Indian Courts uphold crypto’s right to bank in a landmark ruling today. The crypto community in India were ecstatic after the news broke that the supreme court of India struck down the RBI circular that didn’t allow banks to deal with cryptocurrency firms. Cryptocurrencies were not explicitly banned but with no banking abilities many companies closed down. Koinex was one of the largest exchanges to close down after the RBI circular.
After multiple trial delays, the Supreme Court of India has given a judgement in favour of cryptocurrencies and banks can now begin to do business with crypto firms.
From the Judgement
7.1 Therefore, in the light of the above discussion, the petitioners are entitled to succeed and the impugned Circular dated 06-04-2018 is liable to be set aside on the ground of proportionality.
Accordingly, the writ petitions are allowed and the Circular dated 06-04-2018 is set aside. The Statement dated 05-04-2018, though challenged in one writ petition, is not in the nature of a statutory direction and hence the question of setting aside the same does not Arise.
7.2. There is still one more issue left. It is the freezing of the account of Discidium Internet Labs Pvt. Ltd., which is petitioner no. 6 in WP (C) No. 373 of 2018. This company seems to have had an amount of Rs. 12,05,36,667.83/- in current account no. 3677101984 with the Central Bank of India, Worli, Mumbai. When the petitioner made a request on 21-05-2018 to close the account and issue a demand draft, the Central Bank replied that they had referred the matter to their higher authorities/regulators. Therefore, petitioner no. 6 has come up with an application in I.A. No. 110424 of 2019 for appropriate directions.
7.3. RBI has filed a reply to this application conceding that it had not directed the bank to freeze the account. It is specifically stated in paragraph 12 of the affidavit-in-reply of RBI that they did not issue any direction to the Central Bank of India to freeze the account. However, RBI has taken a stand that the prayer for release of the amount does not arise out of or incidental to the main writ petition.
7.4. But we think that the lukewarm response of RBI in this regard is wholly unjustified. Admittedly, the activities carried on by the petitioner no. 6 were not declared as unlawful. It is the positive case of RBI that they did not in fact freeze the accounts of petitioner no. 6. Therefore, RBI is obliged to direct the Central Bank of India to defreeze the account and release the funds. Hence, RBI is directed to issue instructions forthwith to the Central Bank of India, Worli branch, to defreeze the current account no. 3677101984 of petitioner no. 6 in WP (C) No. 373 of 2018 and to release the funds lying in the account to the company together with interest at the rate applicable. There will be no order as to costs.
7.5. Before drawing the curtains down, we are bound to record, as in every artistic display, our appreciation for the skillful manner in which Shri Ashim Sood, learned Counsel, led the attack on the impugned Circular, but for which, the climax could not have had a nail biting finish.