The Government on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that its move to demonetise Rs 500, Rs 1000 notes was largely a success and that there is no shortage of new currency. The top court was seeking response of all the petitioners, who have challenged the demonetisation move in different high courts, on a plea by the Centre seeking transfer of all these matters to either the apex court or one of the high courts.
However, a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur refused the Centre's request to stay the proceedings pending before various high courts, saying people may get "immediate relief" from them. "We don't want to stay it. There are various issues. People may get immediate relief from the high courts," the bench also comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao told Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi.
During the hearing, the bench asked the AG, "We think you must have taken appropriate steps. What is the situation now? How much have you collected so far?" Responding to it, the AG said the situation is "much better" and more than Rs six lakh crore has been deposited so far in the banks since the demonetisation move.
"More than Rs 6 lakh crore has been deposited so far," the AG said, adding, "There is a big surge in digital use of money transaction." He said the demonetisation move was aimed at removing the 70 years of "slush money" and the government is monitoring the situation day-by-day and hour-by-hour.
He told the bench that government has set up a committee which will take stock of the ground situation across the country on demonetisation move. Rohatgi told the apex court that general rule is that the cash transactions in the market should not be more than four per cent of the GDP but it is 12 per cent in India.
Rohatgi told the bench that various petitions have been filed challenging the demonetisation move before different high courts across the country and these matters should be transferred to the apex court or one of the high courts. The bench has fixed the matter for December 2 and has directed the persons who are petitioners before different high courts to file their response on Centre's transfer plea by then.
The court was informed that "there is a big surge" in digital use of money transaction after demonetisation. Earlier on Wednesday, the government had announced that it had waived of service charge on debit cards payments to encourage digital transactions. Finance Ministry had said the intention behind the decision is to ensure greater penetration of digital transactions into our economy and to ensure that more and more people migrate towards digital transactions.