Monday, July 15, 2024

Misleading to say SC upheld demonetisation; verdict doesn’t deal with outcome, says Congress

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Former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Monday said the majority verdict by the Supreme Court has steered clear of the question whether the objectives of the demonetisation exercise were achieved at all.

The ‘minority’ judgement pointed out the ‘illegality’ and the ‘irregularities’ in the demonetisation, Chidambaram said on Monday soon after the apex court made its verdict.

Once the Supreme Court has declared the law, Chidambaram said, we are obliged to accept it.

“It may be only a slap on the wrist of the government, but a welcome slap on the wrist,” Chidambaram said in a series of tweets.

“It is necessary to point out that the majority has not upheld the wisdom of the decision; nor has the majority concluded that the stated objectives were achieved. In fact, the majority has steered clear of the question whether the objectives were achieved at all,” he said.

The dissenting judgement will rank among the famous dissents recorded in the history of the Supreme Court, the former finance minister said.

Verdict does not deal with outcomes: Congress
It is “misleading and wrong” to say the Supreme Court has upheld demonetisation, the Congress declared, adding that the majority apex court verdict on the matter deals with the limited issue of the process of decision-making, and not with its outcomes.

“The majority Supreme Court verdict deals with the limited issue of the process of decision making not with its outcomes. To say that demonetisation has been upheld by the Honourable Supreme Court is totally misleading and wrong,” said AICC general secretary Jairam Ramesh.

The verdict has nothing to say on whether the stated objectives of demonetisation were met or not, Ramesh said. “None of these goals – reducing currency in circulation, moving to cashless economy, curbing counterfeit currency, ending terrorism & unearthing black money-was achieved in significant measure,” he added.

The Supreme Court in a 4:1 majority verdict has upheld the government’s 2016 decision to demonetise Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 denomination notes, saying the decision-making process was not flawed.

Justice B V Nagarathna dissented from the majority judgment of the Constitution bench headed by Justice S A Nazeer and said the scrapping of the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 series notes had to be done through a legislation and not through a notification.

Ramesh said in a statement that the Supreme Court has only pronounced on whether Section 26(2) of RBI Act, 1934 was correctly applied or not before announcing demonetisation on November 8 2016.

“Nothing more, nothing less. One judge in her dissenting opinion has said that Parliament should not have been bypassed,” he said.

“It has said nothing on the impact of demonetisation which was a singularly disastrous decision. It damaged the growth momentum, crippled MSMEs, finished off the informal sector & destroyed lakhs and lakhs of livelihoods,” Ramesh said.

In its verdict on Monday, the court said there has to be great restraint in matters of economic policy and the court cannot supplant the wisdom of the executive with a judicial review of its decision.

The bench, also comprising Justices B R Gavai, A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, said the Centre’s decision-making process could not have been flawed as there was consultation between the RBI and the Union government for a period of six months.

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