09 August 1996
Supreme Court


Case number: Writ Petition (Civil) 1188 of 1979






DATE OF JUDGMENT:       09/08/1996


CITATION:  JT 1996 (7)   681        1996 SCALE  (5)741



JUDGMENT:                           W I T H            WRIT PETITION (C) NOS. 97-100 OF 1981 Devkumar Gopaldas Aggarwal & Ors. V. Reserve Bank of India & Anr.                        J D G M E N T M.K. MUKHERJEE. J.      The constitutional  validity of  the High  Denomination Bank Notes  (Demonetization) Act, 1978 (hereinafter referred to as  the ’Demonetization  Act) and the legality of certain orders  passed  thereunder  are  under  challenge  in  these petitions under Article 32 of the Constitution of India. The Act replaced  an Ordinance,  bearing a  similar title, which was promulgated  by the President and had come into force on January 16,  1978. To  appreciate the  contentions raised on behalf of  the petitioners  it will  be necessary,  at  this stage to  refer not  only to the relevant provisions of  the Demonetization Act  but also  of the  Reserve Bank  of India Act, 1934  (’RBI Act for short), which empowers Reserve Bank of India (Bank for short) to issue bank notes and imposes an obligation upon it to exchange those notes.      The Bank  has been  constituted under  the RBI  Act  to regulate the issue of bank notes and the keeping of reserves with a  view to  security monetary  stability in  India  and generally to  operate the  currency and credit system of the country to  its advantage.  Section 22  of that Act provides that the Bank shall have the sole right to issue bank notes. Section 24,  which prescribes the denomination of the notes, reads as under :      (1) Subject  to the  provisions  of      sub-section (2) bank notes shall be      of the denominational values of two      rupees, five  rupees,  ten  rupees,      twenty  rupees,  fifty  rupees  one



    thousand  rupees,   five   thousand      rupees and  ten thousand  rupees or      of   such    other   denominational      values, not  exceeding ten thousand      rupees, as  the Central  Government      may, on  the recommendation  of the      Central  Board,   specify  in  this      behalf.      (2) The  central Government may, on      the recommendation  of the  Central      Board, direct  the non-issue of the      such  discontinuance  of  issue  of      bank notes  of such  denominational      values as  it may  specify in  this      behalf."      Section 26  lays down  that every  bank note  shall  be legal tender  at any place in India in payment or on account of the  amount expressed  therein and shall be guaranteed by the  Central  Government.  It  further  lays  down  that  on recommendation of   the Central Board the Central Government may however  by notification in the Gazette of India declare that with  effect from  such data  as may  specified in  the notification any  series of  bank notes  of any denomination shall cease  to be  legal tender  except at  such office  or agency of the Bank and to such extent as may be specified in the notification.  The other Section of the RBI Act relevant for our  purposes is Section 39 which imposes on the Bank an express obligation  to issue,  rupee coin  or notes of lower values on  demand, in  exchange for  bank notes and currency notes of the Government of India.      On a  conspectus of the above provisions of the RBI Act is patently  clear that  Bank is    the  sole  note  issuing authority and  has the  obligation to  exchange those  notes when demand  except when,  and to the extent, it is relieved of  that obligation by the Central Government.      Coming now  to the  Demonetization Act as we first find that high denomination bank note has been defined in Section 2 (d) to mean a bank note of the denominational value of the one thousand  rupees, five  thousand rupees  or ten thousand rupees issued  by the  Reserve Bank. Section 3 declares that on expiry  of January  16, 1978  all high  denomination bank notes shall notwithstanding anything contained in Section 26 of the  Reserve Bank  of India Act, 1934 (emphasis supplied) cease to  be legal  tender in  payment or  on account at any place. Section  4 which  prohibits transfer  and receipt  of high denomination bank notes reads as follows :      "Save as  provides by or under this      Act, no  person  shall,  after  the      16th of  January, 1978, transfer to      possession  of  another  person  or      receive into  his  possession  from      another     person     any     high      denomination bank note." Section 7  and B  of the  Demonetization Act, around which a large part  of the  arguments of  the petitioners  revolves, reads as under :      "Section  7,   Exchange   of   high      denomination  bank  notes  held  by      other persons :-      (1) Notwithstanding anything to the      contrary contained  in the  Reserve      Bank  of   India  Act,   1934,  any      denomination bank  note owned  by a      person  other   than  a   bank   or      Government    Treasury    may    be



    exchanged after  the  16th  day  of      January, 1978,  only on  tender  of      the note ----      (a)  where  the  high  denomination      bank   note    is   owned   by   an      individual,   by   the   individual      himself; or where the individual is      absent   from    India,   by    the      individual concerned or some person      duly  authorized  by  him  in  this      behalf; or  where the individual is      mentally     incapacitated     from      attending to  his affairs,  by  his      guardian or  by  any  other  person      competent to act on his behalf;      (b)tof.............................      and within  the  time  and  in  the      manner provided  in this section.      (2) Every person desiring to tender      for exchange  a  high  denomination      bank note  under this section shall      prepare in  the form set out in the      Schedule   three    copies   of   a      declaration signed by him giving in      the full  and shall, not later than      the  19th  day  of  January,  1978,      deliver  such   copies  in   person      together with the high denomination      bank notes he desires to exchange -      --      (a) to (c) .... .... ...           Provided that  if such  person      resides  in   a  place  not  within      convenient reach of any such office      or branch, or if, by reason of age,      infirmity or  illness he is  unable      to attend  thereat, he  may forward      the high denomination bank notes he      desires to  exchange together  with      three copies  of the declaration in      respect thereof  by insured post to      the  Reserve  Bank  at  Bombay  not      later than the 19th day of January,      1978.      (3) ..... ...... .... ...      (4) Unless  it appears  that    the      declaration has  not been  complete      in all  material  particulars,  the      Reserve Bank, the State Bank or any      Bank notified  under   the State of      Bank or any Bank notified under Cl.      (c) of  sub-section (2) as the case      may be, to which an application for      exchange of high  denomination bank      notes is  made  under this section,      shall pay the exchange value of the      said notes  shall be  paid only  on      proper  identification   and  until      payment  is  so  made,  the  amount      shall remain  in the custody of the      Reserve Bank  or the  Bank, as  the      case may  be,  to  which  the  high      denomination   bank    notes   were      tendered.      (5)  where   it  appears  that  the



    declaration has  not been completed      in all  material  particulars,  the      Reserve Bank, the State Bank or the      notified Bank , as the case may be,      to  which   such   application   as      aforesaid is made shall, unless the      declarant   is able  to supply  the      omission without  delay, refuse  to      accept and  pay for  the bank notes      to which  the declaration  relates,      anywhere it  does  so  refuse,shall      return one  copy of the declaration      to  the  declarant  after  entering      therein the  date on  which it   is      presented  and   shall  refer   the      matter to the Central Government to      which it  shall forward  a copy  of      the  declaration   with   a   brief      statement  of   the   reasons   for      refusing to pay for the bank notes.      (6)  The   Central  Government  may      require any  declarant referred  to      in sub-section  (5) to  amplify his      declaration to  such extent  and in      respect of  such particulars as  it      thinks  fit  and  may,  unless  the      declarant is  able to  fully comply      with such  requirement refuse,  for      reasons to  be recorded in writing,      to sanction  the  exchange  of  the      high  denomination  bank  notes  to      which the declaration relates.      (7) The  Central Government  or any      person or  authority authorized  by      it in  this behalf may, be order in      writing  and   for  reasons  to  be      recorded  therein,  extend  in  any      case or  class of  cases the period      during which high denomination bank      notes may  be tendered for exchange      under this section.      Section 8 - Exchange of notes after      the time limit specified in 6.7      (1)    Notwithstanding     anything      contained in  6.7, any  person  who      fails to  apply for exchange of any      high denomination bank notes within      the time  provided in  that section      may tender  the notes together with      the declaration required under that      section to  the Reserve Bank at any      of the  places specified  in clause      (a) of   sub-section  (2) of   that      section, not   later  than 24th day      of January,  1978 together  with  a      statement  explaining  the  reasons      for his failure to apply within the      said time limit :           Provided that  if such  person      resides  in   a  place  not  within      convenient reach of the sub-office,      office or  branch  of  the  Reserve      Bank at  any of  the said places on      if, by  reason of age, infirmity or      illness, he  is  unable  to  attend



    thereat, he  may forward  the  high      denomination bank  notes he desires      to exchange together with the three      copies of  the declaration required      under 5.7  by post  to the  Reserve      Bank at  Bombay not  later than the      24th day  of January,  1978,  along      with  a  statement  explaining  the      reasons for  his failure  to  apply      within  the   time   specified   in      Section 7.      (2)  The   Reserve  Bank   may,  if      satisfied   after    making    such      inquiries  as   it   may   consider      necessary that   the  reasons   for      the failure  to  submit  the  notes      for  exchange   within   the   time      provided in  6.7 are  genuine,  pay      the value  of   the  notes  in  the      manner specified in sub-section (4)      of that section.      (3) Any  person  aggrieved  by  the      refusal of  the Reserve Bank to pay      the value  of the  notes under sub-      section (2) may prefer an appeal to      the   Central   Government   within      fourteen days  of the communication      of  such refusal to him."      In assailing the Demonetization Act is was contended on behalf of the petitioners that it violated their fundamental rights enshrined  in Articles  19 (1)  (f)  and  31  of  the Constitution (since  repealed), which were available to them at the material time. In elaborating their contention it was submitted that  Bank to  make payment  of high  denomination bank notes  whenever tendered  and  the  Central  Government guaranteed such  payment but on promulgation of the impugned Act those  notes ceased  to be legal tender, notwithstanding the above  provision of   the  RBI Act, in view of Section 3 thereof; and,  resultantly, the Bank and for that matter the Central  Government   stood   discharged   of   their   such obligations. In  other words,  according to the petitioners, the impugned  Act extinguished  the debts due and owing from the Bank to the holders of the high denomination bank notes. the petitioners contended  that such extinguishment of debts amounted to  compulsory acquisition   of property within the meaning of  Article 31(2)  of the Constitution and since the acquisition was  not made  for a public purpose nor adequate and appropriate provisions were incorporated in the impugned Act for  payment of  compensation  in  respect  thereof  the impugned Act was violative of the above Article. Besides,the petitioners contended, they had a right to  acquire and hold the high  denomination bank  notes and to carry on any trade or business  by using   the  same  in the course thereof and the Demonetization  Act in  so far  as it  provided for non- payment of  exchange value  of high  denomination bank notes except in  those cases mentioned in Section 7 and 8 thereof, it imposed  unreasonable restriction  on  their  fundamental rights under Article 19 (1) (f) and (g) of the Constitution. Since it  cannot be  disputed that  the direct effect of the High  Denomination   Bank  Notes   (Domination  Bank   Notes (Demonetization) Ordinance,  1978 is  the wiping  out  of  a public debt  owing to  the holders  of the high denomination bank notes  from the  state, the  other  contention  of  the petitioners that  their property  was compulsorily  acquired has got  to be accepted in view of Pathak vs. Union of India



(1978) 2  SCC 50  wherein it  has been  held  that  property within the  meaning of  Article 19 (1) (f) and clause (2) of Article 31  comprises every  form of  property, tangible  or intangible, including  debts and  chooses in action and that extinguishment of a public debt due and owing from the State amounts to compulsory acquisition of such debt.      The  next   question   that   necessarily   falls   for determination is  whether such  acquisition was for a public purpose for  under Article  31  (2)  no  property  could  be compulsorily acquired except for a public purpose. To answer this question  we may profitably look to the preamble of the Demonetization Act which reads as follows :      Whereas the  availability  of  high      denomination bank  notes facilities      the illicit  transfer of  money for      financing  transactions  which  are      harmful to  the national economy or      which are  for illegal purposes and      it is  therefore necessary  in  the      public interest  to demonetize high      denomination bank notes."      From the above preamble it is manifest that the Act was passed to  avoid the grave menace of unaccounted money which had resulted  not only in affecting seriously the economy of the country  but had  also deprived  the State  Exchanger of vast amounts  of its revenue. Considering the evil the above Act sought  to remedy  it cannot  be said  that   it was not enacted  for   a  public   purpose.  The  petitioners  other contention based  on 19  (1) (f) and (g) of the Constitution is wholly  misconceived for  after compulsory acquisition of their property  by the  impugned Act  the petitioners  right thereto stood  extinguished and consequently the question of reasonable restriction  to the  exercise or  enjoyment of  a right, which  became  non  est,  could  not  arise.  Equally untenable is  the petitioners  right they  were deprived  of their right  to get  compensation for  such acquisition,  as Sections 7  & 8  of  the  Demonetization  Act  lay  down  an elaborate procedure  to apply  for and obtain an equal value of the high denomination bank notes in the manner prescribed thereunder.      It was,  however, contended  on behalf  of  petitioners that even  if it  was assumed  that Article  31 had not been violated the  time  prescribed  for  exchange  of  the  high denomination   bank notes  under Sections  7 and  8  of  the Demonetization Act  was unreasonable  and violative of their fundamental rights. When the above provisions of the Act are considered in  the context of the purpose the Demonetization Act sought  to achieve,  namely, to stop circulation of high denomination bank  notes as   early  as possible,  the above contention of the petitioners cannot be accepted. Consequent upon the  high denomination  bank notes  ceasing to be legal tender on  the expiry of January 16, 1978 and in view of the prohibition in the transfer of possession of such notes from one person  to another thereafter as envisaged under Section 4, it was absolutely necessary to ensure that no opportunity was available to the holders of high denomination bank notes to transfer  the same  to the  possession of  others. At the same  time   it  was   necessary  to   afford  a  reasonable opportunity to  the holders  of such  notes to  get the same exchanged. However,  if the  time for  such exchange was not limited the high denomination bank notes could be circulated and transferred  without the  knowledge of  the  authorities concerned from one person to another and any such transferee could walk  into the  Bank on  any day thereafter and demand exchange of  his notes. In that case it would have been well



high impossible  for the  Bank to  prove that such a  person was not  the owner  or holder  of the  notes on  January 16, 1978. Needless  to say in such an eventually the very object which the  Demonetization Act  sought to  achieve would have been   defeated. Obviously,  to strike   a  balance  between these competing  and disparate considerations that Section 7 (2) of  the Demonetization  Act limited the time to exchange the notes  till January  19, 1978. However, even thereafter, in view of Section 8, the high denomination bank notes could be exchanged  from the  Bank till  January 24, 2978 provided the tenderers  was able  to  explain  the  reasons  for  his failure  to   apply  for   such  exchange  within  the  time stipulated under  Section (2)  of Demonetization  Act. Apart from  the   above  provisions  regarding  exchange  of  high denomination  bank   notes  by  the  Bank  within  the  time stipulated therein,  provision has  been made in sub-section 97) of  Section 7,  permitting the  Central Government,  for reasons to  be recorded in writing, to extend in any case or class of  cases   the period  during which high denomination bank notes  may be  tendered for  exchange. From  a combined reading of  Sections 7  and 8  it is evidently clear that on furnishing a  declaration complete  in  all  particulars  in accordance with  sub-section (2) of Section 7 by January 19, 1978, the  holder was  entitled to get the exchange value of his notes  from the  Bank  without  any  let  or  hindrance; thereafter, till  January 24,  1978, he was entitled to such exchange from  the Bank  if he  could satisfactorily explain the reasons  for his  inability to apply by January 19, 1978 and after  that date the Central Government was empowered to extend the period of such exchange. Such being the scheme of the Act  regarding exchange  of high denomination bank notes it cannot  be said that the time and the manner in which the high  denomination   bank  notes  could  be  exchanged  were unreasonable,  unjust   and  violative  of  the  petitioners fundamental rights.      Now that  we have  found the Demonetization Act to be a valid piece  of legislation,  we  may  proceed  to  consider whether the orders passed by the respondents, in exercise of their powers  thereunder,  refusing  to  exchange  the  high denomination bank notes of the respective petitioners of the writ petitions are justified or not. WRIT PETITION NO. 1188 OF 1979      The Petitioner  is the  Chairman of  a  relief  Society which runs  a medical  dispensary at Surat. In the year 1974 the Executive  Committee of the Society decided to construct a public  charitable hospital.  With that object in view the Executive  Committee   decided  to   collect  funds  through donations and  for that  purpose donation boxes were kept at Surat and  Bombay. As  per Managing  Committee’s  resolution dated August  4, 1974  these boxes  were opened from time to time in  presence of  the Chairman  and Vice-Chairman of the Society and  the  amounts  so  collected  were  recorded  in separate minute books.      Accordingly  to   petitioner,  immediately   after  the promulgation   of   the   High   Denomination   Bank   Notes (Demonetization)  Ordinance,   1978,  on  January  16,  1978 instructions were given to the office bearers of the Society both at  Bombay and Surat not accept any deposit or to allow anyone to  deposit any  high denomination  bank notes in the collection boxes  after midnight  of January  16, 1978.  For that purpose  the boxes  at  Surat  and  Bombay  were  taken possession of  by the  respective offices  bearers and steps were taken  by the Society to open the boxes. The collection boxes at  Bombay, which  were opened  in  the  afternoon  of January 17, 1978, were found to contain Rs. 22, 11, 000/- in



high denomination  bank notes.  The amount  so received  was properly minuted  in the minute book and entered in the cash book.  Thereafter   the  Society   obtained  the   requisite statutory declaration  form to  be submitted for exchange of those notes  and along  with the  declaration delivered  the notes to  the State  Bank of  India, Bombay  on January  19, 1978.      As regards  the boxes at Surat the petitioner’s case is that they  were opened  on January  20, 1978  and  found  to contain Rs.  34, 76,  000/- in high denomination bank notes. The above  sum of money along with the requisite declaration was deposited  by the  petitioner in  the bank  in Bombay on January 23,  1978 along  with a  letter explaining the delay for failure  to deposit the same within the prescribed time. Thereafter from  time to  time the Society addressed letters to the State Bank of India, Bombay asking for the payment of the   value of  the high  denomination bank notes deposited. But it  did not   receive  any reply thereto until April 25, 1978, when  the Society  received an  order of  the Currency Officer of  the Bank  rejecting their  claim for exchange of the high  denomination Bank  notes receive  in Surat  on the grounds, that  the Society  had not explained satisfactorily its failure  to open  the collection boxes immediately after the issue  of  the  Ordinance  and  that  it  had  not  been established to  his satisfaction  that the notes had reached the Society  before demonetization.  Aggrieved by  the above order the Society preferred an appeal under Section 8 (3) of the Demonetization  Act to  the  Central  Government.  After giving  a  personal  hearing  to  the  Society  the  Central Government dismissed the appeal with the following findings:      "As far as the notes found at Surat      are concerned,  the  Government  of      India agree  with the  Reserve Bank      of India  that the  failure on  the      part of the trust to open after the      issue of  Ordinance  has  not  been      satisfactorily    explained.    The      trustees have admitted knowledge of      the promulgation  of the  Ordinance      on the  evening  of  16th  January,      1978 and opened the boxes at Bombay      on 17th  of January,  1978 and then      declared on  the 23rd  of  January,      1978 does  leave scope for doubt as      to  whether   the    trust  was  in      possession of the high denomination      notes  on   or  before   the   16th      January, 1978 and not subsequently.      The  Trust   has   also   furnished      details of  the collection from the      boxes on  earlier occasions, During      1977 the  boxes were opened on five      occasions, the details of the which      are as follows :-      Details of cash boxes collection at      Surat      1977                     Amount      January                  Rs. 18,012      April                    Rs. 16,161      May                      Rs. 56,000      June                     Rs. 10,000      11th November            Rs. 20,051      On  the   previous  occasions   the      amounts  were   much  less  and  on      11thNovember, 1977  they were  only



    Rs. 20,051/-.  Thus in  more than 5      months, June 77 to November 77, the      total  collections  were  a  little      over to  Rs. 20,000/- which come to      an average of about Rs. 5,000/- per      month. Keeping  these facts in view      it seems,  most unlikely  that  the      donations in  the next  two  months      i.e. November,  1977 to January 16,      1978   would   aggregate   to   Rs.      34,74,519/-    out     of     which      denomination  notes   besides   the      appellant had also not been able to      prove that  even in  the  past  the      trust was getting donations in high      denomination notes from the charity      boxes and  that this  was a regular      feature."      In impugning  the order  of the Currency Officer of the Bank it  was submitted  on behalf  of the petitioner that no opportunity of being heard was given to the Society so as to enable it to explain the reasons for delay in submitting the declaration form.  Even if we proceed on the assumption that such an  opportunity for  personal hearing was imperative to comply with  the rules  of natural  justice  the  petitioner cannot raise  any grievance  on that score for the Appellate Authority gave  them such  an opportunity  before dismissing their appeal. This apart, as noticed earlier, the Appellants Authority has  given detailed  reasons for  its inability to accept the  explanation of  the Society  for not  filing the declaration in time. Under the Demonstration Act if a holder of high  denomination bank  notes had  acquired those  notes after January  16, 1978 he would not be entitled to exchange the same,  if therefore,  the Bank  and  Central  Government obtained a  satisfaction that  the Society  failed to  prove that the  high denomination  bank notes  for which value was claimed had  reached its hands on or before January 16, 1978 payment  could  legitimately  be  refused.  It  was  however contended that  the respondents  having accepted their claim for exchange  in respect  of notes  found in  the collection boxes of  Bombay ought  to have  accepted their  explanation offered by  them in  respect of the notes received at Surat. It appears  that  this  contention  was  raised  before  the Appellate  Authority   which  rejected  the  same  with  the following observations :      "The  Government   of  India   have      carefully considered  all the facts      of the  case and  are of  the  view      that  the  decision  regarding  the      amount found  in the  charity boxes      maintained  at  Bombay  which  were      opened on  the 17th and declared on      the 19th has hardly any relevant to      the decision  taken  on  the  notes      found  in   the  charity  boxes  at      Surat.  The  declaration  regarding      the notes  found  in  the  donation      boxes  at  Bombay  was  within  the      prescribed time  i.e. January, 1978      and if  the  forms were complete in      all material  particulars the  bank      had no  alternative but of exchange      the notes  in accordance  with  the      provisions of law. However, for the      declarations filed  after the  19th



    till  24th  the  declarant  had  to      satisfy the  Reserve Bank was fully      satisfied  could   not   notes   be      exchanged. It  is therefore,  clear      that the  notes found  in the boxes      at Bombay  and those found at Surat      stand on a different footing."      We  need  not  however  deliver  into  the  matter  any further, for the above findings are of facts and nothing has been brought  to our  notice to  indicate that  the impugned orders  are   perverse.  Indeed,  the  materials  on  record persuade us  to hold that the reasons which weighed with the authorities to refuse payment to the Society in exchange  of their high  denomination  bank  notes  are  cogent  and  we, therefore, do not  find  any merit in this petition. WRIT PETITION NOS. 97-100 OF 1981      The   petitioners herein  are the  trustees of Tulsiram Mansadevi  Charity   Trust  (Trust   for  short)   which  is registered as  a public  charitable Trust  under the  Bombay Public Trusts  Acts, 1950. The objects of the Trust, amongst others, is  to  render  help  to  the  poor  and  destitute. According to the petitioners, sometimes in 1977 one Gopaldas Aggarwal Foundation,  (Foundation for  short a  trust having common trustees with the Trust started a donation collection drive for  their "Hospital  Building & Equipment Fund" to be utilised for  the proposed  construction  of  hospital.  The Trust  also   agreed  to   participate  in  that  drive  and accordingly  undertook  sale  of  donation  tickets  of  the Foundation from door to door for cash. For that purpose, the Trust received  donation tickets  worth Rs.  3,00,000/- from the Foundation  and during  the period  between November 15, 1977 and  January 14, 1978 managed to sell tickets worth Rs. 1,57,050/- out  of which Rs. 1,53,000/- were in 153 currency notes of  Rs. 1,000/-  each. The  above  sale  was  effected through employees  of the  Trust,  its  representatives  and other persons connected or associated with the trustees, who rendered detailed account of such sales. Receipts in respect of the  sales were recorded in the cash book of the Trust as and when  received and  the same was handed over to the said Foundation. According to the petitioners, no record was kept nor could  be kept  of the  various individuals  to whom the donation tickets  were actually  sold considering the manner in  which   the  transactions   took  place.   Besides,  the petitioners aver,  the donations  were received in cash from the employees,  representatives and  associates and retained in the  form received as  the same had to be directly handed over to  the Foundation on whose behalf the amounts had been collected.      Consequent  upon   the   promulgation   of   the   High Denomination  Bank   Notes  (Demonetization)   Ordinance  on January 16,  1978  the  Trust  delivered  a  declaration  in respect of the 153 currency notes of Rs. 1,000/- each, which they had  received by  sale of  tickets as also the notes on January 19,  1978 to  the Bank  at  its  office  in  Bombay. According to  the  petitioners  the  said  declaration  gave complete particulars  of the  said currency  notes and  also specifically stated that the amount had been received by way of donations.  By its  letter dated  4th December, 1978, the Bank however  called for  the following further details from the Trust : (a)  Denominational   details  of  the  tickets  issued  for collection of  donations, and the tickets actually sold till 14th January, 1978; (b) Whether  high denomination notes were directly received, and if  not, when and from whom the same were got exchanges,



and also called upon the said Trust - (c) To  produce counter-foils of the tickets for perusal and return; In response  to the  said requisitions the Trust furnished a statement giving  complete particulars  of  the tickets sold by it,  and produced  and counter-foils  of the  tickets for perusal.      Thereafter by its letter dated August 16, 1979 the Bank intimated the  Trust that the declaration filed by the Trust could  not     be   treated  as  complete  in  all  material particulars for the following reasons;      (a) against  column 15  of the said      declaration form,  it    is  stated      that  "the   amount   received   as      donations remaining in hand pending      utilisation of the same" This seems      very unusual  since the  said trust      had a bank account and the cash was      not required  for being utilised in      the very near future and      (b)  against   column  16   of  the      declaration,  it   is  stated  that      "the  amount   was  received   from      donors, names  not recorded".  This      was every  vague reply and does not      establish whether  the  notes  were      received  before   or   after   the      promulgation  of   the   Ordinance.      Since the amount was collected that      all of  them would  like to  remain      anonymous though  they had  donated      for a good cause. and, accordingly,  rejected the Trust’s claim for payment of the exchange  value of  the high  denomination  bank  notes. Against such  refusal the  Trust preferred  an appeal to the Government of  India which  was rejected  by an  order dated August 23, 1979. The above two orders are under challenge in these writ petitions.      It   was submitted  on behalf  of the  petitioners that considering the  manner in which  the notes in question were received, the  concerned authorities ought to have held that the particulars  given  by  it  against  Column  petitioners further contended  that no  obligation was  cast  upon  them under the Demonetization Act to furnish complete particulars of names  of all  the  persons  from  whom  notes  had  been acquired nor   were  they obligated  to satisfy  the Reserve Bank that the notes in question  had been received before or after  the  promulgation  of  the  Ordinance.  In  all  such circumstances, the  petitioners urged,  the impugned  orders were liable  to be  quashed Under  Column 15  of the form of declaration, required to be filed under Section 7 (2) of the Demonetization Act,  the reasons  for keeping  the amount in cash and  under Column 16 the sources when and wherefrom the notes came  into the  possession of  the declarant are to be disclosed. Having  regard to the provisions of Section 3 and 4 of  the Demonetization  Act the  reasons for disclosure of such  details   are  not   far  to   seek.  After  the  High denomination bank  notes ceased  to be  valid tender  on the expiry of  January 16,  1978 transfer  of the  same  to  the possession  of   others  thereafter   was  forbidden.   That necessarily  means,   that  the  right  and  opportunity  of exchanging those  notes was  available only to those persons who were possessing the same on January 16, 1978. Therefore, to obtain  satisfaction that the declarant was in possession of the  notes or  before  January  16,  1978  the  Bank  was



required to  make necessary  enquiry and   in  that  context complete disclosure of the particulars referred to in Column 15 and  16 were absolutely necessary. As noticed earlier, in the declaration  submitted by  the petitioners it was stated against Column  Nos. 15  and 16  that "amounts  received  by donations, remaining  on hand  pending utilisation  of same" and "Donors name not recorded" respectively. The particulars so furnished  did not  favour with the concerned authorities for according  to the  authorities, as  the Trust had a bank account and  the cash was not required to be utilised in the near future  it seemed very unusual that it would be kept in hands pending  utilisation. As  regards the  failure of  the Trust to  disclose the  names of the donors, the comment was that this  was a  vague reply  and did not establish whether note were  received before  or after  they had donated for a good cause.  The grounds so canvassed in refusing payment to the petitioners  cannot be said to be unreasonable or unjust so as  to entitle  us to  disturb the  same. These petitions are, therefore, also liable to be rejected.      On the  conclusions as  above we  dismiss all  the writ petitions but without any order as to costs.