The Chief Justice of India, J S Khehar said, that the government has used its discretion on short notice to permit one category only, even though the law allows the govt to prolong the relief to other categories as well.
The court also wondered as to why the RBI changed its stand when the Prime Minister himself promised in his Nov 8 speech that those with genuine difficulty to deposit demonetised notes by Dec 31 will get chance till Mar 31.
After the government ordered scrapping of the circulation of old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes on November 8 past year, there have been many sudden changes in rules regarding the exchange, withdrawal and deposit of the defunct notes.
The pPrime minister's speech gave hope to those in difficulty to deposit demonetised currency by March 31. The apex court wanted to know from the Central government that why they have refused to take old currency notes.
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The next hearing in the case will be held on April 11.
On December 31, the RBI designated its five offices - Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, and Nagpur - to exchange defunct currency notes beyond the 50-day demonetisation period, subject to certain conditions.
The Ordinance said that only those who were overseas, the armed forces personnel posted in remote areas or others who can give valid reasons for not being able to deposit the cancelled notes at banks, can deposit the demonetised currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes till March 31 this year after the deadline expired on December 30, 2016. It is based on a cluster of Public Interest Litigations or PILs that challenge the RBI for not accepting any deposits of old notes after December.
Of the Rs 15.4 lakh crore worth of currency that was scrapped, Rs 12.44 lakh crore has been deposited in banks or exchanged until 10 December, as per the RBI data.