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SC Declines Hearing A Plea Seeking Action Against RBI Governor, Senior Officials Of Other Banks

The SC said that contempt is between the court and the contemnor isn't there to start hatred activity against senior authorities or officials of banks.

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The Supreme Court (SC) of India, on Friday, declined to conduct a hearing of several petitions which were asking contempt action against the Governor of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and top officials of other banks for declaring the loan accounts as Non-Performing Assets (NPA). 

The SC said that contempt is between the court and the contemnor isn't there to start hatred activity against senior authorities or officials of banks.

A bench of Justices which includes DY Chandrachud, Vikram Nath, and Hima Kohli said that in our view, we are not going to exercise contempt jurisdiction as it will not serve the purpose of justice. 

Advocate Vishal Tiwari, appearing in a batch of petitions said that despite the top court's order of September 3, 2020, that the accounts which were not declared NPA till August 31, 2020, shall not be declared NPA till further orders, banks unilaterally declared the accounts as NPA under the SARFAESI Act.

At the outset, the bench said, "Economy is booming in the country after the second COVID wave. That's what we have read in newspapers. Since the second wave, when these orders were passed, a lot of development has taken place. We are not going to haul up the RBI for this. Contempt is between the court and the contemnor".

Tiwari said that RBI has itself issued a notice in March, last year after the nationwide lockdown granting moratorium from paying the instalment for a loan.

Several traders have moved the top court against the declaration of their account as NPA by the banks and seeking contempt action against the senior officials of the banks.

One of the pleas filed by Ajay Hotel and Restaurants through its proprietor has contended that it was availing various credit facilities by way of financial assistance against various assets creating a security interest in favour of the State Bank of India and timely payment of the instalments of the loan was made and its Account was not turned NPA till August 31, 2020.

"That on May 18, 2021, the State Bank of India (R-3) issued a demand notice under section 13 (2) of the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002 to the petitioner demanding the on May 18, 2021, inclusive of interest", the plea said.

It added that the bank had unilaterally classified the petitioner as NPA on November 30, 2020, under provisions of the SARFAESI Act and no show cause notice was given. The plea said that despite the express order of the top court on September 3, 2020, the banks continued to proceed under provisions of the SARFAESI Act.

"The respondents (bank) deliberately flouted the order dated September 3, 2020, which has caused big damage and loss to the petitioner. The stay order was passed in the pandemic COVID19 in the benefit of stressed borrowers so that they shall not suffer in present financial crises during the pandemic," the plea said.

The plea sought the issuance of contempt notice to the alleged contemnors for having willfully violated the order/directions dated September 3, 2020, and action against contemnors for having committed contempt of this Court.


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