According to the latest report in The Huffington Post, the death toll due to demonetisation now stands at 47. When this article was first published, the death toll was 33.’It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.’
The above statement is a principle called Blackstone’s formulation in criminal law. It is based on the rationale that in a situation where you can either punish several people guilty of crimes but also punish the innocent or save the innocent but also risk the guilty escaping punishment, you should save the innocent.
With the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes, this principle has been annihilated. And it wouldn’t be entirely wrong to expect the government that introduced this move to shoulder some of the blame for the destruction of this principle.
Since the implementation of demonetisation at midnight on 8 November, 47 people have been reported dead in incidents directly or indirectly caused by the central government move. The Huffington Post and The Indian Express published detailed reports on each of the deaths, suicides and a murder that took place.