The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Centre to explain the steps it has taken or will take to deal with the chaos outside banks and ATMs following the demonetisation move and observed that people should not suffer.
Asking the Centre to file reply without formally issuing notice, the bench of Chief Justice T.S. Thakur and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, said they would not interfere with the government policy.
As senior counsel Kapil Sibal, appearing for the petitioner, described demonetisation as a “surgical strike against the common man”, Chief Justice Thakur observed “What Attorney General says is a surgical strike, what you say is a carpet bombing”.
While pointing to the hardships being faced by the people and the provisions of law governing the demonetisation of currency notes, Sibal said, “You can have surgical strikes against black money but you can’t have surgical strikes against common people.”
Makings it clear that he was not seeking stay of the government decision to demonetise, Sibal said, “We are with the government in curbing the black money, but the inconvenience it is causing to the public is not reasonable. It is jeopardising their life.”
Defending the government decision as being in conformity with the legal provisions, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi admitted that a government decision of such magnitude would cause some pain and urged the court not to interfere as “These are the matters of economic policy”.
At this, Chief Justice Thakur observed “We are not interfering in your policy matters.”