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Bharata Bharati

Demonetisation

Mathew IdicullaFor people without bank accounts, demonetisation amounts to compulsory acquisition of property without provision for compensation as their old currency is no longer exchangeable. – Mathew Idiculla

I promise to pay the bearer the sum of X Rupees, declares the RBI governor on every Indian bank note. As fiat currency, it is the state’s guarantee that makes these pieces of paper a legitimate medium of exchange. This contract between the state and the citizen was broken, at least partially, on November 8 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the 500 and 1,000 rupee notes hoarded by “anti-national and anti-social elements” are now “just worthless pieces of paper”.

The Centre’s move rendering 86 per cent of the currency invalid raises serious legal and institutional questions. Can the promise made by the RBI governor be rescinded by the government in such a manner? Further, can the Centre restrict a citizen’s right to…

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