NEW DELHI: Dubbing demonetisation a "complete failure" and its implementation a "total fiasco", Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh today sought its rollback and intervention of Chief Justice of India and the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
Amarinder in a letter to the Chief Justices, urged them to treat his communication as a "public interest petition" and demanded intervention in what he termed as "a clear violation of the people's fundamental rights".
Expressing concern over the deaths, suicides and other tragic losses in various parts of the country following demonetisation, he called upon the government to look at "some alternate solution" to its decision.
"In any case, it was not achieving its objective of curbing black money," he said pointing out that huge sums of money in new currency were being recovered from individuals while the common people were unable to get even the bare minimum needed for their survival.
Amarinder said that concerned over the shocking deaths and tragic losses being suffered by people, he requested Chief Justices of India and the Punjab and Haryana High Court to treat his letter as a public interest petition and issue suitable directives to the government to prevent further aggravation of the tensions triggered by the "ill-conceived" demonetisation move.
In his letter, he said demonetisation order "lacked legal backing" and was subject to judicial scrutiny since it was a mere notification.
He also termed it a "violation of the people's right" to use their property (bank account being property) under Article 31 of the Constitution of India. "It was violative of the fundamental rights under Articles 19 and 21 as it deprived people of their right to business, profession, travel and access to health care," he said in his petition.
In Punjab's context, Amarinder said the agriculture sector, which was largely dependent on cash transactions, had been hit hard, along with the informal sector.
"No law passed by this country can be so done unilaterally by a majority government in power, much less by a few persons in government," he said in his letter, adding that laws relating to national security, money laundering, terrorism, corruption, are routinely dealt with in such manner.
He pointed out that the measure was ostensibly taken in national security, to reduce corruption and as a counter measure to fake currency, "but by pushing it in this manner, the government had indulged in a serious contradiction with the spirit of the parent legislation".
Amarinder also demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi comes to Parliament and answers the opposition questions on the demonetisation issue, which he said would be a major election plank in Punjab.
Pointing out that he had warned of law and order problems, he said a series of incidents of violence outside banks had been reported in various states, including UP, Manipur and some other states over the past two weeks.
"An intelligence report had, on November 30, warned of an outbreak of violence due to the cash crunch," he claimed.
The Punjab Congress chief said the Indian society was not ready for cashless transactions, with people not having access to even banks, leave alone credit and debit cards. He pointed out that in Punjab alone, as many as 7,000 villages have no local bank branch.
He also lashed out at Modi government for reducing the new currency notes to publicity leaflets for his government's 'Swachch Bharat' scheme in "violation" of all political, electoral and economic norms.
Terming the use of 'Swachh Bharat' logo on currency notes as "serious abuse" of official powers and against all norms of electoral propriety, Amarinder said he would raise the issue with the Election Commission.
"The official currency of any nation is sacrosanct and needs to be respected and honoured under all circumstances, but the Prime Minister had chosen to misuse the Indian rupee to promote a government campaign in complete violation of the spirit of the Republic of India," he said.