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Petitioners seek a new window for changing notes; case to be posted after vacation

A demonetization U-turn by the government on exchanging invalid currency is being heard by the Supreme Court. On April 11, the bench of Chief Justice JS Khehar and Justices DY Chandrachud and Sanjay Kishan Kaul heard advocate Kamini Jaiswal for the petitioners who said the Union government has not responded to the individual facts and “can we take it that our facts have been accepted?”

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said: “I had stated we will only file a general affidavit. We cannot deal with individual facts. The question was if a window should be open or not.

The Chief Justice CJI agreed.

This is the critical point that has been discussed in the last hearing of the case, with a number of petitioners—but now known as Sudha Mishra vs Union of India and Others. The petitions are challenging the Union government’s notification for taking the U-turn on the deposit of demonetised currency after specified date of December 30, 2016. This was clearly promised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his address to the nation in the evening of November 8, 2016, when he announced the demonetization of currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denominations.

The government—as well as the RBI—went back on the PM’s promise and created hurdles that left many with demonetized money still in their hands, which have now become illegal and has no value. The petitioners want a new window for such change of currency notes.

The petitioner had sought direction to allow her to deposit the (demonetized) currency. The apex court had directed the Union of India to consider. The Union government has taken time to file the affidavit.

The petitioner in his first petition submitted that he had not received the copy of the affidavit filed by the Union government. The Chief Justice said: “You should have asked AG, he is a very generous man. He would have given you. Only with us he is not generous.”

The AG handed over a copy. The counsel read it and said he needed time to respond. The bench said it will post it next Tuesday, but the AG said “let it be in July.”

The bench said: “Since parties are not ready, and this side of the vacation is too tight we will list after vacation.”

This case is to be posted after the vacation.

—By India Legal Bureau

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