Business 21 May 2018

Erik Gibbs

CoinRecoil suit against RBI goes before the Supreme Court

The month of June could mark an important turning point for cryptocurrencies in India. A fight centered on the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) refusal to allow its banks to work with crypto-based companies, including exchanges, has been brewing for the past couple of months. CoinRecoil, one of the affected exchanges, launched a lawsuit against RBI, resulting in at least four other companies joining in the fight. Part of that suit has now been picked up by India’s Supreme Court and will be heard on June 20.

In its lawsuit, CoinRecoil, owned by Kali Digital Eco-Systems Pvt Ltd., has expressed that the bank’s position is illegal and in contradiction to the country’s constitution. The High Court of Delhi had previously agreed to hold a hearing on the matter, scheduling it for May 24. With the Supreme Court’s decision to hear the case, that forum won’t be held.

The Supreme Court issued an order that moves all pending petitions linked to the case to the top court. In total, there have been five written petitions filed before the courts, including those of CoinRecoil—two in the Delhi High Court and one in Calcutta High Court. These will be combined with petitions from other companies in order to have all suits heard under one umbrella.

In a statement, Rashmi Deshpande, associate partner of the law firm Khaitan & Co., said, “The Supreme Court has recently transferred the entire batch of petitions pending at High Court level with respect to the contentious issue of RBI effectively banning transactions in crypto-currencies. This decision highlights the importance of this issue at a national level from not just a legal, but also an economic standpoint. We strongly believe that the RBI’s circular to effectively discourage the business of crypto-currencies exchanges is an arbitrary decision against the freedom of right to trade guaranteed by the Constitution. We are hopeful that justice will be meted out at the Supreme Court level.”

Additionally, the Supreme Court ordered that there be no more petitions filed on the matter through any court. Last week, the court denied a request by CoinRecoil that would have forced RBI to temporarily reverse its policy while the case is waiting to be presented.

CoinRecoil still anticipates an August launch for its fiat-to-crypto exchange in India. Subsequent to its first phase in the country, it will expand into Canada, Australia, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.

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