The Attorney General of India, Mukul Rohatgi, has informed the Supreme Court that mere possession of the demonetized Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes will be illegal after the 31st of March, 2017.
Old demonetized notes can be deposited in banks till the 30th of December 2016 and can be deposited in banks from 31st December 2016 to the 31st of March, 2017 by giving an explanation. However, possessing or transferring any demonetized notes post that will be a punishable offence. The Attorney General made this statement of behalf of the Union government in front of a bench of Supreme Court Chief Justices T S Thakur and Justice D Y Chandrachud. Also, after the 30th of December, the demonetized notes will have to be deposited directly with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) along with an explanation for not depositing these notes earlier.
A hefty fine will be imposed on those who possess old currency notes in excess of Rs 10,000. A minimum fine of Rs 50,000 or ten times the amount , whichever is higher has been suggested to deter people from keeping old demonetized notes. Any violation of this rule will have criminal liability and these cases will be heard by Municipal magistrates.
However, there has been no confirmation as to when such an act may be tabled in Parliament to make it an official law.
The Attorney General also admitted that many tricks have been used by black money hoarders to convert their cash into white and the Government was monitoring the situation to bring every illegal activity to book. The Government was currently studying the Modus Operandis of various people to cleverly route their black money into the main stream.
The bench of the Supreme Court Justices also asked if the printing of the new currency notes could be done quickly to ease the stress of banks and Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs). Mr. Rohatgi mentioned that he was not a liberty to discuss these things in court at the moment as it was a sensitive security issue and could not be discussed in public.