NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Centre to consider giving grace time to those who couldn’t deposit demonetised notes in banks for “genuine reasons” post November 8. The Centre had earlier maintained that the restrictions were intended to prevent black money holders from depositing their cash, and opening a new window could jeopardise this process.
“You (Government) can’t be allowed to deprive a person of his money if he couldn’t deposit it due to genuine problems. Give a window to a genuine problem. What if someone is terminally ill and couldn’t deposit the money,” said a bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and D Y Chandrachud.
“If he is able to prove that it is his legitimate money then how can you deprive him of his money? You cannot take his money away,” the bench observed.
When Solicitor-General Ranjit Kumar, who appeared for the Centre, tried to justify the government’s stand saying the window was closed to avoid malpractices, the bench warned him saying, “don’t force us to pass a three line order and quash your December 30 notification.” The Solicitor-General also informed the court that government is ready to examine such cases on individual basis but court should not open the window for public at large. The apex court has given the government and the central bank two weeks time to reply as to what options can be explored.
The court was hearing a batch of petitions challenging the March 31 deadline to deposit demonetised notes with the central bank. Petitioners included women, one of whom said she had just delivered a baby and another who said she was dealing with a death in her family and hence unable to get the notes exchanged.