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SC Extends Relief On NPAs, Govt Says Interest Issue Being Considered

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SC Extends Relief On NPAs, Govt Says Interest Issue Being Considered
PTI - 10 September 2020
New Delhi, Sep 10: The Supreme Court Thursday extended its interim order that no account is to be declared NPA till further orders after the Centre said an expert panel has been set up to look into the issue of interest being charged by banks on instalments deferred during the moratorium period due to COVID-19 pandemic.

The government at “highest level” is considering all the issues raised before the court in the petitions and a decision would be taken within two weeks, the Centre informed the apex court.

A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan, hearing a batch of pleas against interest on instalments which were deferred during the moratorium period due to the pandemic, directed that decisions taken by the Centre, the RBI and different banks be placed on record for consideration.

“As noted above, on the next date of hearing, the specific instructions with regard to charging of compound interest and credit rating/downgrading during moratorium period shall be obtained, so that appropriate order be issued on the next date of hearing,” said the bench, also comprising Justices R S Reddy and M R Shah.

“List on September 28, 2020. Earlier interim order(s) to continue,” the bench said while granting two weeks to file an affidavit on the issues raised in the court.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, said that within two weeks an appropriate affidavit will be filed, bringing on record the relevant decisions and directions of the government as well as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

Mehta said that the Centre “on the highest level is considering all issues which have been raised in this batch of cases” and the government is also considering these issues in consultation with the RBI and other banks.

He said the decision will be taken within two weeks on the manner and mechanism of extending benefit to different sectors which are facing problems during the pandemic.

Mehta said everything has to be considered holistically and the government is considering all the sectors, for which an expert panel has been constituted.

The bench told Mehta that concrete decisions should be taken with clarity so that the matter does not get adjourned again.

Mehta sought deferment of hearing by two weeks saying that considered decisions have to be taken in consultation with all the stakeholders including banks which play a vital role in the issues at hand.

The lawyers appearing for petitioners expressed their concern with regard to individual loans, apart from other sectors, and said that individuals are more adversely affected during the pandemic.

They argued that banks are debiting interest as well as interest on interest from accounts of creditors and credit rating is also being downgraded, which may have adverse effect with regard to various account holders.

Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for banks’ association, said that norms and guidelines have to be issued with regard to individual borrowers.
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