In a recent development, the Indian Supreme Court has dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) that sought to establish regulatory frameworks and guidelines for cryptocurrency trading in the country. The bench, led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Chandrachud, deemed the petitioner’s demands as more fitting for legislative consideration rather than a matter for the judiciary.
Legal Challenges Amidst Crypto Controversy
The petitioner, Manu Prashant Wig, is currently in custody under the Delhi Police in connection to a cryptocurrency-related case. The Economic Offence Wing (EOW) of the Delhi Police filed charges against Wig in 2020, accusing him of enticing individuals to invest in cryptocurrency with promises of lucrative returns.
Wig, who served as a director at Blue Fox Motion Picture Limited, allegedly deceived 133 investors who filed a case with the EOW, claiming they were misled. Seeking relief from judicial custody, Wig filed the PIL, ostensibly calling for regulations and guidelines for digital currency trading in India.
The Supreme Court, however, rejected the PIL, emphasizing that the underlying motive appeared to be securing bail rather than addressing the broader regulatory issues surrounding cryptocurrency. Despite this dismissal, the bench allowed Wig to pursue legal remedies and approach other relevant authorities while remaining in custody.
During the court proceedings, CJI Chandrachud advised Wig to seek bail from a different court. The court expressed reservations about entertaining requests for cryptocurrency trading regulations, emphasizing that such matters fell within the legislative domain.
It also pointed out its inability to issue directives under Article 32 of the Indian Constitution. The current status of cryptocurrency trading in India remains uncertain due to the absence of standardized rules, guidelines, or specific frameworks for handling digital assets.
However, reports suggest that India is working on developing a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies, drawing on joint recommendations from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Financial Stability Board (FSB). This regulatory framework could potentially materialize into legal legislation within the next five to six months.