Supreme Court refuses to restrain lower courts from hearing pleas on demonetisation

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday refused to restrain various high courts and subordinate courts from hearing petitions against the Union government’s demonetisation notification, saying “people are facing real problems and we cannot shut them from moving courts to register their grievances.”

The SC, however, asked the Centre to file a plea seeking transfer of cases on demonetisation filed in different courts across country to one high court.

Attorney general Mukul Rohatgi listed out several measures taken by the Centre to ease the situation owing to demonetisation. He said the situation is being monitored at the highest-level everyday and things are getting sorted out. “Queues are getting shorter,” he said.

The apex court said that the government had promised during the last hearing to increase the exchange limit from Rs 4,500, but, instead, it has reduced it to Rs 2,000. “Why? Is there shortage of even Rs 100 notes,” the SC bench asked.

The government on Thursday reduced the exchange of old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes from Rs 4,500 a day to Rs 2,500. Justifying the move to cut the exchange limit, finance minister Arun Jatiley said that that the exchange window of Rs 4,500 a day was being misused and this had led to the government reducing the amount to Rs 2,000 in a bid to curb use of “currency mules” to change illegal wealth to new notes.

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“The queues are becoming smaller. Deposits and withdrawals are progressing well… With this (however), the facility to exchange Rs 4,500 has been misused. The government will not accept this misuse. This amount has been reduced,” Jaitley said.

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