It was planned as a crackdown against black money and fake notes.
Different citizens' appeals were clubbed together by the Supreme Court - they included a woman who said she could not make it to a ban because she was delivering a baby and another who said her family was coping with a death in the family.
Rebuking the federal government for setting up a deadline for depositing demonetised currency, the top court observed, "One can not make people suffer if they have genuine reasons, should be allowed to deposit old notes".
A bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud asked Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, representing the Centre, to take instructions on the issue.
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"Any number of benami transactions and user proxies for the objective of producing and depositing SBNs would then arise... the departments would have great difficulty in deciding any genuine case from the numerous bogus ones", it said, including a detailed list of the various "malpractices" that came to light post-demonetisation. "Give us the reasons why despite having powers under the law, you did not create a category for those people who couldn't deposit the demonetised notes before December 30, 2016".
Earlier in June, the apex court observed that citizens with valid reasons - such as imprisonment - could not be deprived of an opportunity to exchange old notes, giving the Centre and Reserve Bank of India two weeks to come up with a solution.
Patel, at the meeting, is believed to have said that the RBI hadn't arrived at the final figure just because the counting was still in progress.
The parliamentary standing committee on finance is supposed to table the report on demonetisation in the monsoon session that started today.