The BJP on Monday hailed as ”historic” the Supreme Court order upholding the government’s demonetisation exercise and asked if the Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will tender an apology for his campaign against the note ban after the apex court judgment.
The Supreme Court in a 4:1 majority verdict upheld the government’s 2016 decision to demonetise Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 denomination notes, saying the decision-making process was not flawed.
Former law minister and BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad also asserted that the demonetisation done in 2016 proved to be the ”biggest blow” to terrorism by curbing terror funding. It boosted income tax and cleansed the economy, he claimed.
”It is a historic decision and is in the national interest. The Supreme Court has held a decision taken in the national interest valid. Will Rahul Gandhi now say sorry for his campaign against demonetisation? He spoke against it even abroad,” he said at a press conference.
Prasad also hit out at Congress leaders, especially former Union finance minister P Chidambaram, for highlighting the minority judgment. They are ignoring with impunity the majority verdict to make in charitable and scandalous statements, he said.
The dissenting judge has also said the policy was well-intentioned, Prasad added.
India has become a global leader in digital payment which was boosted after demonetisation, he told reporters, noting that the country notched up over 730 crore digital transactions worth over Rs 12 lakh crore in October this year alone.
A five-judge Constitution bench of the apex court, headed by Justice S A Nazeer, said there has to be great restraint in matters of economic policy and the court cannot supplant the wisdom of the executive by a judicial review of its decision.
Prasad said it is a ”very important” decision and added the whole exercise was undertaken for valid causes, including removing fake currency and curbing terror funding and money laundering.
The court has noted that the government has a right to take a policy decision and rejected the argument that appropriate consultation with the Reserve Bank of India was not done, the BJP leader said.
In sum and substance, the apex court looked at the entire decision-making exercise and found the process fair and reasonable, he said, hitting out at the opposition party for raising a ”big storm” against the demonetisation.
Gandhi understands an issue only after a Supreme Court verdict, Prasad said, in a swipe at the former Congress president.
The former Union minister said Gandhi ”abused” Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his campaign during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls against the alleged corruption in the Rafale deal and stopped after the apex court adjudicated on the matter and rejected the demand for a probe.
He said the BJP government under Prime Minister Modi has been firm in espousing his commitment to the poor’s welfare, and demonetisation was designed to serve their interest as well.
The decision resulted in reducing the share of the informal economy from 52 per cent to 20 per cent, he said, alleging that Congress promoted and protected informal elements of the economy.
The government did not stop at demonetisation and brought the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act in 2015 to curb illicit money, he said, claiming that this resulted in bringing over Rs 65,250 crore under the Income Tax scanner.