The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Wednesday told the Delhi High Court that putting a cap on the number of withdrawals by banking customers using their ATM cards without being charged, is a policy decision taken in public interest.
A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Rajiv Sahai was also informed by RBI that the ATM facility was made available with a view to reduce "cash usage and increase electronic transactions in the country".
The court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by advocate Swati Aggarwal, seeking directions to allow banking customers to make an unlimited number of transactions free of any charge on their own bank ATMs.
India's Central Banking Institution, which controls the Monetary Policy of the Rupee, however, opposed the PIL, saying the petition is not maintainable and is liable to be dismissed, as RBI has "not violated any laws of the land".
"The PIL is not meant to be a weapon to challenge the financial or economic decisions which are taken by the RBI in exercise of their administrative/ statutory powers and in the public interest.
"The issue pertains purely to the economic policy of the state and the challenge to the same at the instance of the PIL, as have been laid down by the apex court from time to time. The petitioner's own view on the matter of policy which are or may be at variance with those of the policy makers cannot be the basis of challenge," RBI said in its affidavit filed on Wednesday.
RBI reply came after the court questioned it's decision to put a cap on withdrawals by banking customers using their ATM cards, saying account holders were being "unnecessarily taxed".
As per RBI's new guidelines, bank customers in six metros -- Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Bangalore --are allowed to withdraw money free of charge only five times a month and every transaction beyond this limit will be charged Rs 20 per use.
According to the plea, the guidelines have already been implemented by several banks, including State Bank of India.