Loan moratorium: SC asks Centre to come up with plan quickly

New Delhi, Sep 28 (UNI) The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre to draft a plan on loan moratorium quickly and fixed October 5 as the next date of hearing. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the three Judge bench, comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and MR Shah, that a high-level committee has been constituted by the Centre to examine the extension of loan moratorium, interest on moratorium and other issues and asked more time to file a reply.

In the previous hearing on September 10, the apex court had given two weeks time to the Centre, to come up with a plan on the moratorium issue.

As the country went into the lockdown mode to trim the spread of COVID-19, the Reserve Bank of India on March 27 allowed a moratorium for all banks for three months on payment of all installments due between March 1 and May 31.

The RBI further allowed the banks to extend the moratorium till August 31, but cautioned against the health of the bank sector.

Later, the Centre said the loan moratorium can be extended to two years, as the top court of the country asked it to clear its stand.

‘I did not know that Your Lordships are sitting today only for this matter, or a letter would be circulated…but this matter has received very serious consideration of the Central government. It is being considered at the highest level of decision-making and is at a very advanced stage,’ Mr Mehta told the court.

The bench was hearing a plea, filed by an Agra resident Gajendra Sharma, seeking a direction to the Centre not to charge interest during the moratorium period, as incomes and businesses have been affected by the COVID-19-induced economic crisis.

‘The issues are in the active consideration of the government and a decision is expected in two to three days,’ the bench observed.

It refused to issue an interim order as requested by the petitioner, but asked the Solicitor General to come out with a police by October 1, so that everyone can study and also made it clear that the apex court was not in favour of any further adjournments.


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