Court rejects contractors’ plea against curbs on carrying cash
The Madras High Court on Monday made it clear that the Election Commission of India (ECI) officials would be free to carry out random inspections until the conduct of Assembly elections in the State and confiscate money if those in possession of cash over ₹ 50,000 were not able to explain with proper documents the legal purposes for which they were holding on to the currency notes.
Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy dismissed a writ petition filed by Coimbatore Corporation Contractors’ Welfare Association which had sought for a direction to ECI to permit its members with an annual turnover above ₹ 10 crore to carry as much as ₹ 15 lakh in cash since the contractors required cash in hand to pay remuneration and attend to other expenditures.
The association had claimed that its members had to face lot of difficulties during the 2019 Parliamentary elections when individuals were not allowed to carry more than ₹ 50,000 in cash at a time and had to produce several documents to get back the money seized by officials on election duty.
Suggestion to ECI
Therefore, it had made a representation on the issue, well in advance, to the ECI.
The petitioner association also claimed to have made a suggestion to the Commission on February 17 that government civil contractors could be categorised into those with an annual turnover of ₹ 2 crore, ₹ 2.1 to ₹ 5 crore, ₹ 5.1 to ₹10 crore and over ₹ 10 crore and permitted to carry up to ₹ 2 lakh, ₹ 5 lakh, ₹ 10 lakh and ₹ 15 lakh respectively.
On the other hand, senior counsel G. Rajagopalan, representing the ECI, told the court that the commission would permit individuals to carry cash over ₹ 50,000 also if they were in possession of proper documents.