SC asks HCs not to entertain pleas on RBI circular on virtual currencies

The Supreme Court Thursday barred all High Courts from entertaining any plea relating to an RBI circular prohibiting dealings in virtual currencies like the Bitcoin.

The apex court, which was hearing pleas seeking direction to the Centre to take emergent steps to restrain the sale and purchase of illegal crypto currencies or virtual currency like Bitcoins, also sought the assistance of Attorney General K K Venugopal in the matter.

Crypto currencies are a stateless digital currency in which encryption techniques are used for trading. These currencies operate independently of a central bank like the RBI, rendering it immune from government interference.

RBI, in a circular on April 6, had directed the banks and financial institutions to freeze the bank accounts of those individuals and companies dealing in the illegal trade of virtual currencies.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud posted the matter for hearing on July 20.

Petitioners, in their plea, sought a direction to the Centre to take steps to restrain sale and purchase of illegal crypto currencies like Bitcoins, which were being traded openly for illegal activities like funding terrorism and insurgency.