Supreme Court lifts the ban on Crypto dealings in its landmark judgment

Amrit Mirchandani

March 5, 2020

On Wednesday, Supreme court benched by Justices Rohinton Nariman, Aniruddha Bose and V Ramasubramanian delivered a judgment lifting the ban imposed on cryptocurrency trading which RBI had imposed. 

Since 2013, the RBI had been warning cryptocurrency dealers and users to avoid the use of cryptocurrencies so that the payment systems of the country are not compromised. It had administered a blanket ban on various crypto dealings which became effective from July 2018. RBI warned the banks to withdraw all banking transactions with business entities and individuals who are dealing in the currency. RBI intended to secure the financial foundations of the country which might shake up the entire system. 

The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) was rooting for a lift on the ban based on the several petitions received from different stakeholders. IAMAI was of the opinion that cryptocurrency did not come under the category of currency because it is more of a commodity. It outrightly asserted that RBI is not authorized to impose any ban especially when there is no definite law restricting it. 

IAMAI – a non-profit body has some eclectic names in its membership namely Yahoo! India, Apple, eBay, Unocoin and Etsy and is a body representing the concerns of industry customers, investors, and shareholders. 

In the landmark ruling, the Justices ruled that RBI’s bid to ban the currency is inordinate. Arguments also gesticulated that RBI has-proclaimed it had the right to intervene and that crypto is a digital exchange currency, but IAMAI’s counsel Ashim Sood argued that it is a double-edged sword with it acting as a medium of exchange and also a valued commodity. He argued that RBI had no area of authority to impose the ban on firms that are providing services to businesses powered by cryptocurrency. 

Ever since Crypto dealings began in India, it has been facing many hurdles. The ruling by the Supreme Court might be the unburdening of these hurdles. In the fall of 2019, the government prohibited the drafting of the bill banning the use of Crypto in India. Earlier it envisioned a big dream of digitizing Rupee and Crypto was in its way but it seems like the ruling is slowly unlayering crypto and its potential in the future. 

Photo Credit – Photo by Vikas Sawant from Pexels