Crypto Ban Hearing Slightly Delayed by Supreme Court of India
The Indian supreme court has rescheduled hearing the crypto case, originally scheduled for July 23 but was not heard on that date. The court is expected to address the writ petitions against the central bank’s crypto restriction as well as the report by the interministerial committee with recommended crypto measures and draft crypto bill. On July 24, the court set a new tentative date of Aug. 2 but later updated it to July 25 for all five pending crypto writ petitions.
It has been a long struggle for the Indian crypto community since the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued a circular in April last year banning regulated financial institutions from providing services to crypto businesses. The ban went into effect in July last year and banks subsequently closed accounts of crypto exchanges.
Soon after the issuance of the circular, several industry stakeholders filed writ petitions to challenge the ban. The Indian supreme court was scheduled to hear all crypto-related petitions in September last year, but the case was repeatedly postponed.
On June 24, Cryptokart exchange also announced that it is shutting down this month. Founder Gaurang Poddar explained that since the RBI ban took effect:
The general interest in crypto in India has tanked. Also since the government isn’t going to introduce any regulations and leave it grey for a while, it just makes any long term planning difficult.
The report details that “the committee has recommended a law banning the cryptocurrencies in India and criminalizing carrying on of any activities connected with cryptocurrencies in India.” News.Bitcoin.com recently reported on the bill’s proposed prohibitions and offenses.
Following the publication of his committee’s report, Garg tweeted:
Committee is very receptive and supportive of distributed ledger technologies and recommends its widespread use in delivering financial services … Private crypto currencies are of no real value. Rightly banned.
According to the minutes of the committee’s meetings, Garg was in favor of regulating cryptocurrency in the first meeting but changed his mind by the third meeting. The committee also recommends the government set up a standing committee. The Finance Ministry described:
As virtual currencies and its underlying technology are still evolving, the group has proposed that the Government may establish a Standing Committee to revisit the issues addressed in the report as and when required.
While Garg’s tweet could be misconstrued that crypto is already banned in India, many people in the community were quick to point out that his committee has merely proposed a ban and the draft bill is not yet law. There are many steps this bill needs to go through before it becomes law.
The Indian government has also confirmed that cryptocurrency is currently not banned in the country. On July 16, Shri Anurag Singh Thakur, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, told Rajya Sabha, the upper house of Indian parliament, that the government has not prohibited cryptocurrency in the country. He additionally clarified that
“Presently, there is no separate law for dealing with issues relating to cryptocurrencies. Hence, all concerned departments and law enforcement agencies, such as RBI, Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax authorities, etc. take action as per the relevant existing laws.”