A Public Interest Litigation challenging the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) notification dated May 19, 2023, and the State Bank of India (SBI) notification dated May 20, 2023, has been moved before the Delhi High Court. The plea states that the RBI and SBI notifications which permit an exchange of Rs. 2000 banknotes without obtaining any requisition slip and identity proof are arbitrary and irrational and therefore should be held inoperative.

In the Petition moved under Article 226 of the Constitution by Advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay it has been highlighted that as per the RBI notification, the circulation of Rs. 2000 banknotes have declined from Rs. 6.73 lakh crore to 3.62 lakh crore and that these remaining 3.11 lakh crore have either reached the individual's locker or has been hoarded by the separatists, terrorists, Maoists, drug smugglers, mining mafias & corrupt people.

Upadhyay in his plea has alleged that including 48 crore Jana Dhan Bank accounts of BPL families there are a total of 225 Crore Bank Accounts for a population of 142 Crore people in India and that 130 Crore Indians have AADHAR Cards which depicts that every family has a bank account and therefore the RBI should not permit the exchange of Rs. 2000 notes without obtaining identity proof. The plea also states that 80 Crore Indians receive free grains and would hardly ever use Rs. 2,000/- banknotes.

The petitioner states that there are no reasons why the RBI is permitting the currency exchange instead of directing to deposit of Rs. 2000 notes in the Bank Account and that the High Court should ensure that RBI should only allow the deposition of Rs. 2000 banknotes in bank accounts only.

The PIL states that India is on the highest corruption index in Asia and that the Centre and State must implement stringent anti-corruption laws in order to give a strong message that it is determined to weed out corruption, black money generation, benami transaction and money laundering. "Centre must take steps to reaffirm the rule of law, improve transparency and warn looters that betrayal of public trust will no longer be tolerated" reads the plea.

Upadhyay has also stated that Cash transaction in high-value currency is the main source of corruption and are used for many illegal activities and that the hoarding of cash after demonetizing has not at all reduced but instead increased significantly, the reason should perhaps be in the knowledge of the RBI.

The Petitioner further adds that the notification by RBI and SBI are arbitrarily irrational and violative of Article 14 and seeks the following relief from the High Court: "a) Direct and declare that the RBI Notification dated 19.05.2023 and SBI Notification dated 20.05.2023, which permits an exchange of Rs. 2000 banknotes without obtaining any requisition slip and identity proof, is arbitrary, irrational and offends Articles 14 of the Constitution of India, hence, inoperative; b) direct the RBI and SBI to ensure that Rs. 2000 banknotes are deposited in respective bank accounts only so that no one could deposit the money in others bank account and people having black money and disproportionate assets could be identified easily; c) direct the Centre to take appropriate steps against the black money and disproportionate asset holders in order to weed out corruption, and benami transaction and secure the fundamental rights of citizens."

Cause Title: Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay v. Union Of India & Others [Diary No. 931442 of 2023]