1The Supreme Court on Wednesday turned down the central government’s plea of staying all petitions challenging its November 8 decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. This is the third time that apex court has refused to stay proceedings in the matter.

The bench led by Chief Justice T S Thakur will, however, hear the government’s petition requesting the transfer of all cases to either the Delhi High Court or the Supreme Courton December 2.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the bench that there are around 15 petitions pending before various high courtsraising issues related to demonetisation. However, some among them were irrelevant such as those that delve into the colour of new notes, said Rohatgi.

While some courts have dismissed petitions already, others like the Delhi high court are awaiting a decision from the Supreme Court. Given the situation, it would be expedient to transfer all petitions to one court, Rohtagi submitted.

However, the court observed that if people get any immediate relief from the high courts, it should not be stopped. The apex court was in favour of letting the high courts decide on petitions filed with them until a decision is taken with regard to the government’s plea of transferring cases.

The defence counsel, for his part, argued that the queues have gone shorter in the past few days. He claimed that after a recent announcement, banks have received Rs 6 lakh crore and there has been a surge in digital commerce.

The Reserve Bank of India has enough cash, but it has to be distributed to all centres, which is taking time. The ratio of cash to the GDP is also bound to come down soon. Removal of slush money accumulated over the past 70 years will take time, he said.

The government is monitoring the position on an hourly basis and a committee is going around the country to meet people. The committee will report back to the government soon.

The defence counsel, representing the Maharashtra cooperative banks, further complained that it was barred from collecting and disbursing money. He brought it to the bench’s notice that co-operative banks have not been able to conduct transactions since the past 15 days.