The Delhi High Court has recently sought the Centre’s response on a plea seeking the recall of all banknotes except the Rs. 100 denomination. The plea has been filed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic to curb the spread of the virus through currency notes.
The petition, filed by one Purushottam Sharma, has argued that the circulation of banknotes is a major source of spreading infection and disease. The petitioner has also cited reports of the World Health Organization (WHO) stating that the virus can survive on surfaces, including banknotes, for several hours.
Sharma has suggested that the government should recall all banknotes, except the Rs. 100 denomination, and encourage the use of digital payment methods to promote a cashless economy. The petition also suggests that the government should establish currency exchange counters where people can exchange their old notes for new ones.
The high court has issued a notice to the Ministry of Finance, the Reserve Bank of India, and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, seeking their response on the plea. The court has also asked the Centre to submit a report on the steps taken to ensure that currency notes are not a source of infection.
In response to the plea, the Reserve Bank of India has stated that it has already taken various measures to ensure the safety of banknotes. The RBI has informed the court that it has directed banks to quarantine currency notes that come from areas with a high prevalence of the virus for a minimum of 14 days.
The central bank has also urged the public to use digital payment methods, including online banking and mobile wallets, to reduce the use of cash. Additionally, the RBI has advised people to wash their hands after handling currency notes.
The Delhi High Court has observed that the issue raised in the petition is of public interest and has the potential to affect the lives of millions of people. The court has directed the Centre to submit its response within two weeks and listed the matter for further hearing in June.
In conclusion, the Delhi High Court has sought the Centre’s response on a plea seeking the recall of all banknotes except the Rs. 100 denomination. The plea has been filed to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus through currency notes. While the RBI has already taken measures to ensure the safety of banknotes, the court has deemed the issue to be of public interest and has asked the Centre to submit its response within two weeks. As the pandemic continues to affect the lives of people across the world, the question of how to manage currency notes and promote a cashless economy remains a pressing concern.