Supreme Court asks Centre, RBI to produce documents, records on demonetisation

The top court directed the parties to file written submissions by December 10.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Wednesday, December 07, 2022, 02:12 PM IST
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Supreme Court of India | File

The Supreme Court asked Union government and RBI to produce relevant documents and records on the 2016 demonetisation policy.

Five judge bench headed by Justice S A Nazeer heard the submissions from Attorney General R Venkataramani, RBI's counsel and the petitioners lawyers including senior advocates P Chidambaram and Shyam Divan reserved their verdict in the hearing of over 50 petitions.

"Heard. judgement reserved. Learned counsels of the Union of India and Reserve Bank of India are directed to produce the relevant records," the bench also comprising Justices B R Gavai, A S Bopanna, V Ramasubramanian, and B V Nagarathna, said.

The top court directed the parties to file written submissions by December 10. The AG submitted before the bench that he will submit relevant records in a sealed cover.

The top court was hearing a batch of 58 petitions challenging the demonetisation exercise announced by the Centre on November 8, 2016.

"Heard. Judgement reserved. Learned counsels of the Union of India and Reserve Bank of India are directed to produce the relevant records," the bench, also comprising Justices B R Gavai, A S Bopanna, V Ramasubramanian, and B V Nagarathna, said.

The apex court had on Tuesday said that limited scope of a judicial review in economic policy matters does not mean that the court will fold its hands and sit back, observing that the manner in which a decision is taken by the government can always be examined.

SC calls demotisation 'deeply flawed'

Calling the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes "deeply flawed", Chidambaram had argued that the Union government cannot on its own initiate any proposal relating to legal tender which can only be done on the recommendation of the RBI's central board.

Resisting the apex court's attempt to revisit the 2016 demonetisation exercise, the government had said the court cannot decide a matter when no tangible relief can be granted by way of "putting the clock back" and "unscrambling a scrambled egg."

The RBI had earlier admitted in its submission that there were "temporary hardships" and that they too are an integral part of the nation-building process, but there was a mechanism by which problems that arose were solved.

The Centre recently told the top court in an affidavit that the demonetisation exercise was a "well-considered" decision and part of a larger strategy to combat the menace of fake money, terror financing, black money, and tax evasion.

Defending the exercise, the Centre had told the apex court that the step was taken after extensive consultations with the RBI and that advance preparations were made before the note ban was enforced.

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