Two petitions have been filed in the Supreme Court of India challenging the decision of the Central government to de-monetize 500 and 1000 notes.
Both the petitioners are practising lawyers – one is an Advocate-on-Record at the Supreme Court, Vivek Narayan Sharma and the other is advocate Sangam Lal Pandey.
Sharma’s petition runs to thirty-nine pages and he has questioned the manner of implementation of the scheme which he has alleged has “failed to follow constitutional rule of law, principles of natural justice and provide sufficient time to citizens of India to prepare for such phasing out of specified bank notes.”
He has contended that the “constitutional ‘Right to Life’ & ‘Right to Trade’ of all the citizens of India is being infringed by the Centre due to unreasonable, unmethodical and dictatorial manner of implementing the said Scheme”
The petition states that,
“…phasing out of specified bank notes on 9.11.2016 was announced by the Hon’ble Prime Minister between 8.00pm – 9.20pm on 8.11.2016 and thereafter that Notification dated 8.11.2016 was issued around 11.00pm by Respondent. It is submitted that Hon’ble Prime Minister also announced that new bank notes of denominations of Rs.500/- and Rs.2000/- are going to replace the existing specified bank notes of Rs.500/- and Rs.1000/-. Therefore, giving no time to people in possession of Rs. 500 & Rs. 1000/- to exchange from banks and other government utilities..”
Sharma has alleged violation of Section 26(2) of the Reserve Bank India Act, 1934 which, according to him, mandates that,
“reasonable time be given to people to make alternate financial arrangements to avoid large scale mayhem and chaos.”
He has submitted that the manner of implementation of the scheme has created panic amongst the people and “emergency like situation” in India and that the next few weeks or months could be a nightmare for public since,
“..almost all citizens of India are going to face grave harassment in almost every small day to day affair and elementary services like hospitals payments, schools fees payments, toll fees payments, out-station hotel payments, labor payments, local transport payments, buying of essential items like grocery, clothes, pollutions masks, air cleaner, winter clothes, kids care items, old-age care items etc.”
Sharma has prayed for quashing the notification which de-monetizes 500 and 1000 notes or alternatively direct the Centre to provide methodological and reasonable time frame to the people for exchanging the specified bank notes to legitimate notes.
Sangam Lal Pandey has also pointed out various practical difficulties faced by the public due to the sudden discontinuation of the notes.
He has submitted that various private hospitals are refusing to accept notes of denomination 500 and 1000. Besides that, other grounds like initiation of marriage ceremonies, difficulties in travelling by public transport etc. have been raised by Pandey.
Calling it a ‘Tughlaki Farman’, Pandey has prayed that the notification be quashed.
Pandey’s petition will be mentioned in Supreme Court tomorrow.