Covid: PIL in SC seeks directions to Centre and RBI to provide loan moratorium


By LE Desk

New Delhi, May 11: A PIL in the Supreme Court has sought directions to the Centre and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to provide loan moratorium to individuals and stressed sectors on account of the second wave of the coronavirus that has caused a massive loss of jobs and livelihood.

The PIL said the moratorium was necessary to protect the fundamental right to dignity and livelihood guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.

The petition filed by advocate Vishal Tiwari urged the court to direct the government and the RBI to take “effective and remedial measures to redress and overcome the financial stress faced by the borrowers during the second wave of Covid-19 and lockdown in the form of fresh loan moratorium, extension of time period under the restructuring scheme”, The Telegraph reported.

Besides, the petition said banks should stop declaring non-performing assets till the situation returned to normal. The PIL said the second wave of the coronavirus has brought disaster to the economy, affecting the majority of the population such as daily wage earners, labourers, tea estate workers and even professionals.

A large number of people have also lost their jobs because of the pandemic and the accompanying lockdown. As a result, people are unable to repay their loans, EMI and other liabilities.

The PIL said the RBI on March 2020 had issued a circular offering a moratorium on loans for three months. Subsequently, the moratorium was extended till August.The petitioner said the second wave has seen the destruction not only of the economy but also of the healthcare sector. But neither the Centre nor the RBI has come forward to provide any succour to the people.

It urged the top court to give appropriate direction to extend loans to all aggrieved persons in the country.“Such non-action and reluctance on the part of the respondents have violated the fundamental rights of livelihood and dignity and therefore requires the immediate intervention of this court in the interest of public justice,” the PIL said.

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