‘Matter of national interest’, says SC on plea over Kashmir group defacing notes

The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to examine a plea alleging that the Jammu branch of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) allowed exchange of currency notes worth Rs 30 crore which were allegedly stamped with anti-India slogans by Kashmiri Graffiti, a separatist group.

The bench of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, and justices BR Gavai and Surya Kant called Centre’s second senior-most law officer to court and asked him to look into the allegations made by petitioner Satish Bhardwaj, saying “it is a matter of national interest”.

The petitioner submitted that the alleged actions by Kashmiri Graffiti dates back to August 2013 when it stamped currency notes worth Rs 30 crore with seditious and anti-India slogans like ‘India Go Back’, ‘Leave Kashmir’ and ‘Quit Kashmir’.

The petitioner has claimed that the Jammu regional branch of RBI, on the instructions of its then Regional Director, exchanged the defaced currency notes.

The petitioner filed a request under the Right to Information (RTI) Act seeking information about the same but was met with an evasive response by the Public Information Office of RBI. The first appeal against the same was dismissed while there was no response to the second appeal prompting Bhardwaj to file a petition in Supreme Court.

The petitioner prayed for a court-monitored CBI probe into the alleged exchange of defaced currency notes by RBI.