‘Common man’s Diwali in govt’s hand’: SC pulls up Centre on loan relief

14 October, 2020 | Priyanka Sharma

Supreme Court of India National

The Supreme Court on Wednesday pulled up Centre for delay in implementation of interest waiver on loans of up to Rs 2 crore. During the hearing, SC said that it is not fair on Centre's part to take...

The Supreme Court on Wednesday denied the Central government’s request seeking one month’s time to implement the interest waiver on loans of up to Rs 2 crore and observed that it is not fair on the government’s part to delay the implementation of its decision.

A three-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan, asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta what the Centre has done for the implementation of its notification for giving relief to borrowers.

“Have you (Centre) done anything? Not fair on the Centre’s part to take a month to implement the decision,” the bench said, to which Mehta responded by saying that it will take some time to implement the decision and sought one month’s time for the same.

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“Please, see the plight of common people, when you have already decided to help. Diwali is now in your hands. Common man’s Diwali is in government’s hand,” the bench observed while denying the request and asked the Centre to bring something concrete. The matter was slated to come up for further hearing before the bench on November 2.

One of the petitioners in the case, lawyer Vishal Tiwari submitted before the apex court that the banks are acting on their own discretion and added that they do not care for any orders or instructions and that there should be some interim orders.

Tiwari said he has filed written submissions in the matter and said the court should consider that, along with the consolidated affidavit filed by the Reserve Bank of India on October 9. The RBI had submitted that extending the loan moratorium, which was announced to cope with the economic fallout of COVID-19, by another six months can impact the credit behaviour of borrowers and increase the risks of delinquencies post resumption of scheduled payments.

The top court was hearing two petitions — Gajender Sharma and Vishal Tiwari — seeking an extension of the moratorium period on repayment of loans and to waive off the interest on the repayment of the loan amount keeping in view the COVID-19 pandemic.

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