Can't afford another window to deposit banned notes: Centre tells Supreme Court

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On July 4, the Supreme Court had asked the Centre to give citizens with "genuine reasons" another chance to deposit the demonetised Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 bills.

The government asserted that granting any further grace period for depositing banned currency notes will defeat the objective of demonetisation, which was done as an exercise in eliminating black money.

One last opportunity to deposit the 500- and 1,000-rupee notes that were banned in November will defeat the whole point of demonetisation as well as the battle against black money, the government told the Supreme Court today. It added that opening another window for exchanging Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes will result in "any number of benami transactions and make it hard to identify genuine cases from the bogus ones".

Compared to the 1978 demonetisation exercise, where citizens were given only six days to deposit their old notes, the 2016 one gave the people "fairly a very long period" to deposit their old notes.

The affidavit said that none of the petitioners has given any valid ground as to why they could not deposit the scrapped notes through his or her authorised third person.

The government said demonetisation lay bare the under-current of black money crippling the country.

The demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes in November 2016 had caused a cash crunch in the country as the bills had made up almost 86% of the currency in circulation then. Even some educational institutions were found to have accepted fees in old currency notes after midnight of November 8.

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The undisclosed income detected in the above actions was of more than Rs 5,400 crore, the government said.

The government had assured the people that demonetised currency notes could be exchanged at banks, post offices and RBI branches till December 30, 2016.

The top court is hearing petitions filed by those who were denied permission by the Reserve Bank of India to deposit their money after the deadline.

In a meeting with the parliamentary committee on Wednesday last week, RBI governor Urjit Patel said the number of scrapped notes returned post demonetisation were still being counted.

However, the Ordinance, issued on December 30 last, had specified that only those who were overseas or armed forces personnel posted in remote areas or others who could give valid reasons for not being able to deposit the cancelled notes at banks, could deposit the demonetised currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes till March 31.

These, the government said, forced the government to cancel or restrict exemptions granted.

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