The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the government what most ordinary Indians have been wondering in the past few weeks: how on earth are some people getting lakhs in new currency at a time of strict withdrawal limits?
The Indian Express reported the Supreme Court as observing the seemingly disproportionate impact of the government's demonetisation step, bringing extreme hardships for people while some others appear unaffected.
Chief Justice TS Thakur reportedly asked Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi to explain this discrepancy.
"People are not getting Rs 24,000 a week then how some got lakhs of new currency?" Thakur asked. Rohatgi responded by saying the government is taking action against certain bank officers who are allegedly behind these illegal transactions.
The apex court, however, has put on hold its verdict on the plea challenging the government's demonetisation move banning Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes that has thrown the country into a cash chaos.
The SC reprimanded the Centre last week, questioning its rationale and why previous court orders on withdrawal limits had not been followed. It also framed nine questions to assess whether the move is unconstitutional.
The bench had also asked the Centre if its decision was indeed taken in complete secrecy.
"When you made the policy on demonetisation, was it confidential?" the bench asked.
Separately, on Thursday, Economic Secretary Shaktikanta Das said the RBI was now focusing on printing new Rs 500 notes. Its initial focus was to supply Rs 2000 notes to replace value that was taken out of the market, he said.
Das also claimed that the possibility of counterfeiting the new Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 notes is very little.
With agency inputs