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Supreme Court to Hear Entire Argument for Crypto Vs RBI Case Again

Update: Supreme Court has Quashed the RBI circular on March 04. 2020, deeming it unconstitutional.

The three judge bench on Tuesday said they want to hear the entire Crypto Vs RBI matter from the beginning. Ashim Sood, counsel representing IAMAI argued for a few minutes before the Court adjourned for the day.

After several adjournments, the most awaited trial in India for the Crypto Community finally reached hearing on Tuesday, January 14. The case was last heard in August 2019 and has been passed along by the Supreme Court prioritizing other cases. But it did not go as expected.

Four long days of arguments in August, a quarter less than two years since the petition, and finally when the entire Crypto Community hoped for a sincere progress in the fight against RBI’s Banking ban in the Apex court, the judges threw a curve ball at the counsels, stating the court wants to hear the arguments essentially from the beginning. The judges felt the case will take long and hence heard few other matters first.

When the Crypto matter was called in the last 30 minutes of the day, advocate Ashim Sood who is representing the IAMAI, one of the petitioners, began his arguments. Sood read the RBI circular, explained Distributed Ledger Technology, and how Cryptocurrencies are not really currencies. The live updates by Crypto Kanoon on Twitter kept us abreast with the court proceedings.

The court adjourned for the day, the matter was placed as “Part-Heard” and is now likely to be heard everyday for the rest of the week. The order acknowledges Advocate Sood being “on his legs” when the court adjourned.

Long Time – No Recourse

Back in August 2019, the apex court heard the matter from both sides – Reserve Bank of India and petitioners like IAMAI and a group of exchanges plus individuals. Ultimately, after the long arguments, the two judge bench of Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman and Justice Surya Kant ordered the RBI to respond to IAMAI’s representation in detail, answering each and every point.

The bases for this order – the judges felt RBI had not adequately responded to the said representation submitted by IAMAI in July 2018. So, four days August 8, August 14, August 20 and August 21 spent on the entire hearing were boiled down to what RBI has to say to IAMAI’s appeal.

RBI did respond to IAMAI in the stipulated time, but that document is yet to be made public. The court then kept adjourning the case further, until finally the case was listed under a three judge bench formed by Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman, Justice V Ramasubramian and Justice Aniruddha Bose.

So, after almost a year and three quarters, RBI’s decision to ring fence the banks and NBFCs is still in effect and the fight continues in court, now once again, from the beginning.

It remains to see how soon will the case reach judgment and whether or not it will make a difference to the community. However, if the apex court does mark RBI’s move as unconstitutional, the community still has to deal with a pending draft bill to ban cryptocurrencies.

It is a difficult road ahead and those still hear deserve more props than they get!

If you wish to read more about the previous arguments, feel free to check out the below articles:


Supreme Court Hearing summary from August 08, 2019

Supreme Court Hearing summary from August 14, 2019

Supreme Court Hearing summary from August 20, 2019

Supreme Court Hearing summary from August 21, 2019

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