People with genuine reasons should be allowed to deposit old notes: SC

People with valid reasons should be allowed to exchange old Rs 500 Rs 1000 notes says SC

Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered centre and the Reserve Bank of India to reopen the window for those who could not deposit their demonetized Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes for a compelling reason.

The demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes in November 2016 had caused a cash crunch in the country as the bills had made up almost 86% of the currency in circulation then.

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

"We want to know as to why you chose to bar such persons", it asked.

The Solicitor General sought time to seek instructions for granting an opportunity to persons to deposit their money on a case-by-case basis. "We believe that those who failed to deposit the money due to genuine and valid reasons should be given a window".

The Supreme Court has demanded a response from the government within two weeks.




Solicitor general Ranjit Kumar was representing the Centre and had to face the wrath of a visibly upset apex court, which reprimanded the government's "conscious decision" to not extend the period beyond December 30.

For those who were overseas during this period and non-residents, the government had extended the time for depositing old currency.

It must be remembered that the SC had asked the Centre in March this year why the deadline to deposit old notes hadn't been extended beyond December 31.

For one, the government stands on a strong legal ground here, after the passage of the Specified Bank Notes Bill in February, which ended the liability of these currency denominations between the RBI and the government.

It said that the plea of those who had genuine difficulties in exchanging old currency must be considered.

A Bench of Chief Justice JS Khehar and Justice DY Chandrachud made some strong remarks in a batch of petitions challenging the scrapping of the March 31 deadline to deposit demonetised notes with RBI.

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