BREAKING| Delhi High Court 'reserves order' in PIL against exchange of Rs 2,000 banknote without requisition slip, identity proof

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The plea also sought directions to the RBI and SBI to ensure that Rs. 2000 banknotes are deposited in respective bank accounts only.

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday “reserved order” in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) against permission to exchange Rs. 2,000 denomination banknotes without obtaining any requisition slip and identity proof.

While reserving the order, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad said, “We will pass appropriate orders”.

The PIL filed by Advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay challenged the two notifications issued by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on May 19 and the State Bank of India (SBI) on May 20, as arbitrary, irrational, and in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution of India.

Upadhyay, through the plea, sought directions to the RBI and SBI to ensure that Rs. 2000 banknotes are deposited in respective bank accounts only so that no one could deposit the money in others' bank accounts and people having black money and disproportionate assets could be identified easily.

The plea stated, “Recently, it was announced by the Centre that every family has AADHAAR Card and Bank Account. Therefore, why RBI is permitting to exchange of Rs. 2000 banknotes without obtaining identity proof. It is also necessary to state that 80 Crore BPL families receive free grains. It means 80 crore Indians rarely use Rs. 2,000/- banknotes. Therefore, the petitioner also seeks direction to RBI and SBI to take steps to ensure that Rs. 2000 banknotes are deposited in a bank account only”.

“Corruption has devastating effects on equality, justice, liberty, fraternity unity national integration, and basic rights guaranteed under Articles 14, 19, and 21”, the plea read.

It also sought directions to the Centre to take appropriate steps against the black money and disproportionate asset holders in order to “weed out corruption, benami transaction and secure fundamental rights of citizens”.

The impugned notification of the RBI read as:

In pursuance of the “Clean Note Policy” of the Reserve Bank of India, it has been decided to withdraw the ₹2000 denomination banknotes from circulation. The banknotes in ₹2000 denomination will continue to be legal tender. It may be noted that RBI had undertaken a similar withdrawal of notes from circulation in 2013-2014.

Accordingly, members of the public may deposit ₹2000 banknotes into their bank accounts and/or exchange them into banknotes of other denominations at any bank branch. Deposit into bank accounts can be made in the usual manner, that is, without restrictions and subject to extant instructions and other applicable statutory provisions.

In order to ensure operational convenience and to avoid disruption of regular activities of bank branches, exchange of ₹2000 banknotes into banknotes of other denominations can be made upto a limit of ₹20,000/- at a time at any bank starting from May 23, 2023.

Case Title: Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay v. Union of India & Ors.