SC refuses to entertain plea seeking direction for banks to count 90 days for NPA declaration from March 23

The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain the petition filed by lawyer Vishal Tiwari, seeking direction to modify its March 23, 2021, judgment and issue orders that the period of declaring any account as non-performing assets (NPA) shall be reckoned from the date of the judgement pronounced.

A two-judge bench of the Apex Court, headed by Justice Dr Dhananjaya Y Chandrahud and also comprising Justice M R Shah, refused to entertain the petition filed by lawyer-cum-petitioner, Vishal Tiwari.

“These are all policy matters, we can not interfere in the petition, sorry,” Justice Dr Chandrachud, leading the bench of the Apex Court, said.

He added that the petition is not maintainable, and held that the top court cannot interfere in policy decisions of the federal government.

The judgment has already been provided in the loan moratorium case and the prayer sought by Tiwari is very different, the Supreme Court bench said.

The judges questioned Tiwari on the need to file a modification application, which is filed when there is a need for a correction of names or a certain type of correction required in the case.

Tiwari replied the reason to file a modification application is that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has issued a circular and there is a gap of 7 days from the date of the judgment to consider the account as a non-performing loan.

Tiwari, in his petition filed before the Apex Court, had said that the last para of the order reads that: “The accounts which have been considered as standards and were not declared NPA till August 31, 2020, should not be declared NPA, till further orders. It meant that the accounts were required to be considered as standard.”

Tiwari said that such an order of the court stood as a relief for the commercial borrowers, who were under serious financial hardship due to the sudden outbreak of COVID-19 and the subsequent imposition of complete lockdown by the Government of India to restrict the transmission of COVID-19.

Such Stay order of non-imposition of NPA by the banks against the borrowers has been vacated through the judgement of March 23, 2021, and therefore the banks in accordance to the law can impose NPA of a standard account if there arises default, Tiwari said.

Generally in legal parlance, the standard account of a borrower can be declared as NPA if there is repayment of 90 days or more, Tiwari, in his petition, said.

Therefore, it needs to be clarified and directed by the Apex Court that the period of 90 days for the computation of declaration of standard account as NPA should start from the day of the judgement in this batch of petitions, Tiwari in his petition said.

Tiwari prayed the court for clarification/ modification and direction of the judgment/ order of March 23, 2021, to avoid any practical or sensitive problems which may arise in future on the issue of classifications.

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