Whether pleas challenging demonetisation require consideration? SC to decide on October 12

The top court on Wednesday said that it will first examine whether the petitions challenging demonetisation have become merely academic and posted the matter to October 12.
Supreme Court
Supreme Court

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court five-judge bench on Wednesday said that it will decide on October 12 as to whether the pleas challenging Centre’s 2016 decision to demonetise notes of Rs 500 & Rs 1000 has become “academic” and requires any consideration at all.

At the outset a bench also comprising Justices BR Gavai, AS Bopanna, V Ramasubramanian and BV Nagarathna asked whether the issue survives at this stage or not.

Advocate Pranav Sachdeva submitted that although PM & RBI had promised that those who weren’t able to deposit their notes by Dec 31, 201, would be given opportunity till March 31, 2017 for good reasons but on December 30, 2016 brought an ordinance which said that the notes will not be accepted. Against this backdrop, Sachdeva argued that the citizens had no remedy to approach HC for redressing their grievances as SC by 2016 order had stayed the proceedings in the pleas challenging the policy, pending before HC’s.

“So the only question is whether anything survives?” asked Justice Gavai. “There are two aspects of the matter, one is questioning the validity of the matter. Second is with regards to the implementation of the same and the problems arising where you expressed that there were problems,” added Justice BV Nagarathna.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted that the issue didn’t survive for all practical purposes and only academic issues remained.

“5 judges will spend their time deciding academic issues? We’re already burdened with so much pendency. How can the constitution bench deal with individual grievances?” Justice Gavai remarked.

Posting the pleas for October 12, Justice Nazeer said, “Please come on 12th, we’re going to examine as to whether it has been academic in nature and whether it requires consideration at all? This is the first question. We will hear from you on that day, 12th we’ll fix it.”

The plea also challenged the validity of the notification dated November 8, 2016 issued under the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 on the ground that it was violative of Articles 14, 19, 21 and 300A of the Constitution of India. On December 16, 2016 a three-judge bench of the SC had although refused to grant interim relief against the decision of demonetisation but had framed questions to be determined by a larger bench. The court had also stayed the proceedings in the pleas challenging the policy, pending before HCs and had issued notice on the transfer petitions moved by the Centre.

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