New Delhi : The Supreme Court asked the Centre and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Tuesday to come up with a policy to offer a window to people who could not deposit their demonetised notes for legitimate reasons before last year’s December 30 deadline.
“What if someone is ill and could not deposit the money. If someone has a genuine reason, you cannot deny him the opportunity to deposit the money. You cannot be allowed to deprive a person of his money,” a bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar told solicitor general Ranjit Kumar.
“Don’t force us to pass a threeline order and quash your notification,” it warned.
The court is hearing petitions challenging the notification that disallowed people to deposit the scrapped money after December. The solicitor general took two weeks to file the government’s response. “You cannot take away someone’s property. If it’s my money and I can establish that, then you cannot deprive me of my property,” Khehar said.
PM Narendra Modi in his demonetization speech said – people facing genuine difficulty in exchanging old notes would get a chance to deposit them till March 31.
Several cases of people finding stashed banned notes have surfaced since the RBI deadline ended. “We are hearing only genuine cases where we are satisfied that the deposit could have been made but cannot be done because there is no window,” the Chief Justice said.
“There can be a situation where a person has lost his or her money for no fault. Suppose a person was in jail during the period … We want to know as to why you chose to bar such persons?”
The Centre informed the court in the previous hearing that it took a “conscious decision” not to extend the period. But the bench said Modi’s speech gave hope to those who missed the deadline.
RBI officials put the responsibility on the government to take a call on offering another window for depositing defunct notes.
Government sources said the court ruling will be studied before taking a decision.
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