The Supreme Court of India has set a new date to resume hearing the arguments against the crypto banking restrictions by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The central bank has replied to crypto exchanges’ representation as directed by the court, which was supposed to resume hearing the case on October 15.
According to the court order issued earlier this month, the case was to be listed “top of the board,” which gave the Indian crypto community hope that the case would move forward.
However, Crypto Kanoon, the Indian news portal, reported that the case was listed as item number two in courtroom number five on Tuesday. Since three judges bench has assembled in court number 5, the news portal said that the court could not hear the case. The court order for this case was published on Tuesday.
“Upon hearing the counsel the Court made the following order … List on Tuesday, the 19th November 2019 as the first item, subject to overnight part-heard, if any.”
In previous hearings, only two judges had heard the crypto case, and usually, the same judges would continue to hear the case. Whenever a three-judge bench is assembled, the likelihood of the Supreme Court hearing the crypto case diminishes.
RBI Ban and Government Regulation
The central bank issued a circular in April last year, banning financial institutions from providing services to crypto businesses.
The RBI explained:
“Prohibited services include maintaining accounts, registering, trading, settling, clearing, giving loans against virtual tokens, accepting them as collateral, opening accounts of exchanges dealing with them and transfer/receipt of money in accounts relating to purchase/sale of VCs [virtual currencies].”
The ban went into effect three months later and banks closed the accounts of crypto exchanges, forcing some of them to close down local exchange operations.
However, a number of industry stakeholders immediately filed writ petitions to challenge the ban.
So, after multiple delays, the Supreme Court began hearing the case in detail on August 8, with the petitioners who extensively challenging the central bank’s power over crypto. The RBI ban has also affected the Indian police, where the Pune city police department was unable to cash out its seized crypto from a Ponzi scheme due to the ban.
Thus, the Government of India is still deliberating on a draft bill submitted by an interministerial committee (IMC) in February. The bill, which seeks to ban all cryptocurrencies except state-issued ones, was made public on July 23.
However, the Indian crypto community believes that the bill is flawed and has been campaigning to convince lawmakers to reexamine the IMC recommendations.