The Delhi High Court on Monday dismissed a petition challenging the Reserve Bank of India’s decision to deposit or exchange Rs 2,000 notes without any requisition slip and identity proof, PTI reported.
The petition, filed by Bharatiya Janata Party leader Ashwini Upadhyay, was rejected by a bench of Chief Justice Satish Kumar Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad. A detailed order is awaited.
On May 19, the Reserve Bank of India had announced the withdrawal of Rs 2,000 notes from circulation, saying that evidence showed the denomination was not being commonly used for transactions. The central bank had said that Rs 2,000 denomination will remain legal tender but asked people to exchange or deposit them in their accounts by September 30.
In his petition, Upadhyay contended that the decision to deposit or exchange Rs 2,000 notes without any identification was arbitrary, irrational and against Article 14, which guarantees equality before the law.
He urged the court to direct the central bank and the State Bank of India to ensure that Rs 2000 notes are deposited in bank accounts only.
“It is for the first time that people can come to banks with money and get it exchanged,” Upadhyay said, according to Bar and Bench. “Gangsters and mafias and their henchmen can come and get their money exchanged.”
At the last hearing in the case, Senior Advocate Parag P Tripathi, appearing for the Reserve Bank of India, had opposed the plea and urged the court to dismiss it with cost.
“This is not demonetisation,” Tripathi had said, according to Live Law. “This is a statutory exercise. None of the points raised by my learned friend [Upadhyay] in any manner impinges upon the public issues.”
The Rs 2,000 notes were issued after the November 2016 decision of demonetisation when Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denominations were abruptly withdrawn in what the government claimed was a move to fight corruption. Experts believe that the decision was destructive for the economy as well as large sections of the population, some of which are still reeling from its effects.
In 2019, the central bank had reduced the printing of Rs 2,000 notes to a minimum.