A PIL in Bombay High Court has challenged an ordinance issued by the Union government restricting members of the public from depositing the demonetised Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes in Reserve Bank of India branches.
The petition, filed recently by Congress leader Sachin Sawant, has sought quashing of the ordinance issued by the government on December 30 last year on the ground that it discriminates against people.
The PIL says the impugned ordinance allows only a particular category of Indian citizens to exchange the banned notes. This concerns only those citizens who were outside the country from November 8 to December 30, when demonetisation had come into effect, as they could not exchange the banned currency with new notes in banks, it said.
The public interest litigation, filed through lawyer Asim Sarode, is likely to come up for hearing in due course.
The petition further alleged that the RBI had failed to follow its mandate of regulating the issuance of currency.
“The apex bank should be asked to clarify whether it was working under some pressure or is being overpowered by any politician,” the PIL further contended.
The PIL said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had assured the people and a government notification on November 8 last year also said that if the citizens of the country were not able to deposit by December 30, 2016, the scrapped currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 in the banks on account of any reason, they would get an opportunity to approach the specified offices of RBI by March 31, 2017.
However, the Centre’s ordinance had given opportunity only to those citizens who were outside the country during the period November 8 to December 30 last year, to exchange the banned currency. This was against the assurance given by the PM in his address to the nation and hence, it constituted to a breach of trust, the petition argued.
The petitioner, who is spokesman of Mumbai Congress unit, has also sought an interim stay on the impugned ordinance, pending hearing of the PIL in the high court.
“Paragraph 4 (i) of the ordinance creates discrimination between people who travelled outside India between November 8, 2016 to December 30, 2016 and people who were not travelling anywhere outside India for no valid reasons whatsoever,” says the petition.
The ordinance, dated December 30, 2016, is contrary to the earlier government notification of November 8, 2016, and hence people are facing many day-to-day problems and violation of their rights, the PIL alleged.