India’s Supreme Court has directed the Union of India to come up with clear-cut policy statements regarding Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies within the next four weeks. The country’s apex court says failure to meet the deadline will result in the court delivering its ruling concerning the legality of virtual currencies in India.
Release a Proper Policy or We Will, Says India’s Supreme Court
According to several news sources from India, the country’s Supreme Court on Monday (February 25, 2019), issued a directive to the Union of India to finalize a concrete regulatory policy for cryptocurrencies. The court refused to hear petitions from any of the parties declaring instead that it would deliver its judgment on the matter if the government failed to come to a resolution within the time-frame.
— Crypto Kanoon (@cryptokanoon) February 25, 2019
The case in question centers around the decision by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to prohibit banks from having any dealings with cryptocurrency exchange platforms. Based on the ban, Indian commercial banks cannot facilitate cryptocurrency transactions.
This news comes as the latest salvo in the ongoing cryptocurrency saga in India with increased agitation from several quarters to reverse the RBI ban. For the Court, this directive serves as final notice to the government to get its act together and end the legal stalemate concerning cryptocurrencies in India.
Supreme Court has given the Indian Government 4 weeks to bring about a crypto policy.
Now to wait and watch! #IndiaWantsCrypto
— Nischal (WazirX) ⚡️ (@NischalShetty) February 25, 2019
Beginning in 2018, concerned stakeholders had contested the RBI ban. Critics of the decision say that the RBI effectively banned Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in the country.
Since the start of the case, there have been many adjournments and postponements with representatives of the government seemingly bent on delaying proceedings. This announcement by the court might indicate its growing frustrating with the delay tactics employed by the government.
Systematic Bitcoin Suppression
Starting from the RBI ban, there has been a noticeable increase in attempts to stifle Bitcoin trading in India. Not long after the pronouncement of the prohibition, exchange platforms like ZebPay have been forced to move their operations elsewhere.
Before the ban, the only moves made by the government against the industry were regular notices warning people about the dangers of virtual currencies. In 2013, the RBI issued a circular that detailed the numerous risks involved in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
At the start of 2019, reports emerged that banks in the country were also demanding that customers do not participate in cryptocurrency transactions. As part of the warnings, these commercial banks threatened to close the account of any customers found to be trading virtual currencies.
India Wants Bitcoin Campaign
With every pronouncement from the government or the RBI against cryptocurrencies, industry stakeholders in the country continue their clamor for the legalization of the emerging asset class. For many critics of the government, these anti-crypto policies will only serve to make the country fall behind the rest of the world in adopting what they say is the future of global business.
The ‘India Wants Crypto’ campaign is already more than 100 days old and continues to gain momentum among virtual currency enthusiasts in the country. Whenever there is a positive development concerning the industry in another country, proponents are quick to hop on social media reiterating their desire for the government to do the same.
Thus far, not much has changed with the government yet to back down from its position. There are indications that a change of direction as far as anti-crypto sentiments from the government might be impossible. As reported by Blockonomi earlier in February 2019, the Indian government says the need to preserve rupee monopoly is one of the primary reasons why it is against the use of virtual currencies.