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Will Supreme Court Hear Crypto Vs RBI Matter today on January 15?

  • Last hearing was roughly two months ago on November 20, 2018. Supreme Court ordered to list the matter on January 15, 2019.
  • The Government of India submitted affidavit stating they are close to submitting draft of regulations on cryptocurrency. But there have been no clear reports.
  • Multiple News agencies have mixed reports on regulations or ban of cryptocurrencies.
  • Perhaps the court hearing shall shed some light, or will it be adjourned like the last few times?

Let us start by wishing everyone a Happy Makar Sankranti, Happy Utrayan or Happy Lohri. I don’t fly kites, so I spent my Uttrayan or Sankrant sitting at home eating take out food. I am still recovering from a week long flu, I should be up and running in no time. Wish I could say the same thing about cryptocurrency in India.

After almost two months since the last hearing, when honourable Supreme Court moved the date of Crypto matter hearing to January 15, 2019, here we are today awaiting to see what happens in court.

Adjournment is the most likely Scenario

Judging by the last few hearing dates, my money is on adjournment of the case to another day. Maybe tomorrow, maybe next week.

Tuesdays are busy days in court. The crypto matter is listed 8th in Court No. 6 to be heard by Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman and Justice Navin Sinha. There are multiple part-heard matters listed before the crypto matter and part-heard matters are given precedence over Disposal cases.

Ironically, Crypto matter was listed for Final disposal on September 11, 2018 and it’s already been four months.

If heard, GoI may say Regulations on their Way

On October 20, 2018, Court had given 2 weeks to Government of India to file an affidavit detailing the status of regulations on cryptocurrencies, deliberated by the Garg Committee.

The affidavit submitted by the Government stated that deliberations were on and there were two meetings scheduled for completing the draft. One was scheduled in December 2018, another one in January 2019.

It wouldn’t really be naive to assume that if the case is heard in court, the government may as well say the regulations are on their way citing the January meeting just ended or is yet to happen. Either way, it will buy them more time and the case may receive a new date for hearing.

Que Tarikh pe Tarikh.gif

To Ban or Not to Ban

While the Supreme court may have been on winter vacations, the speculations around crypto regulations weren’t.

Several news agencies were able to acquire reports from anonymous sources along the last few weeks, and spread it like wild fire. One went on to say that Garg Committee has already submitted the report and is recommending a ban on all cryptocurrencies.

While other News agency, once again citing anonymous sources, painted a better picture by saying government is on its way to regulate cryptocurrency and the Garg committee shall submit the report in February this year.

Coin Crunch India tried to reach to Subhash Chandra Garg but received no response on the matter. We also submitted an RTI application and haven’t received a response yet.

Elsewhere Banks are Making Users sign Agreements to Not trade Crypto

In other news, our creative writer and twitter influencer Desi Crypto Hodlr seems to have struck a nerve when she tweeted how Kotak Mahindra Bank was forcing users to sign agreement that they shall not trade in cryptocurrencies and the bank has a right to close the account anytime.

The bank is technically not wrong, they are merely enforcing the RBI guidelines on dealing with individuals and businesses trading cryptocurrency.

That is why the crypto matter is important, the case of exchanges vs the RBI is more about an individual’s freedom to invest their money where they want than about the regulations. It is slightly unfortunate that the supreme court has merged these petitions from exchanges with existing petitions demanding regulations of cryptocurrencies.C

All eyes on the Supreme Court Notice Board today, let us hope the matter moves a little ahead today.

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