SC asks RBI to clarify if banks are bound to grant loan moratorium
SC asks RBI to clarify if banks are bound to grant loan moratorium

The Supreme Court on Monday expressed dissatisfaction over the response filed by central government and RBI on the loan moratorium issue as the recommendation by the Kamat Committee and action on it did not feature in the reply.

The top court has sought specific reply from the Centre on the recommendations by Kamat Committee, which have been accepted and also queried, as to "how many of them have been put in the public domain?"

A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan gave one week to the Centre to file an additional affidavit in the matter clarifying the implementation of the Kamat Committee recommendations.

The bench observed that the Kamat Committee recommendations and follow up action on individual sectors has also not been placed before it.

The bench said "Why was it not placed before us?"

Senior advocate V.V. Giri representing the RBI submitted before the bench that decisions have been taken at the highest level and the government has assured hand-holding of small borrowers.

Giri added this will also require statutory amendment, circulars and emphasized that the government proposal will take care of large chunk of small borrowers, who fear interest on interest during the moratorium.

The bench said no consequential orders, circulars have been issued by the Centre or Reserve Bank of India to enforce the decisions, and also Kamat Committee recommendations have not been placed before the court.

The top court emphasized that the RBI should should make public the recommendations that have been accepted. The bench allowed the Centre and RBI to file additional affidavit on policy decision and it's implementation, and scheduled the next hearing in the matter on October 13.

The Centre in an affidavit informed the Supreme Court that it has taken a decision to waive "interest on interest" on loans up to Rs 2 crore during the six-month moratorium period.

The affidavit said the only solution is that the government should bear the burden resulting from waiver of compound interest.

"After careful consideration and weighing all possible options, the respondent Union of India has decided to continue the tradition of hand-holding the small borrowers," said the Centre.

The categories of loans up to Rs 2 crore include: MSME loans, education loans, housing loans, consumer durable loans, credit card dues, auto loans, personal loans to professional and consumption loans.

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