The Madras high court on Tuesday sought clarification from the government over the Devanagri form of numeral printed in the new Rs 2000 currency on a PIL petition seeking to declare it invalid on the ground that the use of the script was against the Official Languages Act.
The Madurai bench of the high court rejected the Centre’s assertion that the inclusion of Devanagri numerals on the new Rs 2,000 note was a “design feature,” and not evidence of preference for a language.
A bench comprising justices S Nagamuthu and MV Muralidaran said that the new numerals represented a promise on the part of the RBI governor that the note carried a value of Rs 2,000, and therefore could not be considered a design feature.
It therefore needed to be a “legal” language, as defined by the 1963 Official Languages Act.
“As per Reserve Bank of India Act, the RBI’s Central Board can recommend designs to be printed on the currency notes. The Devanagari numerical is also a design,” the additional solicitor general (ASG) had argued.
The bench on Monday had, in response to a petition filed by KPT Ganesan, asked the Centre on what authority the new Devanagri numerals had been used in the new note.
Ganesan, in his petition, submitted that the printing of the numerals on the note in Devanagri was against the Official Languages Act, 1963.
He argued that there is a legal provision to only use the international form of the numerals, and therefore the new notes should be declared illegal and invalid.
Several political leaders, including Dr Anbumani Ramadoss of the Pataali Makkal Katchi, have already expressed their displeasure at the inclusion of the Devanagri numerals in the new currency.
The judges asked the ASG to get clarifications from the government and posted the matter to November 28 for further hearing.