New Delhi, February 4: The government yesterday introduced a bill in the Lok Sabha which aims to make holding, transfer and receiving of old 500 and 1,000 rupee notes a criminal offence. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley moved the Specified Bank Notes Cessation of Liabilities Bill, 2017 in the House.As the finance minister stood up to introduce the bill, he was opposed by Trinamool Congress member Saugata Roy, who termed the bill illegal. The Bill is illegal because the basic statement by Prime Minister on November 8 announcing demonetisation was illegal, says Saugata Roy. Jaitley says that Roy's objection doesn't stand. "But his objection is that November 8 notification was not under rule, which is also incorrect."
Jaitley, however, said the member was wrong on several accounts. “A bill can be opposed only on two grounds that the House does not have legislative competence or it is unconstitutional. His objection is not on either grounds.” He said the government was well within its right in bringing in demonetisation. “The November 8 notification was under Section 26-2 RBI had the competence to pass the order.”
The bill states that the government took the demonetisation decision on recommendations of RBI's central board to eliminate unaccounted money and fake currency notes from the financial system. It seeks to end the liability of RBI and the government on the currency notes demonetised in November last year.
Once passed by the Parliament, the bill will replace an ordinance promulgated on 30th December last year which provides for a fine of 10 thousand rupees or five times the cash held, whichever is higher, on holding of more than 10 banned notes.