The Bombay High Court on Monday directed the Union government to apprise it on January 17, 2022 about the introduction of the bill on cryptocurrency and what further action has been taken on the issue. A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice M S Karnik said it cannot direct the parliamentary legislation to enact a law.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by advocate Aditya Kadam, seeking directions to the central government to formulate laws to govern the use and trade of cryptocurrency within the country. Kadam highlighted the unregulated business of cryptocurrency in the country which, he claimed, affects the rights of the investors as there is no mechanism in law to redress their grievances.
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Advocate D P Singh, appearing for the Centre, told the court that the Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill has been introduced and would be discussed in the winter session of Parliament. Kadam, however, argued that a similar statement was made by the Union government in 2018 and 2019, but no action was taken thereafter.
The court said it would keep the petition for further hearing on January 17. “Let’s see if they (government) enact the law. With the introduction of the bill, the allegations raised in the petition that the government has not taken any steps would be incorrect,” the bench said. “We cannot direct the parliamentary legislation to enact a law,” Chief Justice Datta said.
“The Union government shall apprise us on the next date if the bill was introduced and what further action has been taken,” the court said. The bill proposes to create a facilitative framework for creation of the official digital currency to be issued by the Reserve Bank of India. It also seeks to prohibit all private cryptocurrencies in India. However, it allows for certain exceptions to promote the underlying technology of cryptocurrency and its uses.