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Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Interest waiver on loan moratorium: Diwali is in your hands, implement waiver, SC to govt

"Something concrete has to be done," a bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan said, adding, "benefits of waivers to borrowers up to Rs 2 crore must be implemented as soon as possible".

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: October 15, 2020 1:58:20 am
personal liberties, supreme court, habeas corpus, constitution, dissent, express opinion, indian expressAnti-terrorism laws have been tested against a stagnant standard of “right to life” before the Supreme Court came up with the “golden triangle” of fundamental rights in IR Coelho. (Bloomberg)

The Supreme Court on Wednesday prodded the government to implement the “welcome” decision taken to waive compound interest on MSME and personal loans up to Rs 2 crore during the moratorium period taking into account the plight of the common man.

“Their Diwali is in your hands,” remarked Justice M R Shah, sharing a bench with Justice Ashok Bhushan and R Subhash Reddy, while hearing a plea which raised the question of waiver of interest on interest for loans during the six-month moratorium period.

Adjourning the matter to November 2, the court said it expects that the decision will come into force by then.

“You have already taken a decision to give benefit to people who have taken loan up to Rs 2 crore. What about the implementation?” Justice Bhushan asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the Centre.

Senior Advocate Rajeev Dutta, appearing for the petitioner, pointed out that an affidavit filed by the government side had mentioned November 15 as the outer limit for allowing the relief.

Mehta said the government has given the assurance on affidavit and that only modalities have to be worked out, for which time till November 15 is sought.

“For these modalities you require one month time?” asked Justice Bhushan.

Senior Advocate Harish Salve, appearing for the Indian Banks Association, said the issue is complex and hence the time.

“People are worried in terms of their accounts and for interest on interest,” remarked Justice Shah and asked Salve what is happening as of now.

Salve said the implementation for benefit of borrowings of up to Rs 2 crore of loans is being done. He added that the numbers are large but it will be implemented.

Justice Bhushan said the court is only asking if the benefit extended to the people by the government has percolated. “Once the government has taken a decision, there is no need for delaying it further,” observed Justice Bhushan, adding “it is not in the interest of the common people to keep delaying once you have decided”.

“Please see the plight of a common man,” added Justice Shah.

Mehta sought to explain the need for time and said banks will waive the compound interest which will then be compensated by the government and the calculation will have different modalities.

“What we said is we welcome the decision of the government for the interests of the common people. Only thing it should have been implemented at the earliest!” added Justice Shah.

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