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HomeIndiaEmbarrassed, says DeMonetisation bench as AG seeks time | India News

Embarrassed, says DeMonetisation bench as AG seeks time | India News

NEW DELHI: A five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court, which was to commence adjudication of the decision to demonetise Rs 500 and 1,000 currency notes on its sixth anniversary, frowned at attorney general R Venkataramani’s request for adjournment, second time within a month, on the ground that the Union government’s response affidavit is not ready yet.
The AG had on October 12 sought adjournment and the bench of Justices S Abdul Nazir, B R Gavai, A S Bopanna, V Ramasubramanian and B V Nagarathna had asked the government and the Reserve Bank of India to file comprehensive affidavits explaining why Section 26 of the RBI Act was invoked to issue demonetisation notification on November 8, 2016. It had also sought details of the deliberations on pros and cons of demonetising Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes while fixing hearing for November 9.
The AG’s request for a week’s adjournment on the ground that the affidavit was not ready yet met with stiff resistance from petitioner’s counsel Shyam Divan, who said it is unprecedented of AG to seek adjournment before a constitution bench which has specifically fixed the date of hearing after preliminary arguments were advanced on October 12.
Justice Nagarathna said, “Normally, the constitution bench does not grant adjournment of scheduled hearing. It is very embarrassing for the constitution bench to break without hearing the case.” Though the bench postponed the hearing to November 24, Justice Nazir told AG that other constitution bench matters are fixed for November 15 and requested him not to seek adjournment in those cases. The AG said, “I am embarrassed too seeking adjournment but it is only because I want to give a structured response.”
Counsel for some other petitioners, senior advocate P Chidambaram on October 12 had questioned the hasty manner in which the government decided to implement demonetisation. “Why this supersonic hurry to demonetise? Was there any deliberations about the pros and cons? The court must ask the government to produce the November 7 letter, the agenda paper before the RBI Board and the reccommendation. None of these vital documents were placed before Parliament or put in the public domain. We should know what the government had in mind,” he had argued.
When the court had asked the Union government to keep the files ready for court’s perusal, the AG had said, “If and when required, the government would show these documents. But, is it necessary for the court to carry an academic exercise when the decision has worked itself out? The court would be required to go into a web of entangled aspects that is considered before the government takes an economic policy decision. Should the court step into such an area? Economy is no longer only domestic, it has got intrinsic connections with the global economy.”

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