Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government seems to have heaved a shy of relief after the top court validated its more than six-year-old “ notbandi” move.

Had the majority judgement gone against its decision, Modi government would have faced uproar from among the opposition camps. This could have generated an anti-Modi campaign ahead of the 2024 general elections. Now, with judgement up roving its note bandi decision, it can draw milane in public. 

However, the verdict was not unanimous. Justice B V Navarathna who was one among the five-judge bench who upheld the Modi government’s decision to demonetise RS 500 and Rs 1000 notes on November 8, 2016, differed from four others’ orders.

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What she said in her judgement was this. Justice Nagarathan held the view that the process adopted by the Centre was wrong. The scrapping of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 series notes had to be done through “legislation”, and not through “ notification.” She took a different view from four other judges on the Centre’s power under 26(2) of the RBI Act.

“When the proposal for demonetisation originates from the Central Govt, it is not under Section 26(2) RBI Act. It is to be way of legislation, and if secrecy is needed, then by way of an Ordinance,” said Justice B V Nagarathna.

In any case, the SC’s 4:1 majority verdict upheld the Centre’s 2016 decision on demonetisation and thereby gave relief to the Modi government.

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