The government told the Supreme Court on Tuesday that nearly Rs 10 lakh crore, which would be collected in the form of old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 banknotes, will get channelled into India’s banking system.
The government made the remark during the hearing of petitions against the Centre’s November 8 demonetisation notification. An apex court bench of Chief Justice TS Thakur and DY Chandrachud refused to stay the move.
Representing the government, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the bench: “About Rs 3.25 lakh crore has been deposited with banks by people and the government expects the total to go up to Rs 10-11 lakh crore by March 2017 end.” He, however, added that in all likelihood Rs 4-5 lakh crore may not come back to the banks.
Although the court lauded the effort, it termed the restrictions on withdrawal ‘unreasonable’. “Look at the long queues outside banks and ATMs. People can’t wait for hours in line to get Rs 4,500. Increase the withdrawal limit so that the common man need not stand in a line after every alternate day,” Justice Thakur told Rohatgi.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for one of the petitioners, argued that demonetisation was not a surgical strike on black money but on the poor man.
Rohatgi accepted there was shortage of cash but added that the Centre was taking necessary steps to meet the deficit.
The court posted the matter for further hearing on November 25 and asked the government to examine the plea to allow utility service providers like grocery shops, vegetable vendors, fruit stalls, public transport systems, private hospitals and doctors accept the old banknotes.