Supreme Court to govt on demonetisation: If the hardship continues, we may have riots

Updated: Nov 19, 2016, 10:26 IST | Agencies

The Supreme Court says the long queues outside banks and post offices after demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes are a 'serious issue', and asked the government to ease the situation

Villagers queue outside a bank in Hanuman Ganj village on the outskirts of Allahabad. Pic/AFP
Villagers queue outside a bank in Hanuman Ganj village on the outskirts of Allahabad. Pic/AFP

New Delhi: The Supreme Court yesterday dubbed as a "serious issue," the long queues outside banks and post offices and expressed its reservation on the Centre's plea seeking a direction that no other court in the country should entertain petitions challenging the November 8 notification demonetising R1,000 and R500 currency notes.

"It is a serious issue which requires consideration," a bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice A R Dave said, while asking the parties to be ready with data and other issues in writing. Asking the government to ease the situation, the court observed if the hardship continues "we may have riots" as "people have become frantic" through standing in queues for long hours.

Let them go to lower courts
"Some measures are required. See the kind of problems people are facing. People have to go to the high court. If we shut them from going to the high court, how can we know the magnitude of the problem. People going to different courts indicates the magnitude of the problem," the bench said.

It made the remarks as Attorney General (AG) Mukul Rohatgi submitted that any matter relating to challenge to the demonetisation issue be heard by the apex court only. However, the bench said, "People are affected. People are frantic. People have the right to approach the courts," noting that there are difficulties.

Labourers severely affected
Demonetisation has "severely affected" daily wage labourers, many of whom are staring at "starvation", Delhi Labour Minister Gopal Rai yesterday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Rai, a senior face in the AAP government, said shortage of short change currency and dip in sales have triggered the situation as most of these labourers deal in cash. In a letter, Rai urged the Prime Minister to take urgent steps to alleviate their woes or roll back the decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes.

NYT criticizes demonetisation
New York: The demonetisation of high value Indian currency that has caused chaos "was poorly thought out and executed", the New York Times said on Friday.

Saying the decision to scrap the old R500 and R1,000 notes had thrown the economy into turmoil, the Times said the Narendra Modi government did not appreciate the extent of the pain it would inflict.

"The government has begun circulating new 500 and 2,000 rupee notes, which means that cash-based corruption and tax evasion are almost sure to return as people accumulate the new bills,"it said in an editorial.

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