The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre whether its decision to bring in demonetisation was taken in absolute secrecy while hearing a bunch of petitions questioning the Narendra Modi government’s rationale behind the implementation of the policy.
“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 week 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.
Attorney general Mukul Rohatgi, however, told the court that the government had taken “all the necessary steps to ease the inconvenience of the public”.
The top court was hearing a batch of petitions and public interest litigations (PILs) challenging the demonetisation drive, which came into effect on November 8.
“The government is not sitting around doing nothing ... In 10-15 days it will be all over,” NDTV quoted the Centre’s lawyer as saying.
The government announced its decision to scrap Rs 500 and 1,000 notes, which formed 86% of the cash in circulation, to curb “black money and corruption” on November 8. And after a month of the currency ban, millions are still facing problems as they have to queue for hours outside banks and ATMs to withdraw money and exchange or deposit the old currency notes.
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.