India’s Supreme Court Delays Crypto vs Central Bank Fight to July

Journalist:
April 4, 2019

By CCN.com: The courtroom battle between the Indian cryptocurrency exchanges and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has reached its ninth month but remains far from conclusion.

On March 29, the Supreme Court of India moved the hearing to a new date in July. It was the sixth time in a row when the apex court had adjourned the so-called Crypto vs. RBI case. The move breathed further extension into the ongoing RBI’s ban, leaving the cryptocurrency exchanges and investors without a banking service 12-months in a row.

But new information reveals that July could see a full-fledged legal proceeding. The outcome could be RBI lifting its banking ban on Indian crypto services altogether.

RBI Counsel Sought “Regular Day” Hearing

Effectively, the Supreme Court of India admits cases based on two separate types of days: miscellaneous and regular. Miscellaneous Days are Monday and Friday, on which the apex court admits new/admission stage matters. On the other hand, Regular Days are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, on which the court acknowledges cases whose final arguments have been submitted to the bench.

March 29 was a Friday, a Miscellaneous Day, which generally sees unedifying spectacle of overpopulation in the court corridors. It leads to a case congestion scenario, in which the court delays hearings for as much as 1 hour 30 minutes. At the same time, each court discussion lasts for a maximum of two-three minutes, leaving very little time for plaintiffs and respondents to develop a solid argument.

Naturally, March 29 was not an ideal day to listen about a complex cryptocurrency regulatory framework. The RBI counsel, headed by advocate Shyam Divan, suggested extending the hearing to a Regular Day for an extended discussion. The court granted his recommendation and moved the date to July 23, a Tuesday, this year.

Why Not Before July 23

The Supreme Court’s summer vacation will commence from May 13, and it shall reopen on 1st July. A heavy schedule of the Regular matters in April and the first half of May could be the reason why the Supreme Court fixed the hearing on July 23. While the delay means more losses to the Indian crypto industry, the community can still see a silver lining in the fact that now the Court will finally decide on the question ‘whether RBI banking ban is constitutionally valid or not?’.

According to Mohammed Danish Advocate – Delhi based legal practitioner & Advisor to Crypto Kanoon, the matter was last listed on a Miscellaneous Day, and it was difficult for the court to spare time for hearing lengthy arguments. Therefore it decided to fix the case on a day reserved for ‘regular’ matters.

“The Supreme Court’s four-week opportunity came in the wake of the Ministry of Finance’s assurance that they were close to submitting the regulatory framework,” Mr. Danish told CCN. “The ball is now entirely in the government’s court – if they fail to take any policy decision on crypto during this while, the court will hear the case on merits and pass its judgment.”

Last modified (UTC): April 4, 2019 05:27

Yashu Gola @whoisyashu

New Delhi-based Yashu Gola has been working as a cryptocurrency analyst/journalist since 2013. He is an information technology graduate, a cryptography junkie, a filmmaking enthusiast, and an avid reader of Jon Erickson, Agatha Christie, JK Rowling, and Isaac Asimov.