Author: Jagdish Kumar, India
Giving no reprieve to cryptocurrency exchange on the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) decision to ban crypto trading in the country, Supreme Court has set 11 September 2018 for final disposal of the case.
The bench headed by the chief justice, Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud however refused to stay the RBI order dated 6 April 2018.
Senior Advocate Gopal Subramanium, appearing for the petitioners stated that the matter is serious and should be heard and disposed of as early as possible.
However, in its argument RBI said that investor protection is an important consideration behind banning trade in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and ripple in India.
The court was hearing a petition filed by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) in which it said that in the world of digitalisation, such a circular from RBI would be a loss for Indian users as well as Indian market.
RBI and the petitioner argued the matter and since The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) and a few others have not filed their response to the petition seeking regulation, so the Court directed for completion of pleadings and kept the final arguments for September.
Abhishek G, co-founder and CEO of Indian cryptocurrency Exchange ThroughBit present during the hearing commented, the bench seemed receptive. We hope to get a longer hearing from the bench on the next hearing.
Senior Advocate Shyam Divan, appearing for RBI said that crypto currency could encourage illegal transactions and the policy of RBI is of extreme caution.
The Court had earlier issued notice in the petition filed by advocate Dwaipayan Bhowmick, seeking directions to control the flow of cryptocurrency by forming a committee to frame an appropriate mechanism to regulate the same.
The petition averred that though cryptocurrency/Bitcoin does not fall under the definition of currency, it should still be regulated, since it is used in financial transactions and cited that some countries have made cyrptocurrency subject to their respective tax regimes, while others countries have designated it as a commodity, thereby making it subject to government regulation and accountable to the exchequer.
The petitioner, therefore, seeks that a policy be put in place to control the flow of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency and to ensure that the same is made accountable to the exchequer.