Supreme Court refuses any direction on plea to exchange demonetised notes

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The Central government on Monday refused to give another opportunity to exchange demonetised currency notes of Rs 500 and 1,000 to those who couldn't do it by the deadline of December 30, 2016, saying this would defeat the very objective of eliminating black money.

Government further told the apex court that the time-period provided between November 10 to December 30 was sufficient for the people to exchange, or deposit their old currencies in the banks.

The government said that it had come across a huge amount of malpractices in the post-demonetisation period.

SC had asked the government to consider creating a window for people with legitimate reasons to deposit scrapped notes.

In response to this, the government responded that such a chance would open doors for "any number of benami transactions", making it hard for the departments to separate "genuine cash from bogus ones", the report stated.

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People queued up in front of banks to deposit their old notes after demonetisation was announced.

The top court is hearing petitions filed by those who were denied permission by the Reserve Bank of India to deposit their money after the deadline.

The specified category included those travelling overseas and NRIs etc.

As a result of the raids and other strict measures enforced, more than Rs 610 crore in cash (Rs 513 crore in old notes) and valuables were seized by the IT Department and other government agencies.

A bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud asked Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, representing the Centre, to take instructions on the issue. The bench had directed the government to file an affidavit in the case within two weeks.

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The CJI had demanded to know why the government had not exercised its discretion to give a last chance to people to exchange old notes despite holding out a promise to this effect to the people in its ordinance.

The government said that this round of demonetisation as opposed to the earlier round in 1978 had a 51-day window as opposed to a six-day window earlier. Suppose a person was in jail during the period.

If there is a genuine person, he should have the opportunity if he has failed to deposit for a valid reason.

The Supreme Court referred to people, like those in prisons, can not be stopped from exchanging the old notes.

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