The Supreme Court on Thursday gave the Centre two more weeks time to come up with a concrete plan for all sectors in the loan moratorium scheme, which was introduced during the coronavirus pandemic, Bar and Bench reported. The Centre told the court that an expert committee at the highest level has been constituted to take a decision on moratorium extension, interest during moratorium, and other related matters.
A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and MR Shah granted two weeks’ time and deferred the hearing till September 28. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre and the Reserve Bank of India, had sought the time to place a comprehensive affidavit before the court. “We will grant you time, file a reply with concrete position so that the matter is not adjourned again,” the court told Mehta. “You have to come up with a concrete plan for all sectors.”
The law officer said two to three rounds of meeting have taken place and concerns of all the sectors would be considered holistically.
During the last hearing, the Supreme Court had ordered that accounts that have not been declared non-performing assets as on August 31 should not be declared so until it finishes hearing the plea on waiving interest on installments during the period of the loan moratorium scheme. On Thursday, the court extended these interim orders.
Considering the economic impact of the lockdown imposed to fight the coronavirus crisis, the RBI had on March 27 said that banks would be allowed to grant a moratorium of three months on payment of all installments due between March 1 and May 31. On May 23, it said that banks can extend the moratorium until August 31. However, the RBI had said it would be imprudent to go for a forced waiver of interest, risking the financial viability of the banks it was mandated to regulate and putting the interests of the depositors in jeopardy.
Last month, the Centre said the loan moratorium scheme can be extended by a period of two years after the top court had criticised the Centre for “hiding behind the Reserve Bank of India” without making its stand clear on the loan moratorium.