- The Indian Supreme Court has dismissed a petition for clear guidelines in regulating crypto within the country.
- The petitioner, Manu Prashant Wig, is facing fraud charges for allegedly luring people into investing in his cryptocurrency exchange.
- The Supreme Court ruled that the petition was not a genuine public interest litigation but rather an attempt by Wig to seek bail in his ongoing criminal case.
- The Supreme Court also clarified that it does not have the authority to direct the legislature to create or strike out laws.
- The Indian government is still undecided on how to regulate crypto, and has indicated that it will follow global best practices.
According to recent reports, The Supreme Court of India has just made a serious decision that might affect how well crypto thrives within the country.
The Indian Supreme Court, which had previously helped crypto within the country by reversing a banking ban, has now made a U-turn and thrown an important petition out of the window.
The petition, filed by Manu Prashant Wig, sought to ask the Indian government for clear guidelines for regulating crypto within the country.
However, while the Indian Supreme Court has declined this plea, it may have some good reasons for doing so.
The Plea, Its Background, And Why It Was Rejected
According to sources, Manu Prashant Wig, the man who filed the petition, was the director of a crypto exchange that is facing fraud charges.
This alone, may have raised a few eyebrows in the courtroom.
Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud, who rejected the plea, said that the petition is not a genuine public interest litigation (PIL) as it appears to be. Instead, Justice Chandrachud says that the petition is a “disguised” attempt for Wig to seek bail in the ongoing criminal charges against him.
Wig’s Run-In With The Law
Wig was the CEO of Tokenz Limited, an Indian CEX (Centralized Crypto Exchange) before his arrest.
He was accused of luring people in for investments and eventually defrauding as many as 130 victims. Wig, according to reports, is currently in judicial custody, with his wife already granted anticipatory bail by a lower court.
This petition for crypto guidelines, filed under Article 32 of the Constitution, allows individuals to approach the Supreme Court for the protection of their fundamental rights.
Justice Chandrachud also said that even if the petition was granted, the court has no authority to direct the legislature to create or strike out laws. This means that Wig and his legal counsel would have to move the appropriate court for the grant of regular bail.
The Indian Government And Unclear Crypto Policies
The Supreme Court’s decision comes at a time when the crypto industry in India is facing unclear laws from the government.
According to Bloomberg, back in 2020, the court nullified a circular from 2018, issued by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
The contents of this circular made it illegal for domestic banks and other institutions to provide services to any individual, company or entity that was dealing with crypto.
However, at the end of the day, the Supreme Court stepped in and ruled that the circular violated the citizens’ right to trade and do business, and as such, had to be nullified.
In 2022 again, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government made a U-turn and introduced a 30% tax on all crypto profits in July.
This resulted in crypto traffic taking a nosedive and exchanges going into survival mode.
And on and on it goes.
The Way Forward
The Indian government, while being open to innovation has mentioned that it is concerned about the many risks associated with crypto such as rug pulls, scams, money laundering and even terrorism.
So far, it has also indicated that it will decide on what to do with regulating crypto in coming months, and will adhere to global best practices and standards.
This happened when during the G20 Summit in September 2023, India supported the adoption of global guidelines in crypto, despite having no crypto regulations of its own.
As a result, this rejection of Wig’s proposal (among other things) adds to the atmosphere of uncertainty in India’s crypto space.
The one thing that remains clear, however, is that crypto regulations are a necessity at this point. Especially after the spate of scams and frauds involving digital assets this year.
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