Intention was to make you alive to the situation: SC to Centre

supreme-court

New Delhi, The Supreme Court today said its order seeking prompt replies from the Centre and the RBI on a plea against alleged tweaking of rules on exchange of demonetised currency was intended to make them “alive to the situation”.

The apex court, which had issued notices to the Centre and the federal bank on March 6, was responding to a plea that a very short time period had been given to them to respond to the petition.

“We did not intend to do anything. The intention was to make you alive to the situation,” a bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar said and granted time till March 21.

However, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, who appeared after commencement of the hearing, said the government and the the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) do not wish to file the reply and he was willing to argue the matter today itself.

“The only thing he (petitioner) is saying is that there was a window which was there in the first decision. He is saying the window was now closed in the Ordinance,” the bench, also comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and Sanjay Kishan Kaul, told Rohatgi.

The bench asked the Attorney General to peruse its earlier order and said the issue is very clear as there is “no left, no right and no centre. Everything is in black and white”.

Earlier, the apex court had sought the responses of the Centre and the RBI as to why demonetised notes were not accepted till March 31 as was promised.

The Prime Minister’s address to the nation on the evening of November 8 last year on demonetisation and subsequent notification of the federal bank that devalued currency notes can be exchanged at RBI offices even up to March 31, 2017 were valid assurances which stood breached by the ordinance, the counsel for petitioner, Sudha Mishra, had said.

The plea has alleged that the Prime Minister and the RBI had assured the people at large that demonetised currency notes can be exchanged at banks, post offices and RBI branches till December 30, 2016 and if people are unable to deposit them by that day then they can do so till March 31, 2017 at RBI branches after complying with some formalities.