India draws closer to the deadline for a legal battle between the country’s central bank and local crypto exchanges.
The Indian Supreme Court has set a deadline of two weeks for the country’s government to present its official position on cryptocurrencies, Indian newspaper The Economic Times (ET) reports Friday, Oct. 26.
After multiple delays, the court has finally held a hearing on several petitions filed by Indian crypto community following the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)’s prohibition on banks engaging with crypto and crypto-related businesses back in April.
Nakul Dewan, counsel for nine cryptocurrency exchanges cited by ET, said that even though the RBI had not placed an official blanket ban on crypto, the trade and exchange of Bitcoin (BTC) has been “discouraged,” freezing engagement with crypto in the country while the situation remains unclear.
In response to Dewan’s plea for clarity, RBI counsel Shyam Divan told court that the Central Bank was intending to discourage the use of cryptocurrencies, but the final policy decision in terms of crypto’s status must be made by the Indian government. According to ET, the bench of justices at that point asked Indian officials to present their stances before the court ‘within’ two weeks.
A team of Indian lawyers that publishes crypto and blockchain regulation news published a similar report on Twitter Oct. 25:
“Counsel for Union of India apprised that Committee is going to come up with a report on Crypto. Court has directed the Govt. to file Counter Affidavit within 2 weeks.”
India has seen almost seven months of uncertainty following the first RBI announcement in April when the banks stopped providing services to persons or legal entities that are involved in cryptocurrency trading.
Just days after RBI’s move, a public petition was published by members of the crypto community, and now boasts more than 44,000 signatures out of its 50,000 goal, urging the government to cancel the ban. In May, several crypto businesses then filed a complaint against the RBI in India’s Supreme Court. The Supreme Court continued to uphold RBI’s ban, but scheduled a hearing on the issue for July, which was subsequently postponed.
As a result, some Indian entrepreneurs consider cryptocurrencies as an outlaw. For instance, Debjani Ghosh, the president of the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), has recently stated that digital coins are “illegal” due to the government’s inability to keep up with innovations.