Cabinet approves amendments to Coinage Bill 2009

New Delhi, Feb 10 (PTI) The maximum punishment formelting or destruction of coins would be increased from fiveto seven years of imprisonment, if a Bill containing this andother proposals is approved by Parliament.

The Union Cabinet, at a meeting chaired by Prime MinisterManmohan Singh today, approved the Coinage Bill 2009 proposedby the Finance Ministry which will be tabled in Parliamentsoon, Information and Broadcasting minister Ambika Soni said.

The Bill, which was referred to the Standing Committee ofthe Finance Ministry in December 2009, amalgamates fourexisting laws relating to coinage and revises the provisionsof these Acts, she said.

The Acts which have been amalgamated under thiscomprehensive legislation are the Indian Coinage Act 1906; theSmall Coins (Offences) Act, 1971; the Metal Token Act, 1889and the Bronze Coin (Legal Tender) Act, 1918.

Official sources said the Standing Committee had proposedthat the maximum punishment for melting or destruction ofcoins should be equated with that of counterfeiting andenhanced to 10 years of imprisonment.

However, the Cabinet decided to increase it to sevenyears, they said.

The Bill also broadens the definition of ''coin'' toinclude one rupee note which is virtually out of circulationand consequently repeals the Currency Ordinance of 1940.

As coins made of silver, nickel, copper and bronze are nolonger in circulation, it proposes to bring under its gamutthe use of any other material besides metals or mixed metalsunder the legislation, sources said.

Currently coins with denomination of 50 paise, Rs 1, 2,5 and 10 are in circulation.

Recently the RBI said coins with denomination of 25paise and below will cease to be a legal tender from June 30and will be eventually pulled out of circulation.

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