NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court came down heavily on the Centre on Friday, questioning its rationale and why previous court orders on withdrawal limits had not been followed. It has also framed nine questions to assess whether the move is unconstitutional.
Posing several questions, a Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur asked the Centre if its decision was indeed taken in complete secrecy.
“When you made the policy on demonetisation, was it confidential?” the Supreme Court bench asked the Centre. The apex court was hearing several public petitions challenging the move to ban Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, which has thrown the country into a cash chaos.
Chief Justice TS Thakur also asked why the Centre’s had not complied with the withdrawal limit per person of Rs 24,000 a day. It has also sought a response from the government why district cooperative banks can’t be allowed to accept deposits in old notes and why banks can’t allow a weekly minimum assured withdrawal for people. The government has to provide a response on this by Wednesday.
Senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan, who was representing a petitioner, asked why the government hadn’t prepared well for the move.
“There was no cash in ATMs, recalibration was not done well and cooperative banks were being discriminated against,” Bhushan said.
In its response, the government strongly defended its move and told the Supreme Court that it wasn’t “sitting around doing nothing” and promised that all the hardships from the move will be over in the next “10-15 days”.
Attorney general Mukul Rohatgi, said the government had taken “all the necessary steps to ease the inconvenience of the public.”
The government also noted that there had been any social unrest and alleged that the petitions challenging the move had “political overtones”
The Centre also reportedly shot back at Supreme Court, saying a judicial review of government fiscal policy isn’t “impermissible”.
“Ultimately the scope of judicial review must be decided,” Rohatgi said.
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