It doesn’t look like lawmakers in India are in any hurry to move forward with the draft bill to outlaw the use of cryptocurrencies in the nation. The government has issued a list of topics that it will table during its Winter parliamentary session and the controversial Bitcoin ban is absent from it.
The ominously titled “Banning of Cryptocurrency & Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2019” was introduced in July. It follows the research of a high-level Inter-Ministerial Committee. The group started looking at issues surrounding digital assets and reported its findings in February of this year.
Drafting the Ban
The committee introduced a draft bill that would see the use, mining, and trading of cryptocurrency criminalized. It also recommends harsh prison sentences for those violating the proposed legislation. If the government was to implement the bill in its current form, those holding digital currency would be given three months to dispose of it.
You would think anything so destructive to society as to warrant an outright ban and jail sentences to those violating it would be a most pressing concern for legislators in Indian. However, the bill does not appear in the government’s new “Tentative List of Government Legislative and Financial Business” produced recently by Snehlata Shrivastava, the Secretary-General of the Indian parliament, Lok Sabha.
Prominent Indian cryptocurrency proponents have greeted the bill’s omission with optimism. Founder and CEO of local cryptocurrency trading platform WazirX Nischal Shetty (@NischalShetty) called it “great news.” He tweeted Shrivastava’s list and the following:
As local digital currency news Twitter commentator Crypto Kanoon (@cryptokanoon) pointed out, the government in India was expected to introduce the bill in the Winter parliamentary session. However, it now appears as if lawmakers want more time to consider the potential implications of such a ban. As Shetty concludes, this does indeed seem like a glimmer of hope for the nation’s cryptocurrency industry.
Ongoing Dispute in India
Meanwhile, in India, there is an ongoing Supreme Court dispute over an April 2018 Reserve Bank of India (RBI) ban on financial institutions doing business with cryptocurrency companies. BeInCrypto has reported on the considerable opposition to the RBI circular. Not only have tens-of-thousands of cryptocurrency proponents petitioned against the policy, the High Court of Delhi called it an overstep of the institution’s power and unconstitutional. Additionally, the Indian Supreme Court criticized RBI this August for its handling of the matter.
Rather amusingly, the RBI circular actually hindered India’s authorities from dealing with 244 Bitcoin seized following the takedown of a cryptocurrency investment scam. According to Times of India, Pune police were forced to seek a court directive to unfreeze the bank account of Koinex, the exchange where the seized digital assets were being held at.
Images are courtesy of Twitter, Shutterstock.
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