A Visakhapatnam-based journalist has moved the Supreme Court, seeking orders to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Central government, for accepting demonetised notes offered to the Lord Venkateswara temple atop Tirumala.
Stating that more than Rs 8 crore worth demonetised notes were lying with the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD), the petition claimed that the move was not only discriminatory, but also meant that the "wishes" of the devotees would not be fulfilled.
According to reports, the petition also cites the Centre's decision to allow District Co-operative Banks and post offices to deposit demonetised notes, and contends that the devotees were not treated equally.
"Non-acceptance of pilgrims' money on a par with NRIs, district cooperative banks is discriminative. It also means pilgrims' wishes will not be fulfilled (and) such offerings will not be utilised for the services run by the board (TTD). On the other hand, keeping such a huge amount of money in demonetised currency by the board is also an illegal act and a punishable offence under the law," the petition reportedly says.
This comes after reports earlier this month, that demonetised notes worth over Rs 24 crore had been deposited by devotees at the holy temple, in the last six months.
â€œIn the wake of recent Supreme Court order we will be writing a letter to RBI and the Centre about the demonetised notes offered by devotees as fulfilment of their vows," TTD EO Anil Kumar Singhal told PTI.
In January this year, TTD officials said that though the RBI has stopped accepting old notes, they still received old notes from devotees in the â€˜Hundiâ€™.
After the demonetisation of old currency, hundi deposits, especially anonymous donations, saw a steep increase.
This was attributed to the Finance Ministryâ€™s announcement earlier that the cash deposited in temples would not come under the I-T scanner.
The TTD had stated that it witnessed nearly 1 lakh visitors daily, and a Hundi collection of nearly Rs 1.5 to Rs 2 crore every day before demonetisation.
Nearly 5.13 lakh devotees visited the temple in the eight days that followed demonetisation, with the hundi registering a whopping Rs 22.9 crore over the week.