RBI tells High Court: PIL not a weapon to challenge financial decisions


Public interest litigation (PIL) cannot be used as a “weapon to challenge financial or economic decisions”, the RBI has told the Delhi High Court opposing a plea against the surcharge on credit and debit card transactions.

The plea has alleged that the surcharge levied by the banks and the financial institutions on credit and debit card transactions was “illegal” and “discriminatory”.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has urged a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal to dismiss the PIL.

“The decisions are taken by the RBI in exercise of its administrative/statutory powers and in public interest.

“The issues in the writ petition pertain purely to the economic policy of the state and the challenge to the same at the instance of a public-spirited person cannot fall within the parameters of PIL, as has been laid down by the Supreme Court from time to time,” the RBI submitted.

The response of the federal bank came on the PIL filed by advocate Amit Sahni who alleged that though Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetisation move was beneficial, the decision to levy surcharge on credit and debit card transactions was “highly unfortunate”.

“The issue raised in the present petition almost affects everyone operating a bank account,” the plea said, adding that the “unlawful, unequal and arbitrary treatment is visible in the payment of petrol charges through credit and debit cards”.

The lawyer said that levying surcharge is not only illegal and discriminatory but it also promotes circulation of black money.

The RBI, however, refuted the petitioner’s contention and said that it has neither violated any fundamental right or any legal right of the petitioner or any citizen of India.

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