Currency

Supreme Court judge Justice Nagarathna explains her dissent in demonetisation case, says predicaments of common man stirred her

Elaborating on the policy of demonetisation and her dissent in the demonetisation case, Supreme Court judge Justice BV Nagarathna, in a recent address at the NALSAR University in Telangana, said she thought ‘it was a good way of converting black money into white money.’ She also said the common man’s predicament during the demonetisation days stirred her, thus motivating her to dissent from the case.

Justice Nagarathna also said that demonetisation was initially aimed as a measure to eradicate black money. However, the results seemed to contradict its objectives.

“Ninety-eight per cent of the currency came back to the RBI, so where were we heading towards black money eradication (the aim of demonetisation)? I thought it was a good way of converting black money into white money. What happened about income tax proceedings thereafter, we don’t know. So, therefore, the common man’s predicament really stirred me and hence, I had to dissent,” she said.

Speaking further, she said, “Eighty-six per cent of the currency was Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, which I think the central government lost sight of while demonetising 86 per cent of the currency. Imagine a labourer, who went to work those days and had to get his notes exchanged before he could go to the grocery shop to buy the daily essentials.”

Justice Nagarathna also stressed the lack of adequate communication and preparedness surrounding the demonetisation decision.

“The manner in which demonetisation was done, was not correct. There was no decision-making process which was in accordance with the law. The haste with which it was done… some people say even the then Finance Minister did not know about it. The communication went on one evening and the demonetisation happened the next day.”

“If India wanted to go from paper currency to plastic currency, surely, demonetisation was not also a reason for that, I thought,” she said.

Justice BV Nagarathna also said the RBI had not applied an independent mind in cancelling currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000.

Published By:

Vani Mehrotra

Published On:

Mar 31, 2024


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