After a flurry of intense accusations echoed the Supreme Court chambers, the apex court appealed to the lawyers to maintain decorum while also assuring them that it will comprehensively adjudicate over issues surrounding demonetisation on December 2.
On December 2, the Supreme Court will discuss 12 petitions filed across seven high courts in the country. These petitions include: transferring of petitions filed in the various high courts to Delhi; the constitutional validity of the RBI notification and also whether or not the issue should be referred to a Constitution Bench.
"In that case, the four separate petitions — listed today for hearing — should also be heard on the same day. This would ensure that the court can take an informed decision after considering all the aspects of the issue," Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said.
The Supreme Court bench led by Chief Justice TS Thakur accepted the government's suggestion that instead of hearing the demonetisation issue in a piecemeal fashion, the subject must be addressed in its totality on December 2. The government's petition to transfer all demonetisation-related cases from other high courts to Delhi was already scheduled for hearing on December 2 on Wednesday.
The day's proceedings were off to a rocky start when senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for a petitioner, claimed that "people were starving on the roads."
"Nobody is starving on the roads," Rohatgi retorted. "The markets are closed," Sibal fired back.
Manohar Lal Sharma, another advocate who had claimed that the new Rs 2000 notes could be easily faked, backed Sibal and said, "all the banks are closed." He continued and said, "Maximum cash has gone into BJP hands."
Pandemonium ensued after Sharma's comments as they were followed by shouts of protest from several of the lawyers present in the courtroom. Chief Justice Thakur intervened and issued a stern warning and appealed to the parties to maintain decorum.
"Everyone is shouting with their hands over the other's shoulder. This is a courtroom and there is some decorum to be observed here. We will adjourn the case for hearing after the vacation," Chief Justice Thakur warned the crowded courtroom.
"There are some really serious issues here, My Lords," Sibal appealed.
"If there is a difficulty, you tell us what the problems are," Chief Justice Thakur said in response to the senior lawyer.
"There is a lot of inconvenience. They don't have the capacity to print the new currency. What are they going to do?" Sibal asked.
"If you want us to look into it... We will certainly do... But we will hear all. We cannot hear this issue piecemeal," Chief Justice Thakur said, rejecting Sibal's request to advance the hearing to Tuesday next.
On Thursday, the Centre filed an affidavit in the apex court on demonetisation saying the bold move will eradicate black money operating since the Independence which cast a parallel economy hitting the poor and the middle class. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the affidavit on Friday.