Demonetization and Legality.. A counter to Ms Namita Wahi

This article is a response to the article today in Economic Times by one Ms Namita Wahi, of the Center of Policy Research.

The article appears to be an attempt to influence the Supreme Court which is hearing the PIL and is known to be hostile to the current Government dispensation due to the ongoing controversy on Judicial appointments. It has to be therefore flagged as an unethical act of journalism on the part of both the author and the publication.

I therefore record my strong objection to the article and its intentions.

It is well known that corruption is not unknown in Judiciary. In fact many ex-Supreme Court Justices have vouched in the past brought out the unsavory play of corruption even at the Supreme Court level. It was during the days of Indira Gandhi that Supreme Court was compromised with the superseding of judges to protect the emergency and the stigma has not been completely removed till date. Even now there have been recent incidents that have raised eye brows.

For example, when a High Court judge opts to mis-total an arithmetic table and releases an influential Chief Minster from jail and the Supreme Court allows the appeal to linger on for 6 months (to let the convicted die peacefully outside the jail and the supporters of the convicted canvas for a “Bharat Ratna” award),  the citizens of India do get a signal that atleast some of the so called “Black Money” may be in the hands of past and present judicial members including those working in the respected highest court of the land. In this context, there could be some in the Judiciary who may be itching to at least make provocative comments against the Government to gain some brownie points with the similarly minded press. There may also be sufficient urge  to pass orders couched in the language of “Freedom of Expression”, “Protection of Fundamental Rights” etc to over turn normal executive orders instead of helping the executive to correct its mistakes if any and achieve objectives that are beneficial to the country. We are aware how the scrapping of Section 66A was influenced by media campaign which was gladly lapped up by the Supreme Court and converted into an erudite judgement on Freedom of Speech though it was a completely misplaced interpretation.

We therefore need to ensure that articles such as that of Ms Namita Wahi in leading publications such as Economic Times are not used as tools by the corrupt politicians led by equally corrupt politician advocates to give an excuse to the Judiciary to intervene in the de-monetization issue.

I donot believe that the Supreme Court would be naive enough not to see the upheaval that may be caused in the country if it decides to intervene and over turn the demonetization decision since it has a lot to cover for charges of its own corruption and nepotism in the Judicial appointments. It may however make some adverse comments just to feel that it has done its bit to embarrass the Government.

On the other hand, I urge the Supreme Court and the intelligentia to help the Government tide over the practical difficulties involved in the implementation of the demonetization scheme. People who have been involved in the illegal note exchange scheme both in the Banking system and elsewhere need to be identified and punished along with their political masters who are the root cause for the shortage of currency we see in the general market today.

I have already suggested some measures both to ensure that the obstructive measures of the opposition parties are thwarted as well as to improve the security of digital payment system and protect the interest of the public.

 I would greatly appreciate the Supreme Court if it chastises the Government for

a) not introducing a whistle blower scheme to make public bring any illegal note exchange activities in the Bank or elsewhere to the knowledge of the Government authorities in such a manner that even the Tax authorities are not selective in taking corrective action

b) not providing more incentives for digital payments including complete abolition of “Service Tax” on all digital payments ..even beyond Rs 2000/-

c) not ensuring that the RBI’s limited liability circular of August 11, 2016 is operationalized

d) not introducing a Cyber Insurance Scheme for the public

If the Supreme Court bench hearing the case can push the Government to take such actions expeditiously, the public in India will continue to respect the Judiciary. Otherwise, there is a danger that public will get disheartened that corruption is too deep routed to be disturbed even by Mr Modi.


(P.S: More on the legal issues involved addressed in the follow up article)

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About Vijayashankar Na

Naavi is a veteran Cyber Law specialist in India and is presently working from Bangalore as an Information Assurance Consultant. Pioneered concepts such as ITA 2008 compliance, Naavi is also the founder of Cyber Law College, a virtual Cyber Law Education institution. He now has been focusing on the projects such as Secure Digital India and Cyber Insurance
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