Issuance of currency notes and its demonetisation is purely an executive act and it is not open to the courts to step into the said arena

Delhi High Court: In a case where the convict was permitted to deposit the fine amount of Rs.75,000/- in demonitised currency by the learned Special Judge, the Bench of Vipin Sanghi, J. held that the issuance of currency notes and its demonetisation is purely an executive act and it is not open to the courts to step into the said arena and that the aforesaid direction issued by the learned Special Judge is a clear transgression of his authority by the learned Special Judge.

The learned Special Judge permitted the appellant to deposit the said fine in the demonetised currency notes of Rs.1,000 and Rs.500, which became illegal tender from the midnight of 08/09.11.2016 except in respect of specific transactions notified by the Government of India/RBI. The Court observed,”The court could not have enlarged the category of goods, services and purposes for which, and where the said demonetized currency notes could be offered as legal tender. The same was clearly beyond the judicial competence of the learned Special Judge.” It further said that any person who was obliged to, or wished to, deposit any amount in the treasury could do so by procuring a pay order, or other such modes, and it was not necessary for him to deposit the same in cash.

The Court said aside the decision of the learned Special Judge and ordered the appellant to deposit the amount again in a legal manner. It also directed that this order be communicated by the Registry forthwith to the learned Special Judge as well as to all the District Judges for being circulated amongst all the judicial officers within each of the Districts, so that similar relaxation is not granted to any person to permit deposit in the treasury of any amount in the form of demonetized currency notes. [Manoj Kumar Mishra v. CBI,  2016 SCC OnLine Del 6285, decided on 09.12.16]

One comment

  • The learned Special Judge appears to have expanded suo motu the list, notified by the Government, of transactions for which the demonetised currency notes were to be accepted as legal tender. As the Honourable High Court has observed, it amounts to clear judicial transgression onto executive turf. Moreover, a question can be raised as to the propriety of permitting payment of hefty amounts of fine, such as in this case, in cash rather than by an instrument issued by a Bank.

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