The Indian bitcoin community keeps fighting for their rights to operate freely in the country like any other industry. The latest show of defiance is a petition to the court against the actions of the Reserve Bank of India by the operators of a local exchange.
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RBI Ban Unconstitutional
Kali Digital Eco-Systems, the company behind the upcoming cryptocurrency exchange Coin Recoil, has appealed to the High Court in Delhi against the recent crackdown on banks providing services to bitcoin related companies by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
According to the petitioner, the RBI directive is arbitrary and a violation of the Constitution of India and the court should therefore quash it. The document presented to the count, which news.bitcoin.com has obtained, explains that due to the RBI Circular the company will not be able to secure banking services that are imperative for the business’ operations rendering it “stillborn.” It argues that the ban is unconstitutional on two main grounds.
Freedom of Occupation
Article 19 of the Constitution of India guarantees citizens’ rights to carry on any occupation, trade or business. But by preventing exchanges’ access to baking services the government is in affect preventing people from engaging in the business of their choice.
Article 14 prohibits discrimination based on arbitrary and unreasonable classification. The petition explains that the RBI did not provide a clear definition of what constitutes ‘virtual currency’ and that this ambiguity dilutes any reasonability in what may be alleged as a classification. For instance, reward points such as airline miles may also be unreasonably construed as virtual currencies.
Two months ago the Supreme Court of Israel issued an injunction order forbidding one of the biggest banks in the country from halting the account activity of a local bitcoin exchange. This was a major victory for the Israeli cryptocurrency industry that set a precedent for other bitcoin businesses struggling to get banking services in the country. Hopefully the Indian high court will follow this example, even though there is a difference between the authority of a commercial bank and a central bank. Meanwhile, over 42,000 Indians have now signed an online petition that against the RBI directive.
How likely is the Indian high court to rule against the country’s central bank? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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