Seeking compensation for those who have died or are suffering because of the government's demonetisation policy, veteran RSS leader KN Govindacharya has sent a legal notice to Shaktikanta Das, secretary of the Department of Economic Affairs, over the shoddy implementation of the plan.
In his notification, Govindacharya has asked that the compensation be paid within the next three days, and that failure to act will speak for itself.
Criticising the Narendra Modi government, the veteran RSS leader asked whether the government should be held accountable for the death of more than 40 persons across the country.
On his Facebook page, Govindacharya blamed demonetisation for the total collapse of the economy, pointing out how the entire country is suffering because of the government's 'monumental failure' in implementing the scheme.
He went on to add that the government was duty bound to ensure right of life for every person in the country, as envisaged in Article 21 of the Constitution. Taking a dig at the government over its prompt response to queries by people on Twitter, Govindacharya, in his notice, claimed how the government "showcased its caring nature by providing aid when sought by a tweet, as well as by giving compensation to victims of natural and man-made disasters".
"By your action, innocent people are suffering and black money holders are enjoying. More than 40 persons are reported to have lost their lives, while crores are suffering due to the drastic and improper implementation of demonetisation. My client hereby demands financial and other compensation to all the victims and poor people, who suffered irreparable loss due to this unplanned measure," read the notice.
Against the rules?
Govindacharya claimed that subsequent to the demonetisation notification issued on 8 November, the government issued nine other notifications and many amendments, providing for certain exemptions, which could not be issued under the provisions of the RBI Act, 1934.
According to Govindacharya, the first notification on the demonetisation of the Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes had the recommendation of the RBI. However, the subsequent notifications by the government, also issued under Sec 26(2) of the RBI Act, failed to mention any recommendation of the RBI, which is not only illegal, but also amounts to the negation of RBI's autonomy, as mandated by the Parliament through the RBI Act, 1934.
He went on to add how these illegal exemptions were a result of an unplanned and unprepared measure, because of which the nation could suffer huge losses and irreparable damage to all sectors of the economy.
"The government has no power under Section 26(2) of the RBI Act, 1934, or any other law, to revive bank notes for certain purposes, or allow their limited usage through a separate notification. Hence, the subsequent notification and its amendments do not have any legal source or backing, and hence are void," read the notice, a copy of which has also been sent to RBI governor Urjit Patel.
The notice requests Patel to take urgent remedial action and restore the autonomy of the RBI.
Govindacharya went on to claim that in case the government failed to comply with his demands in the next three days, "it will be deemed that you have accepted all the points raised in this legal notice and your failure will speak for itself".
On the initial assessment and impact of demonetisation, Govindacharya claimed that if the current crisis went on for a month, its impact on the GDP would be around Rs 10 lakh crore. He claimed the printing cost of new currency would be around Rs 15,000-18,000 crore, which would cause huge financial burden on the banks and the government.
Promotion of private companies
He also raised the issue of the lack of security features in the new currency notes, and the government's promotion of private companies like Paytm (backed by Chinese firm Alibaba), which he said was against national interest. He accused the government of promoting private companies, which is marring the growth of the government-owned Unified Payment Interface and the National Payments Corporation of India.
Govindacharya also highlighted how demonetisation had had a huge impact on farmers, who were unable to buy seeds in the absence of cash.
Earlier, the veteran RSS leader had claimed that the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes announced by the Prime Minister would have negligible impact in bringing down the black money in the economy, and would weed out only 3% of it.
"I was surprised and happy after the scheme to withdraw Rs 500 and Rs 1000 was announced, but after giving it deep thought, my excitement fizzled out. These two initiatives by Modiji would take out only 3% of the black money, and would not have any far reaching consequences. This would end up being yet another election jumla of the Prime Minister," he had said.
Edited by Shreyas Sharma
More in Catch