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SC asks government, is demonetisation was confidential; seeks response on co-op banks

The Supreme Court on Friday resumed hearing on the pleas filed against government’s demonetisation drive and asked if the policy was confidential when it was being made.

The apex court framed 9 questions for adjudication to decide if the demonetisation drive was unconstitutional.

“When you made the policy on demonetisation, was it confidential?” the top court asked.

Chief Justice TS Thakur also asked why the Centre’s order granting limit of Rs 24,000 per day to a person had not been complied with.

Lawyer Prashant Bhushan, who was appearing on behalf of a petitioner, told the court that there was no preparation on part of the government to deal with the impending situation caused by demonetisation.

“There was no cash in ATMs, recalibration was not done well and cooperative banks were being discriminated against,” Bhushan said.

The Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi defended the note ban and said that the Centre has taken all the necessary measures to ease the inconveniences faced by the general public. The Attorney General told the Supreme Court that currency crunch will ease in 15-20 days.

A batch of PILs seeking quashing of the government’s decision to demonetise Rs. 1,000 and Rs. 500 currency notes on the grounds that it infringed citizens’ right to life and trade among others were filed in Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court also sought response of the Centre on the issues including whether the district cooperative banks can be allowed to accept deposits with certain conditions and can there be a minimum assured withdrawal from banks.

The bench also comprising justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said that when the minimum weekly withdrawal limit has been fixed, then why people are not able to get that amount.

“Can we say that this will be the minimum assured weekly withrawal amount that a person can get from the bank,” the bench asked and while fixing the batch of petitions for further hearing on December 14. The bench, meanwhile, proposed to frame various legal questions to be deliberated upon in the future hearing.

The opposition and the government have locked horns over the issue of demonetisation during the current winter session. Even as more than three weeks have passed since the winter session began, both Houses have failed to conduct any meaningful business as protests over demonetisation continue to disrupt proceedings.

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