Delhi HC-weddings cash withdrawal limits not unjustified and unwarranted as the rigid conditions apply only when payments exceeds Rs. 10000/-
ABCAUS Case Law Citation:
ABCAUS 1069 (2016) (11) HC
Important Case Laws cited:
Parisons Agrotech (P) Ltd. v. Union of India (2015) 9 SCC 657,
Manohar Lal Sharma v. Union of India (2013) 6 SCC 616,
Union of India v. Dinesh Engg. Corpn. (2001) 8 SCC 491
BALCO Employees’ Union Vs. Union of India (2002) 2 SCC 333
Yesterday, a Division Bench of Delhi High Court headed by Chief Justice refused to entertain a writ petition against the imposing limits on cash withdrawals for weddings post demonetization of Rs. 500/- and Rs. 1000/- bank notes.
The petitioner had contended that that post demonetisation the Government vide Circular dated 21.11.2016, permitted cash withdrawals from the bank deposit accounts subject to certain limits for the purpose of celebration of weddings.
However according to the petitioner, the condition imposed in the Circular dated 21.11.2016 that the application for withdrawal shall be accompanied by a list of persons to whom the cash withdrawn is proposed to be paid together with a declaration from such persons that they do not have a bank account, being impossible of compliance is arbitrary and illegal.
It is further contended that the Government should have also granted exemption for the purpose of payment of license fees to the Advocate’s chambers in Delhi Courts as well as payment of fine/costs/court fees and other similar payments made in terms of the order of the Court since the same would be received by the Government Treasury.
The Court, however observed that according to the Government old bank notes can exchanged/deposited be 30th December, 2016, subject to certain conditions/restrictions imposed on the cash withdrawals over the counter and from Automatic Teller Machines (ATM). It was also observed that the notification itself demonstrated that the said decision was taken having regard to the fact that fake currency notes of the existing series of the value of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 have been largely in circulation and it has been found difficult to easily identify genuine bank notes from the fake ones.
The Court noted that the petitioner had not challenged the Notification dated 8.11.2016, however, the grievance of the petitioner is only to the extent of condition imposed under paragraph 2(vi)(c) vide Circular dated 21.11.2016 with regard to the limits of cash withdrawal for the purpose of celebration of wedding.
It was further observed by the Court that on 22.11.2016, another Circular was issued modifying the instructions contained in paragraph 2(vi)(c) and the modified condition provide that detailed list of persons to whom the cash withdrawn is proposed to be paid, together with a declaration is required only where the amount proposed to be paid is ₹10,000/- or more.
According to the Court, the contention that the conditions imposed are impossible of compliance was untenable since there is no ban on circulation of the bank notes of the value of Rs.100 and less than that and particularly in view of the fact that the declaration is required only where the amount proposed to be paid is Rs 10,000 or more.
Though the Court was of the view that restrictions on inflow of liquid cash might have resulted in some inconvenience to the public, but having regard to the fact that there is no restriction in using any non cash method such as payment through cheques, demand drafts, credit or debit cards, mobile wallets and electronic fund transfer mechanisms or the like, the contentions raised by the petitioner were without substance.
Moreover, the Court clarified that the law is well settled that on matters affecting policy Court will not interfere unless the policy is unconstitutional or contrary to statutory provisions or arbitrary or irrational or in abuse of power. Since the policy decisions are taken based on expert knowledge and the Courts are normally not equipped to question the correctness of the same. The scope of judicial enquiry is therefore confined to the question whether the decision taken by the Government is against any statutory provision or it violates the fundamental rights of the citizens or is opposed to the provisions of the Constitution of India.
The Court further stated that It is also a settled principle of law that the power of judicial review cannot be extended to determine the correctness of a policy decision or to find out whether there could be more appropriate or better alternatives.