Demonetisation hits prisons; jailbirds seek parole to exchange or deposit ‘illegal’ money

A group of convicts lodged in Guwahati Central Jail has moved the Gauhati High Court seeking release on parole for a few days to exchange or deposit their old currency notes declared illegal recently

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Guwahati, Nov 25: Millions of jailbirds across the country are in a quandary, as they are not "free" to go to banks to exchange or deposit Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes, recently demonetised.

While most of the "helpless" prisoners are maintaining a wait and watch policy, a group of convicts lodged in Guwahati Central Jail has moved the Gauhati High Court seeking release on parole for a few days to exchange or deposit their old currency notes declared illegal by the government.

Currency

The convicts -- Madan Kumar, Dipen Kalita, Prafulla Das, Arup Sharma, Manoj Das, Md Tamiz Ali, Md Thakur Ali, Jogot Boro, Md Safiqul Ali, Dipen Mahanta and Moon Das --on November 23 filed a writ petition in the high court.

[Also Read: Why is RBI governor Urjit Patel silent on demonetisation?]

In their petition they sought appropriate directions to respondents -- central and state governments, Reserve Bank of India and jail authorities -- to give them parole for a few days so they can visit their respective banks and deposit or exchange the demonetised currency.

The prisoners also sought directions to the RBI by sending bank officials to the jail for exchanging the old currency they have earned by working in the jail.

[Also Read: Demonetisation: India is going to face serious recession, predicts economist Prabhat Patnaik]

The counsel of the convicts, Amit Goyal, told The Telegraph while prescribing the guidelines for demonetisation, the authorities concerned have failed to enumerate any provision for prisoners to exchange their old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.

The advocate added it has become a problem for prisoners who have old notes valued at more than Rs 50,000, as their family members or friends cannot deposit the amount on their behalf since the Clause 2 (v) of the demonetisation scheme notification has fixed Rs 50,000 as the maximum limit for depositing old notes in the bank account of a third party.

"The prisoners should be provided with some special procedure or mode which will enable them to exchange or deposit old currency notes. But so far nothing has been done in this direction due to which they were compelled to approach the high court," Goyal said.

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