New Delhi, August 22: A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking directions to all the banks to extend the moratorium period till December 31 to ensure helping the borrowers in deferring their EMI payment on term loans.

The petition, filed by lawyer Vishal Tiwari on Friday, sought directions, till the court reopens, to all the banks to adhere to extend the moratorium period for lawyers/ service sector, transport and tourist industry, including drivers and other covered under these sectors and defer their EMI payment on term loans.

The plea, which is likely to come up for hearing before the apex court within a week, sought directions that the respondents, Union of India and others, shall have to ensure that the lending institutions shall not use any kind of illegal, violent, threatening, and harassing methods against borrowers for the recovery loan installments, Business Standard reported. It also sought that in case, such acts are committed by the lending Institutions then, strict action shall be taken against them in accordance with the law.

“The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic in India has brought a drastic financial difficulty along with the health disaster that is going on in this country. Various people have lost jobs during this situation of biological emergency and various professionals and others have gone through real financial hardship,” the plea said.

“Due to the financial difficulties, it has become a struggling issue for many people to pay off monthly loan installments as there is lesser or nil income of the borrowers and legal professionals, due to the closure of the physical hearing in various Courts of the country including the Supreme Court,” it added.

It said that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had initially, in its notification had on March 27, granted some relief of suspension of monthly loan installment for a period of three months and on May 23, another extension of relief for three months till August 31, 2020, was brought.

However, the closure of the court as per the lockdown notification till August 31, 2020, without any physical hearing had brought a lot of difficulty for many, the plea said. Also, no relief or any financial aid in the shape of loan has been given by the government to the lawyers/service sector, so that they could recover from this financial crisis, Tiwari said in the 35-page petition.

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