The Delhi High Court on May 23 reserved the order on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and State Bank of India (SBI) notifications, which permits the exchange of Rs 2,000 banknotes without obtaining any requisition slip and identity proof.
The plea called the decision arbitrary and irrational and offends Article 14 of the Constitution of India, hence, inoperative.
The bench of Justices Satish Chander Sharma and Subramonium Prasad on May 23 said the Court would pass the appropriate order while keeping the order reserved.
Appearing for RBI, senior advocate Parag Tripathi opposed the plea and said it is a statutory exercise and not a demonetisation.
The plea had been moved by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, further seeking direction to the RBI and SBI to ensure that Rs 2,000 banknotes are deposited in respective bank accounts only so that no one could deposit the money in others’ bank accounts and people having black money and disproportionate assets could be identified easily.
During arguments before the Court, petitioner advocate Ashwini Upadhyay clarified that he had not challenged the notification as a whole only as far as it allows the exchange of currency without any proof of identity.
The plea also prayed for a direction to the Centre to take appropriate steps against the black money and disproportionate asset holders in order to weed out corruption, benami transaction, and secure the fundamental rights of citizens.
The plea further stated that according to the RBI total value of Rs 2,000 banknotes in circulation has declined from Rs 6.73 lakh crore to 3.62 lakh crore, of which 3.11 lakh crore has been reached either in individual’s locker otherwise has been hoarded by the separatists, terrorists, Maoists, drug smugglers, mining mafias and corrupt people.
Presently, the total population of India is 142 crore, the total number of families is 30 crore and 130 crore Indians have AADHAAR Card. It means every family has 3-4 AADHAAR cards. Similarly, the total number of accounts is 225 crore and out of that 48 crore are Jana Dhan accounts of BPL families. It means every family has a bank account, the plea stated.
Recently, it was announced by the Centre that every family has AADHAAR Card and Bank Account.
“Therefore, why is RBI permitted to exchange Rs 2,000 banknotes without obtaining identity proof? It is also necessary to state that 80 Crore BPL families receive free grains. It means 80 crore Indians rarely use Rs 2,000 banknotes. Therefore, the petitioner also seeks direction from RBI and SBI to take steps to ensure that Rs 2000 banknotes are deposited in a bank account only, the plea stated.
(with inputs from ANI)