The Supreme Court on Friday sought the Centre’s response on issues like whether district cooperative banks could be allowed to accept deposits in demonetised notes with some stringent regulations and why banks are unable to allow minimum weekly withdrawals of Rs 24,000 to customers.
The hearing, in which the Centre accused some advocates of politicising the issue in the garb of the public interest litigation, also witnessed the bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur expressing dismay over lawyers breaching decorum of the court by out-shouting each other.
While the high-decibel hearing was on, the bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, said though demonetisation has been carried with long term beneficial aims, its immediate concern was to ease the inconvenience of the people and asked Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi to apprise it on December 14 on issues relating to district cooperative banks and the non-adherence to fixed weekly withdrawal limits by the banks.
Further the bench said it would like to know the government’s stand on the demand for extending the order for hospitals to accept the fees in demonetised notes.
Keeping in mind that the law under which the November 8 notification was issued for demonetisation has been challenged, the bench proposed to frame legal questions and told Rohatgi that since a detailed and long hearing would be required, he should ponder over whether the matter can be referred to a five-judge constitution bench.
The bench said it would take a decison on December 14 on the plea of the Centre that proceedings in various high courts on petitions relating to demonetisation be stayed and transferred either to the apex court or one of the High Courts for adjudication.
“Every day new petitions are being filed in the Supreme Court and in High Courts. The High Courts are adjourning the case for one day or two days... law officers are being asked to appear,” Rohatgi said and asked the bench to consider staying the proceedings in High Courts and transferring them either to the Supreme Court or to one high court.
The bench also considered submissions of senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for one of petitioners opposing the demonetisation, and the Attorney General in framing legal issues to be deliberated upon by it in future hearing.
“We can straightaway frame the questions. The first one can be: whether the November 8 notification is ultra-vires to the Section 26 (2) (power to demonetise) of the Reserve Bank of India Act,” the bench said.