Court questions demonetisation without ensuring bank account for all

Kolkata, Nov 18 (IANS) The Calcutta High Court on Thursday questioned the rationale behind the central government’s initiative scrapping high value currency notes without ensuring every Indian had a bank account.

Hearing two Public Interest Litigations moved against demonetisation, Calcutta High Court’s Chief Justice Girish Chandra Gupta also questioned the central government’s frequently changing circulars regarding the withdrawal, deposit and exchange of money from banks and post offices post the demonetisation move.

“People who work on daily wages mostly earn an amount that is non-taxable. What is the necessity for them to have bank accounts,” Gupta asked Additional Solicitor General Koushik Chanda.

“What steps are being taken to ensure the convenience of physically handicapped people who are queuing up to get money,” he asked.

The High Court also criticised the central government’s decision to bring down the upper limit of exchange of old notes from Rs 4,500 to Rs 2,000 saying the present amount is inadequate for the common people to meet their daily expense.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee welcomed the high court’s stand in the case.

“I am grateful. Honorable President of India, as also the judges have to act in favour of people in trouble,” Banerjee said.

An advocate had filed the first PIL describing demonetisation as a harassment for the commoners. A group of disabled persons moved the second PIL seeking change in the rules for exchanging old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes for benefit of the physically challenged.