One last opportunity to deposit the 500- and 1,000-rupee notes that were banned in November will defeat the whole point of demonetisation as well as the battle against black money, the government told the Supreme Court today.
The government asserted that granting any further grace period for depositing banned currency notes will defeat the goal of demonetisation, which was done as an exercise in eliminating black money. The committee has given the RBI chief 15 days time to submit data on deposits of the defunct Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 bank notes.
The Centre was responding to Chief Justice of India JS Khehar, who had observed on July 5, "If there is a genuine person, he should have the opportunity if he has failed to deposit for a valid reason". It was planned as a crackdown against black money and fake notes.
Any number of "benami" transactions and proxy users for the objective of producing and depositing the old notes would then arise and the departments would have great difficulty in deciding any genuine case from the numerous bogus ones, it said, and sought dismissal of petitions seeking another chance.
India is the second-largest producer and consumer of currency notes. "The cases allegedly involve total amount of Rs 395.19 crore", it said. A woman said that she was delivering her baby whereas another person said that there was a death in his family.
The apex court had asked the central government on July 4 to consider giving another opportunity to those who couldn't exchange their demonetised currency notes.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2016 had announced the demonetisation of 500 and 1000 Rs notes with a deadline of December 31 for people to deposit or exchange the old notes. However, the government said that adequate time was provided to exchange or deposit the old currency notes. If people were unable to deposit them by that day, they could do so till March 31, 2017 at RBI branches after complying with certain formalities.
Earlier this month, the top court had asked the centre to consider a final window to benefit those with a genuine reason for not turning in the outlawed notes by the end of a year ago, the deadline that was set by the RBI after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's shock announcement on demonetisation.
The Prime Minister's address to the nation on the evening of November 8 a year ago on demonetization and subsequent notifications of the federal bank that the devalued currency notes can be exchanged at RBI offices even up to March 31, 2017 were valid assurances which stood breached by the ordinance, the counsel for petitioner Sudha Mishra had said.
The deadline for the general public to deposit the scrapped currency in bank or post office accounts expired on December 30, 2016.