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Supreme Court issued notice to RBI on 30th August and tagged the petition of a Madurai Businessman with a batch of petitions seeking a direction to the central bank to accept demonetized notes of Rs. 1000 and Rs. 500.

A Bench of Justices N.V. Ramana, Indira Banerjee and Ajay Rastogi in K. Raman v Reserve Bank of India & ors also granted petitioner liberty to serve the Standing Counsel for Union of India in this matter.

K. Raman, in his petition, has declared that he is a textile businessman and an amount of Rs. 1,17,00,872 was not accepted by Tamil Nadu Mercantile Bank or any other bank even on the last day of the demonetization drive, i.e., 30th December 2016; this money, that was in rotation as part of his investment of Rs. 5 crores, was not his money or profits, but belonged to other establishments with which he had business associations. As the notes could no longer be circulated, he suffered huge losses, he lost his business and reputation and was being prosecuted under Negotiable Instruments Act for cheque dishonour due to insufficiency of funds in his account.

He has stated in his petition that his representation to the RBI dated 2nd July 2019 has also failed as RBI replied that the amount cannot be remitted in any bank.

There have been a number of individual petitions since demonetization and the apex court, “keeping in view the general public importance and the far reaching implications which the answers to the questions may have,” has referred the entire batch of petitions to a Constitutional Bench. The 9 questions formulated by the court in Vivek Narayan Sharma v. Union of India W.P(C) no. 206 of 2016 are:

“(i) Whether the notification dated 8th November 2016 is ultra vires Section 26(2) and Sections 7,17,23,24,29 and 42 of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934;

(ii) Does the notification contravene the provisions of Article 300(A) of the Constitution;

(iii) Assuming that the notification has been validly issued under the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 whether it is ultra vires Articles 14 and 19 of the Constitution;

(iv) Whether the limit on withdrawal of cash from the funds deposited in bank accounts has no basis in law and violates Articles 14, 19 and 21;

(v) Whether the implementation of the impugned notification(s) suffers from procedural and/or substantive unreasonableness and thereby violates Articles 14 and 19 and, if so, to what effect?

(vi) In the event that Section 26(2) is held to permit demonetization, does it suffer from excessive delegation of legislative power thereby rendering it ultra vires the Constitution;

(vii) What is the scope of judicial review in matters relating to fiscal and economic policy of the Government;

(viii) Whether a petition by a political party on the issues raised is maintainable under Article 32; and

(ix) Whether District Co-operative Banks have been discriminated against by excluding them from accepting deposits and exchanging demonetized notes.”

At the hearing dated 25th February 2019, Vivek Narayan’s petition was slated to be heard in judges’ chambers after four weeks. No further date is listed for hearing as per official website of the Supreme Court.

— India Legal Bureau

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