Editorial

Wrong to say SC upheld demonetisation, despite subjects, small entrepreneurs victimised

It is ‘misleading and wrong’ to say the Supreme Court has upheld demonetisation. A majority apex court verdict on the matter deals with the limited issue of the process of decision making not with its outcomes.

The verdict has nothing to say on whether the stated objectives of demonetisation were met or not.

The dissenting verdict on demonetisation is a ‘slap on the wrist’ of the government as it has pointed out the ‘illegality and irregularities’ in the decision..

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.

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.

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.

Once the Supreme Court has declared the law, the subjects of the nation are obliged to accept it. It may be only a slap on the wrist of the government, but a welcome slap on the wrist.

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.

The dissenting judgment will rank among the famous dissents recorded in the history of the Supreme Court.

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.

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 of-course destroyed lakhs and lakhs of livelihoods.

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 by 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 Reserve Bank of India and the Union government.

In the melee, the subjects, small entrepreneurs victimised by the Narendra Modi government that supporting big two private players informally who enmeshed billons of crores of national assets, deliberately given away by Narendra Modi government ill economically planned Government.