by Sudha Mishra seeking a direction to authorities to allow her to deposit demonetised notes as she could not do so during the period specified by the Centre and the Reserve Bank of India.

In July, the court had asked the government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to consider granting a window to those who have not been able to exchange invalidated Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes for genuine reasons, saying people should not lose their money for no fault of theirs

The Centre had denied the grace period for depositing the scrapped notes, saying the very objective of demonetisation — elimination of black money— would stand defeated if a fresh window is given.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on 8 November last year announced that Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes would no longer be legal tender from the next day.

The government had assured the people that demonetised currency notes could be exchanged or deposited at banks, post offices and Reserve Bank of India branches till 30 December, 2016.

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