The Centre’s decision to go back on its promise of extending the date of depositing demonetised notes till March 31 this year came under the judicial scanner on Monday, with the Supreme Court asking the government to file its response to petitions challenging its move.
A bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar gave government time till Friday to the petitions filed by companies and individuals that contended that the Specified Bank Notes (Cessation of Liablities) Ordinance, promulgated on December 13, 2016, penalised those who deposited banned Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes after December 31.
A mother of recently born twins and a widow are in the list of petitioners before the top court. They referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s November 8, 2016 speech announcing the demonetisation policy, and a subsequent notification that promised that people would be able to deposit the old notes till March 31, 2017.
However, from January onwards people could deposit their old banknotes only at select RBI centres.
One of the petitioners – Sudha Misra, who delivered two baby girls on November 4 last year – contended that she could not deposit her old currency notes by December 31 because of her premature delivery.
She has asked the top court to direct the government and the RBI to allow her to deposit the demonetised currency.
She said she underwent a caesarean operation and waited for her health condition to improve. Since there was time till March 31, she took time to deposit the notes. She termed the last government notification a breach of assurance given by the PM and the RBI.
“This act of the government was against the legitimate expectation that certain categories of people had with the government and the same was not unfounded as being based on government’s own notification and the Prime Minister’s speech,” Mishra said in her petition.
Another petition, filed by a widow, said she was not aware of the cash her husband had saved and learnt about it in January this year. She claimed her husband suffered from memory lapse.