A whopping amount of Rs 85,000 crore of bank loan has been borrowed by only 57 borrowers and their.
The Supreme Court declared after thoroughly examining a report submitted by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) about persons who have taken loan worth over Rs 500 crore and defaulted and asked the central bank why their names should not be made public.
“Who are these people who have borrowed money and are not paying back? Why this fact that the person has borrowed money and not paying back be not known to the public,” asked a bench headed Chief Justice of India T S Thakur.
The bench that also comprised Justices DY Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao, said that if the bar was lowered below Rs 500 crore, then the default amount would have crossed Rs One lakh crore.
On Friday, the SC will hold a hearing on whether to disclose the names of individuals and companies with non-performing assets (NPAs) of Rs 500 crore or more in public.
Observing that if people file an RTI query, they must know who the defaulters are, it asked the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) why the information on defaulters should be withheld.
“People should know how much money a person has borrowed and how much money he needs to pay back. The amount payable should be known to the public. Why should you withhold the information,” the bench said.
The counsel appearing for RBI, however, opposed the suggestion and said that not all the defaulters were willful. He said the central bank is working in the interest of the banks and names of defaulters cannot be made public as per the statute.
It has cited the Section 45E of the Reserve Bank of India Act that prohibits disclosure of any information relating to the creditors.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), favoured disclosure of the outstanding loan amount and cited a top court verdict of December 2015 to claim that RBI has to provide all information.
The apex court had earlier expressed concern over the growing amount of loans not being returned and said: “people are taking thousands of crores and running away by declaring their companies insolvent, but poor farmers who take small amounts of Rs 20,000 or Rs 15,000 suffer.”
The 57 borrowers owing Rs. 85,000 crore amounts to Rs.1,500 crore per borrower. In the country, about 75 crore people are dependent on agriculture and other primary activities. They barely get any support. They commit suicide and their families undergo untold misery. This has been the trend all along and the poor are left to die. This is what is called as “crony capitalism”.