Demonetisation: Supreme Court directs Centre to decide on representation of petitioners within 12 weeks
The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to entertain individual petitions arising out of the November, 2016 decision of the Centre on demonetisation, directing the petitioners to approach the authorities by way of a representation under the Union government for relief.
The Apex Court, while ordering the Union of India to decide on the representations within 12 weeks, also permitted the High Courts to hear the petitioners’ grievances related to the 2016 decision, following which the currency notes in the denomination of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 ceased to be legal tender from the midnight of November 8, 2016.
Appearing for one of the petitioners, Advocate Prashant Bhushan contended that he was not asking for a judicial mandate, but that the Apex Court may consider the applications under Section 4.
Representing a widow, who sought to exchange her deceased husband’s savings, which she discovered only after the expiry of the window for exchanging old notes, Bhushan contended that people should not be made to suffer.
The Apex Court, while accepting that genuine hardships may have been caused, observed that
in such things, some people were bound to suffer. It said that this could not be a ground for this court to interfere, adding that these requests were for the government to examine.
After the judgment of the Constitution Bench, it was not permissible for this court to exercise jurisdiction under Article 142 to issue directions in individual cases permitting the demonetised currency in possession of the petitioners to be exchanged with valid currency, noted the court.
The top court of the country further pointed out that it has given precedents in its majority verdict on the matter and relegated the matter to the concerned High Courts to be decided in accordance with law.
Senior Advocate Nalin Kohli, also appearing for one of the petitioners, contended that going to the High Courts would mean it might go up as an appeal. There were cases where grievance was not with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) or the Central government, but with individual banks. Those cases need to be taken up, he added.
The Apex Court delinked the petition regarding grievance with a private bank, in which Kohli was appearing.
(Case title: Vivek Narayan Sharma vs Union of India)