The government on Friday introduced a bill in Lok Sabha that provides for holding, transfer and receiving of old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes a criminal offence, punishable with a minimum fine of Rs 10,000.
Holding of more than 10 scrapped notes of Rs 500/1000 denomination will be punishable with a minimum fine of Rs 10,000, according to a new bill introduced in the bill.
The bill, to replace the ordinance promulgated on December 30, also provides for a minimum fine Rs 50,000 for false declaration by persons who were abroad during the demonetisation period (November 9-December 30, 2016) and given time to deposit the scrapped notes with RBI till March 31.
Those keeping the junked notes for study, research or numismatics purposes would be exempt from penalty provided they hold not more than 25 number of such notes irrespective of the denomination.
The introduction of the bill was opposed by TMC leader Saugata Roy, triggering a banter between him and Jaitley who questioned the ground on which Roy was opposing the move.
Roy then took a jibe at Jaitley, saying the minister was not aware of the Lok Sabha rules as he was never its member. Jaitley is a member of the Rajya Sabha.
The jibe evoked strong objections from the treasury benches with Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar saying the finance minister is an esteemed member of the Cabinet and adjudged outstanding Parliamentarian.
Allowed by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to express his objection, Roy said the bill is illegal as the demonetisation statement made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was without any notification and it should have come from the RBI as it is the central bank which promises to pay the bearer of a currency note its real value.
“It is outside the minister’s legislative competence. It (bill) is anti-national… Having never been a member of this House, he does not understand its rules,” he said.
Jaitley said Roy was incorrect in several aspects and cited the law under which the demonetisation notification was introduced to asset that the due process was followed.