By Jayesh Shah*
Because of demonetization in the country, people are very much inconvenienced, and on the other hand discussions are rife that black money continues to be deposited. People experience difficulties as to what the truth is in this matter. Taking that into account a discussion and deliberation session was organized by the ‘Seva Gurjarai Trust’ recently at Ahmedabad.
Reputed lawyers, economists, activists and educationists participated in it and expressed their considered views on the subject matter. Kicking off the discussions former Chief Minister Sureshbhai Mehta gave a detailed account about personality and mindset of the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. The latter had made successful experiments in Gujarat on how to capture and retain the power. Based on documentary evidences, Mehta gave a number of illustrations wherein, Narendra Modi had made flagrant violations of the constitution, beginning of which was made from Kutch.
Mehta dwelt at length to provide detailed information on modus operandi adopted by Narendra Modi to suppress or camouflage circumstances wherein the use of the government fund for celebration of different festivities is banned. Mehta informed that even without declaring emergency in the country such an atmosphere has been created that impact of emergency shall be felt in each and every house-hold.
Demonetization is such a kind of step that, with it sensitivity of all shall be tested and at the same time by suppressing opposition it creates an impression as if that step enjoys overwhelming support of all. If this step succeeds then he plans to over-power judiciary and to establish his control or hold all over. Mehta expressed the fear that if it so happens then democracy of the country shall be annihilated.
Eminent activist and stalwart lawyer Girishbai Patel asserted that this steps is violative of Article 21 of the Constitution as the demonetization as resulted into loss of livelihood of many people and some have even lost their lives. He exclaimed how is it possible that bank can refuse to give back your own money. Rule of the Reserve Bank of India provides that for the purpose of demonetization it can only be done if there is recommendation of 20 persons of which the Board of Directors of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is constituted. This goes to prove that the statement of the Prime Minister that information of this decision was with 3 persons only may turn out to be wrong and it can certainly be told that this recommendation was indeed in the knowledge of 20 persons and if it was not in the knowledge of the Board of Directors then on that score the Supreme Court can also declare it to be unconstitutional.
Former professor of economics Rohitbhai Shukla said that pursuant to this decision Rs. 13 lakh crores out of Rs. 17 Lakhs to 18 Lakhs crores had already been deposited and still there is enough time left. If remaining Rs. 4 lakh to 5 lakh crores come to be deposited then it can imply that there was no black money at all in the country and hence the country is thoroughly clean and devoid of black money.
Even when more than 90 people have lost their lives in the face of demonetization no regrets or solace have been uttered by the government which is a fitting illustration of insensitivity on the part of the government. Reason for lack of any major protest even while these many deaths have taken place appears to be that some 38 allied organizations affiliated to the BJP which took leading role during the regime of Congress have become mute or quiet.
Senior economist Hemantkumar Shah said that while making announcement on demonetization the Prime Minister had asserted that with it there will be end to monstrous problem of black money, terrorism etc. but no such outcome is visible. There is no information on record that Government of India had lodged any complaint before the International Monetary Fund as regards counterfeit currency notes being smuggled into India by Pakistan including by other countries such as Thailand and Nepal. Besides informing that there is possibility of decline in the GDP by 1% to 3.5 % due to monetization, he expressed the fear that country’s economy shall be in doldrums. He voiced the apprehension that due to demonetization, many people shall lose their jobs and economic chaos or anarchy may emerge in the country. He stated that in the context of economic prudence the step does not appear to me to be rational. No country in the world has resorted to such a step so as to abolish the black money. Yes, to control the inflation some countries have taken recourse to such type of action. If terrorism can be checked in this way then America and European countries would have taken such kind of step.
In reply to a question, Gautam Thaker, general secretary of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Gujarat, said that during the tenure of Narendra Modi in Gujarat one top leader was involved facing the charges framed against him in extortion money case and as revealed from some 200 cases lying with the DIG, on which information was sought pursuant to Right to Information (RTI) Act; although the Chief Information Officer has also ordered to divulge this information, the information asked for is not being furnished.
*Managing Trustee, Seva Gurjari Trust, Ahmedabad