The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to stay the Centre's move to demonetise Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 currency notes.
Listening to as many as four public interest litigations (PILs) filed against the surprise announcement, the Supreme Court asked the Centre, "What more steps are you exploring and considering in relation to the inconvenience caused to people?"
The SC bench headed by Chief Justice of India T S Thakur has sought a response from the government and set November 25 as the next hearing date on the matter.
However, the apex court in principle agreed with the Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi's contention that there will be "some collateral damage in a surgical strike against black money" and therefore refused to impose a stay on the decision. Rohtagi also said that terrorism was being funded by fake currency in these denominations and added that the people could pay by cheques or online.
Opposing the government's move and appearing on behalf of a PIL petitioner, senior advocate Kapil Sibal said the government's move was aimed at cleaning up non-performing assets of banks and clear government debt.
The PILs filed with the court alleged that the government's move will cause serious inconvenience to the general public.
Advocate Pusala Venkata Krishnaiah, one of the petitioners, filed a PIL in the High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad challenging sub-Section 2 of Section 26 of the Reserve Bank of India 1934 Act claiming that there are no guidelines on how to exercise the power available under the section. He said that unprecedented chaos and panic among the people would follow after the PM's announcement as a sufficient time frame has not been given for the transition.
Another advocate Sangam Lal Pandey filed a PIL that sought to quash the government's move on similar lines. A PIL seeking to extend the date of validity for exchanging the scrapped notes while also seeking a government order allowing private hospitals to accept old currency notes was filed in the Gujarat High Court.
Delhi-based lawyer Vivek Narayan Sharma also filed a PIL on grounds that it infringed on citizens' right to life and to trade, among others, and said that the government must grant citizen more time to avoid "large-scale mayhem, life-threatening difficulties".
Unconfirmed reports suggest that as many as 16 people have allegedly died due to the problems created after the government's push for the demonetisation.