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SC notice to Centre, RBI over plea on depositing old notes

SC notice to Centre, RBI over plea on depositing old notes

Earlier, on March 6, the top court had also questioned why a separate category was not created for those who couldn't deposit demonetised notes by December 30, 2016.

During the hearing on Tuesday, Attorney General of India Mukul Rohatgi said the ordinance issued on December 30, 2016 extending the deadline for deposit of scrapped notes by those who were overseas between November 9 and December 30, is the final word in the matter, superseding the Prime Minister's speech and the notification.

The apex court was responding to a batch of petitioners who said they were unable to deposit demonetised currency notes within the designated time for "genuine" reasons and now face the risk of prosecution.

Though the government can allow the benefit to other categories it hasn't. The bench led by the CJI prima facie seemed to agree with this view.

The government will decide within two weeks whether those who failed to deposit banned 500- and 1,000-rupee notes can be granted an opportunity to turn in the high-denomination currency. A bench, headed by Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, sought a detailed response from both the parties and fixed the matter for further hearing on April 11.The apex court also asked petitioner Sarda Mishra and others whether they were in India or outside.

The Supreme Court on March 10 sought replies from the Centre and the RBI on the plea against tweaking of rules on exchange of demonetised currency.

One such report in The Indian Express, said many, including a soldier who was posted at the Siachen during the entire period of demonetisation, were waiting in front of the central bank in Delhi to make deposits of the old notes.

The SC observed that the PM in his speech had promised on November 8, 2016, that those with genuine difficulty would get a chance to deposit demonetised currency until March 31.

The Ordinance said that only those who were overseas, the armed forces personnel posted in remote areas or others who can give valid reasons for not being able to deposit the cancelled notes at banks can deposit the demonetised currency notes till March 31 at RBI counters.

The Centre had come out with the Ordinance making possession of a large number of scrapped notes a penal offence that will attract monetary fine. It is based on a cluster of Public Interest Litigations or PILs that challenge the RBI for not accepting any deposits of old notes after December.

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