Apex Court Pulls up RBI, Seeks Disclosure of Loan Default Sum

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO, favoured disclosure of the outstanding loan amount.

Published: 13th April 2016 03:03 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th April 2016 03:03 AM   |  A+A-

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday expressed concern over the rising number of non-performing assets, also caused by bad loans, in the country, even as poor farmers were being penalised for availing of small loans.

The court asked the Reserve Bank of India what role it played as a watchdog and asked it to make public the total outstanding amount, touching lakhs of crores, without disclosing the defaulters’ names.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur said, “People are taking thousands of crores and running away by declaring the company insolvent, but poor farmers who take small amounts of Rs 20,000 or Rs 15,000 suffer. The total amount in default can be disclosed. Whoever is the defaulter, their names can be kept confidential but what is the total amount of default can be disclosed. Lakhs of crores of rupees are outstanding. Many of the defaulters have more than Rs 500 crore and above to pay.”

During the hearing, the RBI counsel cited provisions in the RBI Act and the Credit Information Companies (Regulation) Act, 2005, which mandate confidentiality of information and said that was why it can’t disclose the names of the defaulters.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation, favoured disclosure of the outstanding loan amount.

Chief Justice Thakur referred to documents supplied by the RBI in a sealed cover and said the figures have gone up since June 2014 and the figures were not confidential.

“The amount you have mentioned is outstanding. It is a large amount. If we go by your figure, the next question would be what are you doing for the recovery? What steps would be taken for recovery,” the court said.

‘MGNREGA wage delay unacceptable’

New Delhi: Expressing concern over the Centre’s approach towards releasing of funds for MGNREGA in drought-affected states, the Supreme Court on Tuesday termed states’ approach to the matter “totally unacceptable”.

A Bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur said, “By now, the money should have been released in so that the (MGNREGA) work does not get hampered. Nobody is here to criticise the government. The only point being made is delay in payments, which is undeniable and totally unacceptable.”

The court directed the Centre to submit a detailed chart of 10 drought-hit states and specify the number of people and districts including villages affected by it.

The Centre will also provide details with regard to notification on declaration of drought and sought budgetary allocations of NDRF and State Disaster Response Fund.

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