Refusing legal tender is illegal but nobody seems to care
No one has the right to refuse legal tender but they still do it…can you imagine making a fuss if a shop-keeper refuses to accept a 50 paise coin? No one does and the behavior continues. It doesn’t make sense, why shop-keepers (even government bus conductors) are doing it. I can understand the logic of not accepting torn notes, but not to accept coins in perfect condition is ludicrous and these things have the habit of spreading.
As a result of this behavior, the 50 p coin may soon be history. In Delhi shop-keepers are routinely refusing to take it. In Mumbai they take it reluctantly, as if doing you a favour. In fact it seems to be an all-India problem as there are similar reports from Hyderabad. I guess a lot of people are facing this problem. And if you are like me and have a stash of coins somewhere in the house, you are probably wondering how exactly to get rid of those 50 paise coins…
Why 50 paise, I have a small stash of 25 paise coins in my collection alongwith the 50 p’s…the other day I persuaded my regular shop-keeper to take a few and now I now wonder if he’ll welcome me back!
There is always the option of going to the bank but even banks make a fuss and at times outrightly refuse! Ofcourse one can complain to the bank ombudsman because according to RBI rules banks cannot refuse to take coins or notes of small denominations but then most people don’t complain do they. Not only is it time consuming, it can be embarrassing to argue with a bank teller who has refused to take your coins.
And to think that not so long ago there was an actual shortage of 50 paise coins! Shopkeepers would beg you to give them these coins! That shortage was apparently caused by the illegal melting of coins across the border in Bangladesh to make razor blades out of the stainless steel! This is because the metal was and still is more expensive than the value of the coin…
And it’s not just India, but also the United States and Britain which have this problem…they are warning people not to melt coins as they will get into serious trouble if they do. Unfortunately there are no choices for governments as making coins out of anything else but metal is not possible. Metal is best because it’s hardy, “easy to stamp and design,” and cheaper than materials like ceramic or silicone. But most important – metal coins are difficult to counterfeit.
But I have digressed. What to do with the 25 paise and 50 paise coins is the problem. Huge numbers of 25 paise and 50 paise coins are floating around in the country and no one wants them. I wonder how much money that amounts to actually…but I can’t imagine the government taking the trouble to sort out this issue. The only choice left to us citizens is to sell them to Bangladesh to make razors but if you don’t know any smugglers you have a serious problem. 🙂
If you have 25 paise coins I would advise you to make a will and leave them to your grandchildren! In the case of old 50p coins find some poor bakra and pass them on. The news that 50 paise coins are not being accepted has already leaked onto the net (links above) and now I am adding to this breach – the news will continue to spread and people will to rush to offload their 50 paise…and soon you won’t find a soul accepting them. Hopefully there will be a reverse run on banks…!
If you want to be good, give them to your bank.
If you want to be saintly, accept 50 paise coins and the 25 paise coins.
(Photos are all taken by me and copyrighted)
(A reader R. S. Jamwal from Delhi wrote to me about shopkeepers not accepting 50 paise coins. He wanted me to raise awareness about this issue in the hope that people who refuse 50 paise coins will realise that they are doing something illegal, but I think I just may have made the problem worse…)