Supreme Court refuses any direction on plea to exchange demonetised notes

SC had asked the government to consider creating a window for people with legitimate reasons to deposit scrapped notes.

The Central government told the division bench of the apex court that it would file an affidavit in the case.

"Demonetisation: The government issued new notes to replace the old ones".

Doing as such would have invalidated the very point of demonetization, the government said.

"The people in possession of the Specified Bank Notes (SBNs) would have had sufficient time and chance to carefully plan the reasons and reasons for not depositing them inside the allowed period, ie, before December 30, 2016", the Center told the court.

"Any number of benami transactions and user proxies for the goal of producing and depositing SBNs would then arise the departments would have great difficulty in deciding any genuine case from the numerous bogus ones, " said the document, which includes a detailed list of the various "malpractices" that came to light post-demonetisation. Consider giving a window to a genuine problem. If you do not agree to open a window, then we will say it is open for such persons who can prove genuineness of their money and difficulty to deposit within December 30 deadline to seek relief from the government. ET was first to report on July 6 that the government will not provide another window for exchange of demonetised currency.

Contrasted with the 1978 demonetization exercise, where subjects were given just six days to deposit their old notes, the 2016 one gave the general population "decently a long stretch" to deposit their old notes.

Following the announcement of demonetising currency notes worth Rs. 500 and 1,000 in November previous year, the Government had instructed people to deposit their old currency notes with the RBI till December 30, 2016.

The Ministry of Finance said in its affidavit that none of the petitioners have given any valid ground as to why they could not deposit the scrapped notes through his or her authorised third person.

Various malpractices were reported post demonetisation, including use of banned notes of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 for buying gold.

Besides, undisclosed income of over Rs5,400 crore was detected in the raids.

"Searches" by the I-T department, between 1 April 2014 and 28 February 2017 had "led to admission of undisclosed income of more than Rs36,051 crore in addition to seizure of undisclosed assets worth Rs2,890 crore".

Vanessa Coleman

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