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FM Jaitley Tables Demonetisation Bill, TMC Calls It “Illegal”

Jaitley added that the government was well within its right in bringing in demonetisation.

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India
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Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday introduced a bill on demonetisation in the Lok Sabha to formally make the banning of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes a law.

The Specified Bank Notes (Cessation of Liabilities) Bill, 2017, seeks to replace the ordinance on demonetisation promulgated by the government in December 2016.

The bill provides that the specified bank notes, which have ceased to be a legal tender, shall "cease to be liability of Reserve Bank of India". It prohibits the holding, transferring or receiving of the 'specified bank notes' after 31 December 2016.

On and from the appointed day, no person shall, knowingly or unknowingly or voluntarily hold, transfer or receive any specified bank notes.
Specified Bank Notes (Cessation of Liabilities) Bill, 2017

According to the bill, an individual cannot hold more than 10 of the demonetised currency notes irrespective of value, and for the purpose of study or research, not more than 25 notes can be held.

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For the violations of these provisions in Section 5 of the bill, a fine will be imposed, which can be of Rs 10,000 or five times the amount of the old currency notes held – whichever of the two is higher.

Those individuals who were outside India during 9 November to 31 December, or have some other genuine reason, can make a declaration which will be verified by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). If the RBI is satisfied with the reason cited it may credit the value of the old bank notes in the individual’s “Know Your Customer compliant bank account”.

Anyone aggrieved by the RBI's refusal to credit the value of old notes may approach Central Board of the Reserve Bank within 14 days of communication of refusal.

Citing a false statement under this provision would be fined up to Rs 50,000 or five times the amount of bank notes tendered, whichever is higher.

In the Lok Sabha on Friday, as the Finance Minister stood up to introduce the bill, he was opposed by Trinamool Congress member Saugata Roy, who termed the bill "illegal".

This bill is actually illegal because the basic statement by the Prime Minister (on demonetisation), without any notification on 8 November was illegal. No reference was made to the Parliament.
Saugata Roy

"The Reserve Bank writes on currency notes 'I promise to pay the bearer...' The notification (on demonetisation) should have been given by the Reserve Bank of India," the Trinamool member continued.

The government has imposed a disruptive step on the whole country’s economy. I am told that even the Finance Minister did not know about the demonetisation move till the evening before. I oppose the introduction of this bill.

Jaitley, however, said the member was wrong on several accounts.

A bill can be opposed only on two grounds - One that the House does not have legislative competence or it is unconstitutional. His objection is not on either ground.
Arun Jaitley

He added that the government was well within its right in bringing in demonetisation. He also said that revenue and other gains of the budget may not have been fully factored into Budget.

Roy's objection was overruled by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, and the bill was then introduced in the lower house.

(With inputs from PTI)

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