New Delhi, February 7, 2017

Bill seeks to replace ordinance on demonetisation promulgated by government in Dec 2016

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday moved the Specified Bank Notes (Cessation of Liabilities) Bill for passage in the Lok Sabha to formally make the banning of old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes a law, which includes provision of penalty for holding the demonetised notes.

"Once a currency ceases to be legal tender, you cannot allow it to operate. Holding the currency beyond the permissible limit, will become an offence," Jaitley said.

The Specified Bank Notes (Cessation of Liabilities) Bill, 2017, seeks to replace the ordinance on demonetisation promulgated by the government in December 2016.

The Bill, like the ordinance, provides that the specified bank notes, which have ceased to be legal tender, shall "cease to be liability of Reserve Bank of India".

Brought as a money bill, the Rajya Sabha will not have any major role in its passage.

A financial memorandum with the Bill said it involves decision having impact on the "contingent liabilities of the central government and thus on the consolidated fund of India".

It prohibits the holding, transferring or receiving of the 'specified bank notes' after December 31, 2016.

"On and from the appointed day, no person shall, knowingly or unknowingly or voluntarily hold, transfer or receive any specified bank notes," the Bill said.

According to the Bill, an individual cannot hold more than 10 of the demonetised currency notes irrespective of value, and for the purpose of study or research, not more than 25 notes can be held.

For violation of these provisions, as per Section 5 of the Bill, a fine will be imposed which can be of Rs 10,000 or five times the amount of the old currency notes held - whichever of the two is higher.

Those individuals who were outside India during November 9 to December 31, or any other class of persons specified by the Central government, can make a declaration which will be verified by the Reserve Bank of India. If the RBI is satisfied with the reason cited it may credit the value of the old bank notes in the individual's "Know Your Customer compliant bank account".

Anyone aggrieved by RBI's refusal to credit the value of old notes may approach the Central Board of the Reserve Bank within 14 days of communication of refusal.

Citing a false statement under this provision would be fined upto Rs 50,000 or five times the amount of bank notes tendered, whichever is higher.

[The Business Standard]