The Supreme Court on Tuesday deferred to November 5 the hearing on a string of petitions seeking an extension of the loan moratorium as well as waiver of interest on term loan EMIs during the six-month moratorium.
The pleas pertain to banks charging interest on interest on loan EMIs not paid by the borrowers who availed of the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) loan moratorium scheme of RBI from March 1 to August 31 in the wake of coronavirus pandemic.
A three-judge bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan postponed the matter after a request was put forward by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that the hearing in the case be deferred as he had to appear before another bench in other matter related to the Central Vista project.
"These moratorium matters were listed yesterday but they came up today. I am requesting for an adjournment considering I have a case (Central Vista) where I will be arguing," the law officer said.
The RBI and the Finance Ministry have already filed separate additional affidavits in the apex court saying that the banks, financial and non-banking financial institutions will credit into the accounts of eligible borrowers by November 5 the difference between compound and simple interest collected on loans of up to Rs 2 crore during the moratorium scheme period.
A letter seeking deferment of the hearing in the case was also circulated by advocate-on-record Anil Katiyar for the Centre to the parties and the bench.
The top court acceded to the request and adjourned the hearing on pleas, including the one filed by Gajendra Sharma, on November 5.
Earlier, the RBI had filed an affidavit saying that it had asked all banks, financial and non-banking financial institutions to take "necessary actions" to credit into the accounts of eligible borrowers the difference between compound and simple interest collected on loans of up to Rs 2 crore during the moratorium scheme.
Prior to this, the central government had told the apex court that lenders had been asked to credit into the accounts of eligible borrowers the difference between compound and simple interest collected on loans of up to Rs 2 crore during the RBI's loan moratorium scheme by November 5.
The government had said that the ministry has issued a scheme as per which the lending institutions would credit this amount into the accounts of borrowers for the 6-month loan moratorium period, which was announced following the COVID-19 pandemic situation.
On October 14, the apex court observed that the Centre should implement "as soon as possible" the interest waiver on loans of up to Rs 2 crore under the RBI's moratorium scheme and had said that the common man's Diwali is in the government's hands.
The RBI had, on March 27 issued the circular which allowed lending institutions to grant a moratorium on payment of installments of term loans falling due between March 1, 2020, and May 31, 2020, due to the pandemic. The moratorium was later extended until August 31 this year.
(With inputs from PTI.)