The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Centre to provide it with a list of companies that are more than Rs 500 crore in debt. A bench of the court, led by former chief justice of India TS Thakur, also asked the government for “empirical data” on cases pending in debt recovery tribunals for the last decade, PTI reported.

There are more than 70,000 cases involving over Rs 5 lakh crore currently pending before debt recovery tribunals, with many of them pending for more than ten years, the Centre had informed the court. The bench has sought to know “whether the timelines set down” for the disposal of cases under the amended Enforcement of Security Interest and Recovery of Debts Laws and Miscellaneous Provisions (Amendments) Bill, 2016, were achievable.

The court also criticised the lack of infrastructure and staff shortages at both debt recovery and debt recovery appellate tribunals. “The mechanism for [debt] recovery is not up to the mark,” the bench said, according to dna. Legislative changes dealing with the quick disposal of recovery cases will not succeed unless there is an upgrade in infrastructure to deal with the amount of work, it added.

The court has asked the government to keep it informed about the steps it intended to take to upgrade the tribunal infrastructure, according to The Financial Express.

India has 34 debt recovery tribunals and five appellate tribunals functional at present. Around 16,000 applications involving more than Rs 34,000 crore were disposed of by these bodies in the 2015-2016 financial year.