The Madhya Pradesh high court on Wednesday slapped notices to online classifieds/trading portals OLX, Quikr and Ebay for providing a platform to speculators for auctioning Indian currency notes at a much higher price than their face value.
For instance, an old Rs 10 note with serial number with suffix ‘786’ is being auctioned at an exorbitant price of Rs 25,000. Similarly, the portals also have ads offering bank notes with the serial number representing their birth date.
After coming across a large number of such advertisements, Jitendra Singh Yadav filed a public interst litigation in the high court against the illegal sale of currency notes at higher prices. “The currency of India can only be transferred, exchanged but cannot be sold,” he said.
“It is one kind of black marketing of currency notes and these websites are encouraging speculators. It can have larger repercussions on our economy. They are stopping free flow of currency in the market, holding the unique digit denominations of currency notes and auctioning them at a higher price,” Yadav said.
According to the petitioner’s counsel advocate Abhinav Dhanodkar, the act violates sections 22, 23, 24 and 26 of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934.
It is the responsibility of the finance ministry and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to make stringent laws to safeguard interests of the people as the currency of India regulates the economy of the country... If such kinds of activities are (allowed to continue), it may cause an adverse effect and hamper the economy forcing people to indulge in speculative activities and cause financial damages and hardships, advocate Dhanodkar told the court.
Another cause for concern was that ads claimed to be able to provide notes with serial numbers matching one’s birth dates.
“How can anyone provide a currency note with one’s birth date as unique serial number, that too on demand? It means he prints currency notes illegally,” Dhanodkar said.
After hearing the petition, the high court’s division bench comprising justices PK Jaiswal and TK Kaushal slapped notices to the online portals and also to the ministry of finance and the governor of the RBI to file their replies within three weeks.