The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) told the Delhi High Court on Tuesday that the withdrawal of ₹2,000 notes is not demonetization but a statutory exercise, and the decision to allow their exchange was taken for reasons of operational convenience.
The court was hearing a plea from Barrister Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay that the notifications from the RBI and SBI allowing the exchange of ₹2,000 notes without proof were arbitrary and contrary to laws enacted to combat corruption.
A bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad said they would make a proper order on the public interest litigation by counsel.
“We will look into it. We will pass an appropriate order,” the court said.
Mr Upadhyay clarified that he did not challenge the decision to withdraw the ₹2,000 note, but attacked the exchange of the currency without any slip or identification. He claimed that the exchange of a ₹2,000 note should be allowed by deposit to a bank account.
“Why is identity proof excluded? Every poor person has a Jan Dhan account. BPL people are also connected to bank accounts,” Mr. Upadhyay said while asserting that the current arrangement would only allow mafias and gangsters like “the henchmen of Atiq Ahmed” as well as the Naxals.
Senior Solicitor Parag P. Tripathi, for the RBI, stressed that the court cannot interfere in such matters and the decision was taken to allow the exchange of the ₹2,000 note for operational convenience .
“It is not demonetization. The ₹2,000 note was not commonly used. Other denominations continue to meet currency requirements,” he said.
“This is a statutory exercise. None of the points claimed by the petitioner affect or deal with constitutional issues,” Mr Tripathi added.
“Arguments heard. Judgment reserved,” the court said after hearing the parties.
The petitioner argued in his plea that the notices from the RBI and SBI allowing the exchange of ₹2,000 notes without a requisition slip or proof of identity were arbitrary, irrational and in breach of Articles 14 of the Constitution of the India.
The petition says much of the currency either reached an individual’s locker or was “hoarded by separatists, terrorists, Maoists, drug traffickers, mining mafias and corrupt people”.
The petition pointed out that cash transactions in high-value currencies are the main source of corruption and are used for illegal activities like terrorism, Naxalism, separatism, radicalism, gambling, smuggling, money laundering. money, kidnapping, extortion, bribery and dowry, etc. and the RBI and SBI should ensure that ₹2,000 notes are deposited only in the respective bank accounts.
“Recently the Center announced that every family should have an Aadhaar card and bank account. Hence why RBI allows to redeem ₹2000 notes without getting ID proof. It is also necessary to state that 80 million BPL families are getting free grain.This means that 80 crore Indians rarely use ₹2000 notes.Therefore, the petitioner also calls on RBI and SBI to take action to ensure that the ₹2000 notes Rs 2,000 is deposited in a bank account only,” the plea said.
Depositing ₹2,000 notes in bank accounts would easily identify people with black money and disproportionate assets, the plea says.
On May 19, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had announced the withdrawal of ₹2,000 banknotes from circulation, and said that existing banknotes in circulation can either be deposited in bank accounts or exchanged by May 30. september.
Banknotes with a face value of ₹2,000 will continue to be legal tender, the RBI said in a statement.
In order to ensure operational convenience and avoid disruption to the regular business of bank branches, the RBI has stated that the exchange of ₹2,000 banknotes for banknotes of other denominations can be carried out up to at a limit of ₹20,000 at a time in any bank starting from May 23.
In a communication to the Chief Managing Director of all its local head offices, State Bank of India (SBI) informed that the ability to redeem ₹2,000 notes by the public up to a limit of ₹20,000 at the time will be authorized without obtaining any requisition. slide.
“Furthermore, no identification is required from the bidder at the time of exchange,” the communication dated May 20 reads.