The Supreme Court Thursday sought finance ministry’s reply on waiver of interest on loans during the moratorium period after the RBI said it would not be prudent to go for a “forced waiver of interest” risking financial viability of the banks. The top court said there are two aspects under consideration in this matter – no interest payment on loans during the moratorium period and no interest to be charged on interest.
A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and M R Shah said that these are challenging times and it is a serious issue as on one hand moratorium is granted and on other hand interest is charged on loans.
The bench was hearing a plea, filed by Gajendra Sharma, in which he has sought a direction to declare the portion of RBI’s March 27 notification “as ultra vires to the extent it charges interest on the loan amount during the moratorium period, which create hardship to the petitioner being borrower and creates hindrance and obstruction in ‘right to life’ guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution of India”.
Sharma, a resident of Agra, has also sought a direction to the government and and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to provide relief in re-payment of loan by not charging interest during the moratorium period.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, said that he would like to file the reply of finance ministry on the issue and sought time. Senior advocate Rajeev Dutta, appearing for petitioner Gajendra Sharma, said that now the cat is out of the bag as RBI is saying profitability of the banks is primary.