Loan moratorium case: Petitioner seeks grace period before lifting stay on NPA classification

·3-min read
Supreme Court of India
Supreme Court of India

New Delhi [India], December 21 (ANI): Submitting that accounts of borrowers turning into non-performing assets due to non-repayment of loans will bring "disastrous effect", one of the petitioners seeking an extension of the loan moratorium has sought to grant a grace period of 90 days before lifting the stay on NPA classification.

The Supreme Court had in September directed that the bank accounts should not be declared as non-performing asset (NPA) due to non-repayment of loans until the disposal of the pleas seeking an extension of the moratorium period.

Advocate Vishal Tiwari, one of the petitioners seeking an extension of the loan moratorium in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, made the prayer in his written submission filed before the apex court on Sunday.

A three-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan and comprising Justices R Subhash Reddy and MR Shah had, on December 17, reserved the judgment on the batch of petitions seeking to waiver interest on interest during the six-month moratorium.

Tiwari, in his written submissions, said that the government has not made any assessment of individual persons who have lost their jobs and had no means to sustain their livelihood during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He submitted that around 12.2 crore people have lost their jobs during the lockdown period, and questioned how they will be able to repay their loans during these difficulties and prevailing situations owing to the virus.

"Only moratorium extension is the immediate relief which shall be given to them," Tiwari said.

He further submitted the Central government has simply counted their earlier circulars and claimed the restructuring plan is not going to help as it reduces the EMI only up to some extent. But the workless people have not a single penny to pay, for them, then an extension of moratorium should be given, he added.

Tiwari said that NPAs will bring a disastrous effect, upon the account, when the stay on the same is lifted and sought for a 90 day grace period. He alleged lending institutions, digital apps, etc use illegal and harassing methods for the recovery of money.

"Many banks hire goons as recovery agents. They use threats, violent methods against borrowers. Many people have committed suicide because of these elements," Tiwari said.

He requested the apex court to protect the people from such practices and direct the government to take strict action against such lending institutions.

Tiwari also cited the judgment of ICICI against Prakash Kaur and others, in which, the apex court had directed and made it clear that banks and other lending institutions and others, cannot use force or any other violent methods for recovery of their money.

The top court, while reserving its order on the pleas filed by various industry bodies, and individuals, including Gajender Sharma and Vishal Tiwari and others seeking directions for relaxation on loans due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation, had also asked all the respective parties to submit their written submissions in the matter. (ANI)