The Supreme Court on Wednesday quashed an order by the Reserve bank of India (RBI) banning financial services firms from trading in virtual currency or cryptocurrency. Reacting to this Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the central government will go through the top court's judgement and see "what we want to do"
"I will have to go through the apex court order and then will probably meet you all to see what we want to do or how we look at the judgement," Sitharaman said to a query during interaction with the media on decisions of Union Cabinet. "It will be too quick for me to say now. I have not seen the judgement yet," she added.
Answering another query, Sitharaman said she had gone through the report on cryptocurrency but no decision was taken. "A detailed presentation was given to us. We did not conclude, we did not take a call either way. In the meantime, the court case was also starting. We have heard the court and we will go back and let you know," she said.
A three-judge Bench of Justices Rohinton Fali Nariman, S Ravindra Bhat and V Ramasubramanian allowed the plea of the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) challenging RBI's 2018 circular that directed regulated entities to not deal with cryptocurrencies. The IAMAI, whose members include cryptocurrency exchanges, and others had approached the top court objecting to a 2018 RBI circular directing regulated entities to not deal with cryptocurrencies.
The petitioners had argued that the RBI's circular taking cryptocurrencies out of the banking channels would deplete the ability of law enforcement agencies to regulate illegal activities in the industry. IAMAI had claimed the move of RBI had effectively banned legitimate business activity via the virtual currencies (VCs). The RBI had on April 6, 2018, issued a circular that barred RBI-regulated entities from "providing any service in relation to virtual currencies, including those of transfer or receipt of money in accounts relating to the purchase or sale of virtual currencies".
(With agency inputs)