The Bombay High Court on Thursday said the government’s demonetisation exercise showed that it was a myth that fake currency was in circulation.
While hearing hearing a public interest litigation seeking to make currency notes and coins easily identifiable for vision-impaired people, the court asked the Reserve Bank of India why it kept changing the sizes and features of currency notes, The Indian Express reported.
“You [government] keep saying it is because of fake currency,” a bench of Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice NM Jamdar said. “I doubt that reason. Demonetisation showed that it was a myth that Rs 10,000 crore were taken away by Pakistan.”
“What is the compulsion of RBI to change features of notes from time to time,” the court added. “What is the compulsion of RBI to change the size of the notes?” The court directed the Reserve Bank of India to file an affidavit explaining its reasons within two weeks. The court will take up the matter in three weeks’ time.
The court also pointed out that the sizes of currency notes remain the same across the world. “The dollar continues to be the same. You [RBI] keep redesigning the currency,” the court said, according to The Times of India.
The public interest litigation filed by the National Association for the Blind said it was difficult for vision-impaired people to identify and distinguish the new currency notes and coins. In November 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi scrapped all Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes and said they would no longer be valid currency. The government has since introduced new notes for Rs 10, Rs 20, Rs 50, Rs 100, Rs 200, Rs 500 and a new denomination of Rs 2,000.
In November 2016, the government had taken Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes out of circulation overnight, saying it was a move to curb black money. However, the RBI had later said that over 99% of banned banknotes in circulation before demonetisation were returned to it.