Demonetisation: Supreme Court says long queues outside banks 'serious issue'

Only the Left parties, the CPI(M) and CPI, have called for a 12-hour bandh (strike) in West Bengal. In photo: People wait in line to withdraw money from a mobile ATM machine in New Delhi. Photograph:( AFP )

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Nov 18, 2016, 10.36 AM (IST)

The Supreme Court of India today dubbed the long queues outside banks and post offices as a "serious issue" following the government's decision to scrap Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes. 

The bench, comprising of Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice A R Dave, expressed its reservation on the government's plea seeking a direction that no other court in the country should entertain petitions challenging the decision. 

The attorney general Mukul Rohatgi submitted that any matter challenging the demonetisation issue be heard by the Supreme Court only.

The apex court ordered all the parties involved to be prepared with data and other issues in writing, after it noted that "some measures are required" to provide relief to the people. 

The court observed, "the people have to go to the high court. If we shut them from going to the high court, how can we know the magnitude of the problem. People going to different courts indicates the magnitude of the problem."

Rohatgi assured the court that "there is no dispute, and the queues are getting shorter".

But the bench questioned the relief measures undertaken by the central government saying, "Last time you said there will be relief for people in the coming days but you have squeezed the exchange limit to Rs 2,000 only. What is the difficulty?"

Elaborating on the steps taken by the government, the AG told the court that there is "no shortage of funds" but stated that after printing, the currency has to be moved to thousands of centres across the country and ATMs have to be re-calibrated.

He added that the farmers have been allowed to withdraw Rs 50,000 and people having weddings at home can withdraw Rs 2.5 lakh.

(WION with inputs from PTI)